Blog , 23 Jul 2021

Is Network Security the Same as Cyber Security?

Larry Ellis,

Content Creator

The Internet has transformed how we interact with information, manage our lives, and relate. Social media, online shopping, and entertainment have brought information, music, and entertainment to our fingertips and made purchasing online a breeze.

As network and data technology becomes more advanced for legitimate organizations, it also unintentionally creates openings for cybercriminals, their tools, and their attacks. Therefore, business security infrastructure must constantly improve. As technology evolves, so do the scams, botnets, and hacks of vulnerabilities (just look at events like SolarWinds and Exchange in 2020). Thus, we are in a time when organizational security postures must improve; failure to do so could lead to a costly data breach, as we’ve seen with many organizations. The cyber-crime landscape has strengthened, have you?

Pause before you develop a security program for your organization, step back and understand the different security disciplines and how they all work together. The terms Cyber Security and Network Security are nothing new, and while you might have an idea of what they mean, you may not fully grasp the differences between them. 

Information security provides the governance framework for all data security of an organization’s physical and digital data security. While physical data security is still essential, digital data security dwarfs physical data, and it has become a more critical concern in organizations today. Therefore, understanding how to protect your data and the functions and differences between Cyber Security and Network Security is essential to safeguard your business, customers, and the internet.

Cyber Security

Cyber Security is a subset of Information Security through proactive active monitoring and protection of internet-connected network devices from ongoing or potential cyberattacks and protecting the integrity of networks and data from unauthorized digital access, attack, or damage. 

With the countless sophisticated threat actors targeting many organizations, your IT infrastructure must be both secured and monitored at all times to prevent a full-scale attack on your network and risk exposing your company’s data and reputation.

Active defense against attacks and social engineering

When cyber-threat actors target your organization, they research your business and your employees and customers. Cybercriminals know that employees and your customers outside your security organization are not as familiar or aware of cyber threats, so they execute cyberattacks that exploit human vulnerabilities. Through social engineering, they manipulate people and their systems to give them access to sensitive information. 

The most common DOS attacks are:

  • Port probes searching for IP addresses with vulnerabilities.
  • SSH attacks attempting to break administrator or user passwords.
  • DDoS attacks are where the attacker attempts to bring down your system by sending a vast amount of requests to it.

The most common social engineering attacks include: 

  • Phishing, where threat actors pose as real organizations to get personal information from your employees or customers.
  • Pretexting, where threat actors impersonate an authority figure or someone that the employee or customer would easily trust.
  • Baiting, where threat actors place malware at the end of a URL so that it can be easily be installed.
  • Quid pro quo, where threat actors request personal information for a reward, i.e., money, a gift, or a free service.

As a security professional, it is your responsibility to help build a culture of security awareness and fill in the gaps in your organization’s Cyber Security knowledge and understanding. Your organization and your customers (if you are a network operator) must be informed of Cyber Security risks, so it will be less likely for individuals employed by you or served by you to fall victim to an attack. Provide both technology and training to strengthen your human firewall, mitigating the possibility of data breaches.

Why it’s essential to your organization

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, a new ransomware attack occurs every 14 seconds. A single cyberattack can cost an organization $1.6 million. 97% of cyberattacks could have been prevented, making Cyber Security solutions a must-have investment. 

Ponemon Institute’s 2020 Cost of Data Breach study points out that, excluding massive catastrophic data security breaches, the average cost of a data breach to an organization in the U.S. is more than $3.86 million in 2020. To reduce the cost of a breach, you need to get attackers out of your network as quickly as possible.

Network Security

Network Security is a subset of Cyber Security. Network Security is focused on making an organization’s network more secure by providing the technical expertise for implementing and keeping current network devices and security systems

Defensive fortification

Network Security aims to protect internal networks and data sent through devices at the edge with intrusion prevention systems and through a network to ensure that information is not intercepted or changed and ensures there are no data breaches.

Network Security handles the configuration of everything within the TCP/IP model. 

  • the physical connection
  • the data link
  • the network
  • transport methods
  • the applications

In addition, they will look at the gaps filled in that include industry standards and protocols.

To ensure the organization, its users, and employees are well protected; Network Security needs to deploy systems that address and provide IT resilience and protection against many cyber threats, including:

  • Denial of service attacks (DDoS) and hacker attacks on IP addresses
  • Id and password thefts
  • Spyware and Adware
  • Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses 
  • Zero-day attacks


The typical hardware and software the Network Security team will implement to guard and detect emerging threats will include things like:

  • Intrusion prevention systems, as well as intrusion detection systems (IPS/IDS).
  • Secure wi-fi IP address and internet access
  • Firewalls
  • Encryption and Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
  • Multi-Factor authentication
  • Endpoint protection, including antivirus and backup software.

Why it’s essential to your organization

Your network is the lifeline of your company. Protecting your network includes safeguarding your devices, passwords, employees, and customers. Network Security takes proactive and preventative steps to ensure your network is always protected. 

So then, what is the difference between Cyber Security and Network Security?

Cyber Security vs Network Security, it’s not a case of vs, you need both!

Cyber Security refers explicitly to the techniques and methodologies used to monitor and protect the integrity of networks, devices, programs, and data from attack, unauthorized access, and damage. Cyber Security is the practice of monitoring, protecting systems connected to the internet, networks, and users from cyberattacks.

Network Security installs the hardware and software and ensures compliance with standards and protocols designed to protect the network of computers, directories, files, and users against misuse, hacking, and unauthorized access to the related systems. 

Well then, is Network Security the same as Cyber Security?

No, cyber security is a subset of information security that actively monitors a network against misuse, hacking, and unauthorized access to protect the network, systems, applications, data, and users safe from cyber attacks. At the same time, Network Security is the subset of cyber security that installs, configures, and maintains the network, systems, applications, and data within the TCP/IP stack to secure against misuse, hacking, and unauthorized access, thereby keeping the business and users safe. 
Information security, cyber security, and network security work together to provide a business with complete protection.

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