Cybersecurity has become a crucial concern for companies in all sectors, given the rise of cybercrime. Discover everything important to know about cybersecurity.
What is cybersecurity?
The term cybersecurity refers to the set of technologies, processes, and practices aimed at protecting networks, devices, computer programs, or data against cyberattacks. It is also sometimes referred to as computer security.
The goal is to preserve the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of computer systems and networks and the data they contain. For a company, the primary objective is to protect its intellectual property from internal and external threats.
Why has cybersecurity become essential?
This concept has become extremely important because information technology now plays a major role in our societies. Private companies, institutions, governments, and armies around the world collect and store vast amounts of data.
The adoption of computer software continues to increase in various sectors such as finance, the military, government, commerce, healthcare, and education. Information is digitized and is now accessible through the internet.
However, a significant portion of this information is sensitive. It may include intellectual property, financial data, personal or medical information, for example. Unauthorized access or exposure of such data can have serious consequences. The goal of cybersecurity is to protect this information and the systems used to store or process it.
Over the years, the volume of cyberattacks has been increasing at a rapid pace. And their level of sophistication continues to grow. Since 2013, the United States has considered cyber espionage and hacking as the greatest threat to national security, surpassing terrorism.
In recent years, major organizations have experienced leaks of highly confidential data: Equifax, Yahoo, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are just a few examples.
To cope with the evolution of cybercrime, security technologies must also strengthen themselves. Constant software updates introduce new risks and vulnerabilities, just as many companies migrate to the Cloud. This is why the cybersecurity industry is booming.
The different aspects of cybersecurity
To be effective, cybersecurity must protect all the different elements of an information system. Therefore, this discipline can be broken down into several points.
It is necessary to protect computer networks against intrusions and attacks, and this includes securing the endpoints that allow remote access to a company’s network.
Databases and physical infrastructures must also be defended. Networks are protected through physical and software mechanisms that prevent unauthorized access or misuse.
The same goes for applications, which require constant updates and testing to be safe from potential attacks. Various protections must be implemented in the software and services used by a company.
This involves designing secure architectures, writing reliable code, and implementing data validation measures.
The goal is to minimize the probability of unauthorized access or modification of application resources.
Within networks and applications, data must also be secured through enhanced storage systems. Access to various elements of the information architecture must also be secured through identity management procedures.
The emergence of new technologies also brings new cybersecurity requirements. The Cloud is increasingly used, and files transferred in these environments must be protected.
The same applies to mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets, which are becoming more prevalent in both business and personal use. The information they contain must be protected against unauthorized access, malware, or even loss.
Finally, cybersecurity also encompasses disaster recovery. Whether it’s a data breach, a natural disaster, or any other event, data must be protected and recoverable in the event of an accident.
Cyberattack, data leakage... the various cybersecurity threats
There are different types of threats to cybersecurity. First and foremost, a cyberattack is an internal or external threat aimed at exploiting or compromising the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of an individual’s or a company’s computer systems.
These attacks rely on various illegal tools and methods to damage or gain access to a computer, device, network, application, or database.
There is a wide variety of cyberattacks. Among the most well-known are malware, ransomware, injection attacks, phishing, DDoS attacks, remote code execution, brute-force attacks, and exploitation of vulnerabilities.
In addition to cyberattacks, cybersecurity also protects against data breaches. These can be incidents or attacks resulting in the exposure of confidential information, making it accessible to anyone.
What are the challenges and difficulties of cybersecurity?
Cyberattacks and malware are constantly evolving. Cybercriminals are becoming more inventive and continuously create new forms of malicious software. Cybersecurity must, therefore, adapt continually to this ever-changing threat, and this is one of the main challenges.
It is no longer sufficient to only protect the most critical components of a system and defend against the most well-known threats. A more proactive and adaptable approach is essential.
Security levels must be continuously monitored and in real-time, as recommended by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This institute also advises focusing the security strategy on data rather than a “perimeter,” as was the case in the past.
How can I learn about cybersecurity?
The term cybersecurity refers to the set of technologies, processes, and practices aimed at protecting networks, devices, computer programs, or data against cyberattacks. It is also sometimes referred to as information security.
The goal is to preserve the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of computer systems and networks, as well as the data they contain. For businesses, the main objective is to protect their intellectual property from both internal and external threats.
This concept has become extremely important because information technology now plays a major role in our societies.
Private companies, institutions, governments, and armies worldwide collect and store vast amounts of data.
The adoption of computer software continues to increase in various sectors such as finance, the military, government, commerce, health, or education. Information is digitized and is now accessible through the internet.
However, a large part of this information is sensitive. It may include intellectual property, financial data, personal or medical information.
