Information security vs Cyber Security: Recognising the difference


The difference between information security and cyber security might be small, but understanding the differences is a top priority if you want to take information risk management to the next level.

Although there are some similarities between the two, it benefits you and your organisation to be able to distinguish between them. Why’s that? That’s what our experts are here to tell you about.


What is information security?

Information security is all about the protection of the availability, integrity and confidentiality of information. This can cover a whole range of areas, which we’ll cover more in a minute. In its most basic form, information security aims to only allow authorised people to view the information, where the information needs to be accurate and up to date, how information is shared and managed, and accessible whenever it’s needed.

This also refers to business data, which most of the time is stored electronically, at least nowadays. But some data is still kept in physical places. So what does that mean for information security? Well, it needs to be protected just as electronic data is. If you have information stored this way then it’s still the role of your information security officer to make sure it’s fully locked away and protected.

What are some information security examples?

  • Locks for storage of information
  • Keys and access keys for entering buildings/offices
  • Intrusion detection systems
  • Firewalls


What is cyber security?

Think of cyber security as a subcategory of information security. It focuses on the protection of electronic data on mobiles and other devices, usually from cyber attacks. Effective cyber security controls should give your organisation the power to recognise significant data, know where it’s located, the risks of breaches, and what you need to do to protect it.

Cyber security involves having processes and procedures in place to stop unauthorised access to networks and systems, otherwise, it leaves it open to hackers so they can steal information much easier. They tend to do this through malicious malware, phishing scams and more. Check out our tips on how to improve cyber security across your business.

What are some cyber security examples?

  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
  • Network Access Control (NAC)
  • Cloud security
  • Endpoint security
  • Passwords
  • Data encryption


Information security vs cyber security — the similarities and differences

Let’s get to the bottom of this then. How exactly do they differ and where do they overlap?


First off, they both involve physical components. Whether you’re storing physical documents that hold sensitive information in a cabinet in your office, or electronic data on a laptop/computer, both can be protected by having a lock on the door to access the office.

Another similarity between the two is how their measures both consider the value of the data/information. For example, with data of the highest importance, there’ll be many different levels of protection, both physically and electronically.

With physical data, you might have a first wall of defence with a lock on the office door. If someone could gain access to the office then they might be able to find some kind of company data, but the most sensitive data will more than likely be locked away with multiple layers of security.

The same goes for electronic data. Most computers will have a password as the first defensive measure, where certain files could be accessible if this first wall is breached. But data that’s considered to be the most sensitive will be behind a range of other security measures.


The main difference between information security and cyber security is that cyber security only covers digital systems, while information security encompasses non-digital data storage too.


ISO 27001 for information security

Ready to elevate your organisation’s information security? Do it with ISO 27001. Why? Because it’s the international standard for information security and gaining certification helps you lay the foundation for an effective Information Security Management System (ISMS). Take a look at the ISO 27001 controls to see how the framework is set out to support your organisation.

What are the benefits?

Just look at some of the ISO 27001 benefits and what they can do for your organisation’s information security.

Reduces risks

Once you’ve completed the ISO 27001 journey, you’ll be able to tighten up your business’ information security and reduce the number of breaches. How so? The road to certification supports you and your business to update policies and procedures so that there are better measures in place.

Keeps you up to date with legislation

You’ll be able to make sure your business is following the latest data laws, protecting you from the wrath of any penalties that could come your way if you’re not managing data correctly.

Gives you the competitive edge

You can be proud to have achieved ISO 27001 certification. Show it off. Why not? It shows that you’re a trusted business to work with and that you’re committed to protecting your customer’s data. It could be why a customer chooses you instead of the next business.


Become data secure with support from Citation ISO Certification

So, we hope this clears up the difference between information security and cyber security. If you’re ready to become a data-secure business, then take a look at the support we offer at Citation ISO Certification. Gain ISO 27001 certification through our quick and easy three-step certification process!

Discover more about our ISO 27001 costs and start strengthening information security for your business right away. We’ve helped countless businesses over the years and we’re here to do the same for you. Get in touch at 0333 344 3646 or email us at [email protected]. For more information, why not check our ISO 27001 guide?

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About the author

  • Name:

    Serena Cooper

  • Company:

    Citation ISO Certification

  • Bio:

    Serena has worked for Citation ISO Certification since 2022, writing creative and informative content on ISO certification and consultation to help businesses reach their potential.


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