How Does Cybersecurity Protect You?

what is cybersecurity

When you think about how you’ll keep your home or business safe, chances are your mind goes to physical protection. You may start thinking about locks and alarms, motion sensors and cameras, and all of those can be important in protecting your physical assets. But what will you do if your business becomes the victim of a cyberattack? Cybersecurity is a critical way to protect your digital assets, which can be at least as valuable as your physical assets. But what is cybersecurity?

Read on to learn more about this line of defense and the threats it can protect you from.

What Are Cyberattacks?

Before we dive into the world of cybersecurity and why it’s important, let’s talk some about cyberattacks. Cyberattacks are malicious attempts to steal or manage information stored in digital systems. This can take a variety of different forms, which we’ll discuss more in-depth in a moment.

Cyberattacks may try to steal and sell your private information for profit or to harm you. They may lock down data you need or crash your system entirely. Sometimes these viruses are aiming to make a profit, and sometimes hackers create them just to hurt you, either for revenge or for the sake of chaos.

Cost of Cyberattacks

Some people may argue that cyberattacks are no big deal; after all, they aren’t attacking any “real” physical assets. But you may be surprised to learn that these attacks cost people around the world more than $6 trillion every year. For context, if those costs went unpaid, they would outstrip the U.S. national debt in just five years.

Aside from the monetary costs, cyberattacks cause real harm to people and businesses every day. People may be put in danger or have their lives upended if their private information gets leaked. Others may lose valuable files or have their information corrupted by cyberattacks.


One of the most common types of cyberattacks is malware, a portmanteau of the words “malicious software.” These attacks are what we more commonly refer to as viruses, and they can take a variety of different forms. In fact, some of the attacks we’ll discuss in a moment are different forms of malware.

Malware encompasses any computer program that’s written with the goal of causing harm to a computer, network, or server. Malware may hide in the background and record every keystroke you make on your computer, allowing hackers to steal the information – such as passwords – that you’re typing. Or it may be more overt, locking down certain files on your computer or even launching disruptive popups.


Ransomware is one of the more insidious forms of malware in use today. As the name suggests, these programs take sections of your computer hostage and refuse to unlock them until you pay the ransom they demand. In some cases, they can lock you out of your entire system, making it impossible for you to access any of your files or data.

The trouble with ransomware is that it takes advantage of the latest and greatest in encryption technology. These programs put a security lock on your files and encrypt them with security measures that are all but impossible to break through. On average, victims of ransomware attacks pay more than $300,000 before they get their files and systems back.

DoS Attacks

Another common form of cyberattack is something known as a denial of service attack, or DoS. These attacks aim to overwhelm a system, whether that be a website, chat system, or online order system. They flood the system with too many requests, which causes it to get jammed up so legitimate users are unable to access it.

There’s also a subclass of DoS attacks known as a distributed denial of service attack, or DDoS attack. Rather than coming from one single machine, these attacks use dozens or even hundreds of compromised computers. This can greatly increase the load on the target system, as well as making it somewhat harder to counteract.


Phishing is a form of cyberattack that has a more personal touch. Rather than exploiting technology to access data, these scams exploit people’s trust in digital relationships. In essence, a phishing scam pretends to be someone a user trusts, in order to convince the user to hand over personal information, including credit card data and passwords.

A phishing scheme may contact a victim and tell them that their computer is full of viruses and, if they’ll pay the scammer, they can clean their computer off. They may also pretend to be a financial institution, the IRS, or even the police, threatening dire consequences if the person doesn’t pay some invented charge. These scams have become very sophisticated and can be difficult for even the most tech-savvy person to spot.

What Is Cybersecurity? 

So now that we know more about some of the threats lurking in the digital world, let’s talk some about cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is an umbrella term that encompasses all efforts to keep these different cyberattacks from happening. There are a few different types of cybersecurity, which we’ll delve into more next.

Cybersecurity is incredibly important for any person or business who wants to make sure their data stays safe. While some cybersecurity measures cost money, they can also save you a lot in cyberattack recovery costs. They can also help make sure that your business can keep running smoothly with no interruption in customer service.

Endpoint Security 

One of the major types of cybersecurity is called endpoint security or endpoint protection. This sector of cybersecurity focuses on individual machines, such as laptops, desktops, phones, and tablets. These are the endpoints of any cyberattack scheme and so are the last line of defense against these attacks.