Unauthorized access or exposure of such data can have serious consequences. Therefore, the purpose of cybersecurity is to protect this information and the systems used to store or process it.
Over the years, the volume of cyberattacks has been increasing rapidly, and their level of sophistication continues to grow. Since 2013, the United States has considered cyber espionage and hacking as the biggest threat to national security, surpassing terrorism.
In recent years, major organizations have experienced leaks of highly confidential data, such as Equifax, Yahoo, or the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to name just a few examples.
To cope with the evolving landscape of cybercrime, security technologies also need to become more robust.
Constant software updates introduce new risks and vulnerabilities, just as the migration of many companies to the cloud does. This is why the cybersecurity industry is booming.
Cyberattacks are becoming more numerous and virulent. It is more important than ever to ensure the security of data, software, and hardware.
Currently, there is a shortage of experts in this field. According to the ISC Cybersecurity Workforce Study, the number of cybersecurity professionals needs to increase by 62% to meet the current needs of businesses.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings in cybersecurity is expected to increase much faster than the average between 2019 and 2029. The number of positions for computer security analysts is expected to increase by 31%, compared to the average 4% growth for all jobs. According to the 2020 Cybersecurity Workforce Study published by ISC, there are already 3.1 million cybersecurity positions.
Given the high demand, the salaries offered by companies are generally high. On average, a cybersecurity professional earns $115,000 per year.
Therefore, starting a career in cybersecurity is highly relevant. If you enjoy problem-solving and anticipating events, this vocation may be suitable for you.
Cybersecurity undeniably requires strong technical skills. Mastery of at least one cybersecurity language is a good foundation, and it is also preferable to understand the functioning of computer networks, authentication and monitoring techniques, access management, data encryption, and web application security.
A thirst for learning is essential because cybersecurity is constantly evolving and requires continuous learning throughout one’s career.
However, contrary to popular belief, a university degree is not necessarily required. After all, the pioneers of cybersecurity did not have one.
The most important thing is to work hard and contribute to open-source projects. Many professionals in this field are self-taught.
Of course, formal training in cybersecurity or related disciplines offers many opportunities. Many large companies consider a university degree as a crucial recruitment criterion.
There are various paths to start a career in cybersecurity. Initially, you can list your skills, personal qualities, and interests. This will help you choose the role that suits you best in the vast ecosystem of computer security.
There are already many jobs in cybersecurity, and other roles will emerge in the coming years. These include network security engineer, cloud security engineer, security architect, penetration tester, malware analyst, or cryptographer.
After choosing the position you want to occupy, you can start reading books on the subject to increase your knowledge. You can find many books on No Starch Press.
Similarly, the GitHub page “Awesome Infosec” is a collection of “crowd-sourced” educational resources. You can also start building a network by contacting industry professionals via Twitter or other social networks. The cybersecurity community is generally open, and you can receive valuable advice on the best methods for finding a job or learning resources.
There are also groups that organize in-person gatherings. These include the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), or ISACA.
ou can start as a volunteer in these groups and work on open-source projects online. By building your network within these groups, you may find opportunities to launch your career.
There is room for everyone in cybersecurity, not just for technical profiles. Knowledge of the business world, law, psychology, and sociology is just as important as technology to ensure the security of computer systems.
Software developers, $, and system analysts are also in high demand. However, security companies also need product managers, marketing professionals, press officers, and communicators.
Cybersecurity is not necessarily a full-time job and can complement other roles. Companies are turning to “crowdsourced” security programs, such as bug hunting or public penetration tests
You can help companies without necessarily working for them as an employee. If you discover a bug or vulnerability, reporting it to the relevant company before a hacker takes advantage of it can offer a substantial reward. Many bug hunters work full-time, but many also do it alongside their regular job or as part of their training.
Even if you do not plan to become a cybersecurity professional, it is very useful to receive training to acquire a solid foundation. This will not only better protect your company’s data but also your own personal information in your daily life.
Several options are available for cybersecurity training. In addition to university degrees, there are many online courses. You can turn to MOOC platforms and BootCamps. Faced with a shortage of experts, companies mainly seek skills and give less importance to the type of training chosen…
As a business owner, it is also very interesting to train your teams and employees in cybersecurity. It was already important for all employees to be educated about the risks of computer security, and the widespread adoption of remote work due to COVID-19 has made this awareness essential.
To ensure the protection of your data and systems, employees must be aware of best practices such as using strong passwords. They must also be able to recognize phishing attempts and other social engineering methods. Training them in cybersecurity can prevent data breaches that could cause irreparable damage to your reputation and colossal financial losses…