Information security, sometimes shortened to InfoSec, is the practice of defending information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, perusal, inspection, recording or destruction. It is a general term that can be used regardless of the form the data may take (electronic, physical, etc...)
Two major aspects of information security are:
- IT security: Sometimes referred to as computer security, Information Technology Security is information security applied to technology (most often some form of computer system). It is worthwhile to note that a computer does not necessarily mean a home desktop. A computer is any device with a processor and some memory (even a calculator). IT security specialists are almost always found in any major enterprise/establishment due to the nature and value of the data within larger businesses. They are responsible for keeping all of the technology within the company secure from malicious cyber attacks that often attempt to breach into critical private information or gain control of the internal systems.
- Information assurance: The act of ensuring that data is not lost when critical issues arise. These issues include but are not limited to: natural disasters, computer/server malfunction, physical theft, or any other instance where datahas the potential of being lost. Since most information is stored on computers in our modern era, information assurance is typically dealt with by IT security specialists. One of the most common methods of providing information assurance is to have an off-site backup of the data in case one of the mentioned issues arise.
Governments, military, corporations, financial institutions, hospitals, and private businesses amass a great deal of confidential information about their employees, customers, products, research and financial status. Most of this information is now collected, processed and stored on electronic computers and transmitted across networks to other computers.
Should confidential information about a business' customers or finances or new product line fall into the hands of a competitor or a black hat hacker, a business and its customers could suffer widespread, irreparable financial loss, not to mention damage to the company's reputation. Protecting confidential information is a business requirement and in many cases also an ethical and legal requirement.
For the individual, information security has a significant effect on privacy, which is viewed very differently in different cultures.
The field of information security has grown and evolved significantly in recent years. There are many ways of gaining entry into the field as a career. It offers many areas for specialization including securing network(s) and allied infrastructure, securing applications and databases, security testing, information systems auditing, business continuity planning and digital forensics, etc.
This article presents a general overview of information security and its core concepts.