You may already be familiar with endpoint security, whether you realize it or not. Programs like Norton and McAfee are popular endpoint security systems designed to stop malware in its tracks. But endpoint security can also include things like passwords, biometric IDs, and more.

Cloud Security

As cloud computing has become more popular, it’s ushered in a new sector of cybersecurity: cloud security. Cloud computing moves past the traditional boundaries of what files are located on a certain machine. Instead, you can access files from any machine, as long as you have the appropriate credentials.

Unfortunately, this convenience can leave files more vulnerable to hackers. Cloud security works to protect files and systems that operate in the cloud, often involving setting up secure servers and networks. Some systems may also require a two-step verification process to prevent hackers from accessing files stored in the cloud.

Application Security

Application security is the level of cybersecurity between endpoint and cloud security. This sector focuses on removing security threats within applications and programs located on a machine or in the cloud. Without application security, hackers could make their way into your system through a weak point in an application and gain access to the rest of your files from there.

Application security, like many of the other types we’ve discussed here, may begin with password protection on sensitive areas of the program. Developers are also constantly on the lookout for holes in their coding that could allow security breaches. This is part of the reason it’s so important to update your programs when they request it.

Network Security

One of the first lines of defense you have against cyberattacks is your network security system. This sector of cybersecurity focuses on making sure your network itself is secure, whether that be your wifi network or another computer network. Network security is also an important component of cloud security.

Without network security, a hacker could gain access to the wifi network all your information is being sent through. From there, all they would need to do is download files and messages as they went by. This can also give them access to some of the computers on your network, providing even more opportunities for mayhem.

Identifying Risks

There are four primary stages in the cybersecurity process, the first of which is identifying risks. In order to protect yourself against various cyberattacks, you need to know what sort of attacks you’ll be facing. From there, you can make a strategy to protect yourself against these threats.

Identifying cyber threats is a long and ongoing process that requires staying up-to-date on the latest in the cybersecurity world. As fast as cybersecurity is adapting, hackers are making new and worse viruses. Your cybersecurity strategy needs to continuously adapt to address new emerging risks.

Reducing Risks

Once you know what sort of risks you’re facing, your team can make a plan to reduce those risks. There may be some basic steps you can take to reduce your risk of a cyberattack, no matter what specialized risks you face. Requiring stronger passwords, installing malware protection, and training your team on how to spot phishing schemes can improve your cybersecurity.

However, you may also need to take additional steps to keep your team protected from cyberattacks. If you have a development team, they may need to be on the lookout for security holes in their coding. You may also want to consider working with a network security specialist to ensure your network is as safe as possible.

Detecting Attacks 

No matter how secure your system is, there’s still a chance that you’ll fall victim to a cyberattack at some point. If and when this happens, you need to have systems in place that can detect the breach. The sooner you find out you’re under attack, the sooner you can start taking steps to counter it and protect your data. 

You need to have alert systems in place that will let you know if someone accesses your data from an unauthorized location. You may also want to set up protocols with your team that will help you avoid phishing schemes. And having your team perform security checks on a regular basis can help you discover cyberattacks as soon as possible.

Recovering from Attacks

The last step in the cybersecurity process is one you hope you never have to take: recovering from an attack. After a cyberattack is over, you may be left with corrupted or deleted files, monetary losses, customer complaints, and more. You need to have a game plan in place for how you’ll recover from these attacks. 

One important step in the recovery plan is to make sure all your systems and files are backed up on separate systems to reduce your risk of losing files. You may also want to talk about how you’ll communicate with your customers in the event of a cyberattack. And briefing your team on their roles during a cyberattack can help keep things running smoothly, even during a crisis.

Learn More About Cybersecurity

These days, cybersecurity is as important as physical security, if not more so. Your team needs to know what threats are out there so you can prepare to meet them. Be sure you have a plan for how you’ll identify and reduce risks, detect attacks, and recover after the crisis is over.

If you’d like to discover more answers to the question, “What is cybersecurity?” check out the rest of our site at Be Structured Technology Group. We can help you support, protect, and secure your business, as well as strategizing about ways to better manage your technological assets. Schedule a free IT support consultation today and discover why we’re an award-winning Los Angeles IT support firm.

About Chad Lauterbach

CEO at Be Structured Technology Group, Inc. a Los Angeles based provider of Managed IT Services for small business. I desire to help small businesses better utilize technology by assisting in high level planning to make sure that new systems will benefit them both operationally and financially. I am careful to implement and support systems using industry best practices.