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The Difference Between Cybersecurity and Network Security and Why it Matters to Your Business

Whats the difference between Cybersecurity and IT Security?

When determining the type of online security you need for your business, you might hear a slew of complicated acronyms and descriptions that make it difficult to understand precisely what you need. Protecting your data and private information is one of the most important things you can do to preserve the future success of your business, so kudos for taking the time to learn and gain a deeper knowledge of security practices.

Before you can start creating a plan to secure your network and connected devices, it’s important to know how these types of security work together to protect your business. Cybersecurity and network security are both essential to the protection of your private data, but each of them covers specific disciplines. Let’s take a closer look at each.


Cybersecurity is an overarching security practice that involves monitoring and protecting all business systems such as hardware, software, programs, applications, and data from cyberattacks. These attacks are designed to access, change, or destroy sensitive information, extort money, or interrupt business processes. It’s essential that you don’t let these cybercriminals undermine your business by taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity focuses on external threats to your business by keeping watch for potential hackers trying to infiltrate your network while staying up-to-date on intelligence that could signal future attacks. Security professionals who are implementing cybersecurity processes for your business are focused on monitoring incoming and outgoing traffic to reduce the risk of a possible attack.

Activities that relate to cybersecurity include setting up proper protocols and practices for network protection, ensuring up-to-date security software, and monitoring the IT infrastructure to detect any irregularities that might signal an intruder improperly accessed your data.

A big part of cybersecurity involves proper employee training and awareness. Because most cyber-attacks involve email phishing scams, ransomware attacks, and social engineering, internal employees need to be effectively trained and made aware to avoid being a victim to these scams.

Network Security

Network Security is a subset of cybersecurity and focuses more on your internal computer network, Internet and browser security, internal applications and employee network activity. This type of security is centered around internal threats, proactively protecting from improper access, misuse, malfunction, destruction, or modification unauthorized users or even internal employees.

Network security focuses on internal threats to your business by actively surveilling servers, workstations, routers, firewalls and other ‘networked’ equipment that might maintain access to the internet.

While Cybersecurity involves training and awareness for employees, network security involves effective controls and having a professional IT manager create a strong user and network policy as well as enforcing these policies. For example, a network / user policy will involve an automated password change every 90 days or blocking malicious websites.

Network security pinpoints issues not only in the network, but with employee conduct. Employees can often harm the security of your company either knowingly or unknowingly by visiting malicious websites or downloading harmful virus. Therefore, it is pertinent that the company monitors and maintains access to the public Internet, and block known, harmful websites.

Following these rules effectively helps to protect your employees while thwarting unauthorized access to your systems.

Why it Matters to your Business

Protecting your systems, networks, devices, and information against cybercriminals is imperative to the sustained operations of your business, and it’s critical that you see the whole picture. You cannot just protect your business from one threat while completely ignoring the other. Cybersecurity and Network security go hand in hand, working together to protect your entire business.

Think of the two in terms of defending a castle. Network security is designed to maintain peace and compliance within the walls of the castle. Cybersecurity protects the castle from threats coming from outside of the castle’s kingdom. Both are equally important in allowing the kingdom to thrive, each in their unique way.

The same is true for your business. Network security focuses on activities that relate to employee conduct, phishing attacks, and malware spread through unsecured Wi-Fi connections, suspicious websites, and more while cybersecurity deals with data storage and transit.

Network security focuses on maintaining a strong IT network by monitoring servers, workstations, firewalls, and having controls in place to ensure that internal employees have access to only what they need. While Cybersecurity focuses on external threats like email phishing, avoiding ransomware and overall safety on the Internet

Both terms are often used interchangeably, but cybersecurity covers a much broader practice while network security is a subset of cybersecurity.

If you need help implementing protocols for any of these practices or ensuring that your business is set up for complete protection, contact the security pros at Level 4 IT. We can implement, monitor, detect, and mitigate the potential for cyberattacks that can cripple your company, to keep your business functioning at a high level.