Data Security Vs. Cyber Security – What’s the Difference?

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Any data and device within your business must be protected against cyber attacks, but do you know the difference between data security and cyber security? In this blog 777 Networks determines the different aspects of data security and cyber security, and how to ensure you have the correct measures in place.

So, what is the difference between data security and cyber security? Data security is measures that are put in place to protect private data, whereas cyber security is the protection of devices and digital services from cyber attacks.

Read on for an in depth analysis of the differences between data security and cyber security and an answer to which is better.

What’s the Difference Between Data Security and Cyber Security?

The major difference between data security and cyber security is what each is designed to protect. Data security ensures that private data is sheltered from possible attacks. Cyber security is also designed to protect against attacks, but on the devices and services themselves. By combining the two, both businesses and their employees can protect themselves against breaches, loss and damage.

What is Data Security?

Data security is the process of protecting private data against unauthorised access and breaches. With the introduction of the GDPR law in 2018, data security has become essential across all industries handling data. This includes ensuring that the data is only used for the original purpose agreed between the involved parties, and that unauthorised persons cannot access sensitive information.

What are the Types of Data Security?

There are different options available to protect data in your possession. Some of these methods can be combined to ensure maximum security.

Encryption – The transformation of information into code or symbols to make it indecipherable to individuals without authorisation or a key.

Hashing – Similar to encryption, hashing changes characters into a different value so they cannot be interpreted by a cyber attacker.

Cloud data protection – Backing up data onto a cloud server to protect against loss or attack. The files stored on cloud servers are encrypted and usually located in an area where a high level of authorisation is required for access. As cloud servers contain such large quantities of data, there are many security measures in place to protect it such as firewalls, back-ups and constant updates.

Password protection – Passwords must contain varied characters such as symbols, capitals and digits to ensure obscurity. Passwords should not be stored in unprotected files or where they can be easily accessed.

What are the Key Risks in Data Security?

Risks in data security can come from both internal and external parties. One of the most common risks comes from human error which is often unavoidable.


Accidental exposure – This is often related to members of the team being unaware of data security policies and procedures. Simple passwords, insecure files and basic human error are all potential causes of data loss, damage or breaches.

Insider threats – Insiders with malicious intent could attempt to steal data for their own personal gain or to sell to another business. To help prevent this, all employees should be required to sign a non disclosure agreement form as soon as sensitive data handling becomes an aspect of their role.


Phishing – An attacker tricks the recipient of a message such as an email to click on a malicious link, potentially leading to malware installation on the device. Similar to insider threats, this could be a way for attackers to steal sensitive information for their own benefit. Read our blog on email security for more information.

Ransomware – If attackers gain access to your device, malware can encrypt files and disable access to the user until a ransom is paid.

How Can We Improve Data Security?

Data security can be improved first and foremost by keeping up to date with current rules and regulations. Informing your team on rules and regulations is a must in order to ensure consistency across the business and to protect data. Any updates to policies should be relayed to all members of the team.

In the workplace your staff are likely to have passwords and other important data stored on online accounts. Activating 2 step authentication adds another layer of protection against hackers as the 2nd step is commonly on a personal device that only the user has access to.

Passwords should be as obscure as possible, containing no personal information such as a name or location relating to the individual. Perform an audit on all your passwords to ensure that they are not repeated across accounts and are not weak. It is recommended to change all passwords every few months.

The purpose of any data stored by a business should be disclosed to the owner upon retrieval and agreed by all parties. It is the responsibility of the business to ensure that data is kept secure and accurate.

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security is the protection of devices and services against cyber attacks. There are 4 different types of cyber security that should be implemented into the workplace. What are the 4 Types of Cyber Security?

Application security – Application security is protecting data against threats at app-level, including requiring strong passwords from users and ensuring apps are updated and tested regularly across all available devices.

Network security – The protection of your computer network against malicious attacks while still allowing authorised user access. Firewalls are one important example of network security.

Cloud security – Cloud storage systems have massive amounts of personal data saved onto them, so it is essential that they stay safe from threats. Information should remain accessible to all authorised users at all times and data backups should be available in the event of human error.

Internet of Things (IoT) security – The Internet of Things refers to devices that can be connected to any network and exchange data. As there are so many varied types of device, this poses many potential security risks.

Why is Cyber Security Important?

Cyber Security is vitally important for any individual who accesses devices and the internet as it protects all users and their data against harm. The more technology advances, the more attackers adapt their approach to stealing and damaging data, meaning individual users and organisations have a duty to keep on top of their cyber security.

How Can We Improve Cyber Security?

All employees should be aware of the potential threats to cyber security, and the policies and procedures in place to prevent them. Any potential threats to security should be reported to a manager immediately and, where possible, passwords should be changed on any accounts where malicious activity has occurred.

Update devices and connections regularly to access the latest patches and protect against the vulnerabilities of internet connections. Using a VPN creates an encrypted secure connection between a device and an internet connection, removing traceability.

Which is Better – Data Security or Cyber Security?

Combining both data security and cyber security is essential in the workplace to ensure the protection of data and devices against threats. Neither should be neglected and all members who will be accessing any kind of device or data should be aware of potential threats and solutions.

Managed IT Services at 777 Networks

Need support with your IT security? At 777 Networks, as part of our managed IT Security Services, we’ll deploy technologies tailored to the requirements of your business, to ensure that your information is protected end to end.

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