Do you hear the terms cyber and security used interchangeably, and have you always wondered what the real differences are for your business? While cyber is all about the digital sphere, security can be a lot broader than that, covering data, access, integrity, and availability more widely than just online.

This article looks at both terms, what they are used for, what the differences are, and how you can throw them into conversations like the pro that you are!

Cyber vs. security: What are we talking about?

The main point to remember is that when you’re using the term cyber, for example, cybersecurity, cyber-awareness, or cyber-protection, you’re talking about the digital sphere. It means you’re focused on computers, computer networks, virtual spaces, and online environments.

In contrast, security can be a lot broader than just the digital world. If you’re tasked with looking after the security of an organization, the digital aspects are a subsection of wider security. Think about tasks such as ensuring the physical protection of servers and buildings, ensuring that flash drives and other storage can’t be stolen or have their data accessed, and offline war rooms, incident response and upgrading of security plans after a security breach or event.

Is there an overlap between cyber and security?

The short answer is absolutely. Many tasks might cover both digital cybersecurity and broader information security. One example is setting policies for credential management, including rotation of passwords, enforcing strong credentials and access management, segmentation of users, data and traffic across the network, and more. While these might not only be for online systems (it could even be access codes for getting into the office for example), there will certainly be a strong digital component to the role.

Generally speaking, all businesses will need both security tasks and cybersecurity tasks managed. Even a heavily non-virtual environment like a school or a hospital still has computer systems to keep up to date, and rely on connected networks to function. Small businesses might think they only need to consider physical or information security offline, but bricks and mortar storefronts will usually still have a point-of-sale system, an online inventory, or collect data from their customers, vendors, and partners.

Simply put, so much of business is now connected, and so much of the data and systems that we want to protect is now housed digitally, it’s tough to imagine security without cyber.

Can you have cybersecurity without physical security?

A more relevant question for today’s heavily connected world is whether you always need physical or information security expertise, or if cybersecurity controls are enough.

In some cases, especially with the rise of public cloud providers, a business can function almost totally virtually, with servers hosted by a third party, all payments and relationships made online, and all employees virtually working without a physical office space.

However, many people will consider certain tasks to be information security and fall out of the realm of cybersecurity. These include elements of security such as compliance, creating policies for data management, and security awareness training to prevent employees from falling for phishing scams. These are not specifically related to computers and online systems, and yet they dictate what happens online and employee behaviors when interacting with digital systems.

It can be helpful to think about IT security, or information security as an overarching umbrella, and then cybersecurity, mobile security, data security, incident response, and compliance (as well as others!) as subsections underneath that umbrella.

Using the CIA triad to ensure full security and control

So, with so much to protect, how can you know how to keep an organization secure, both in terms of cybersecurity and other information security essentials? One option is to use the CIA triad, a well-known model that helps to define and strengthen security controls. Here are some subsections of security that fit into each section, alongside Atera tools that support each group.


The C in CIA stands for confidentiality, and it is about keeping data secure, ensuring only authorized users have access to the information, both for compliance, and best practices.

Many of your security tools will come under this category, such as antivirus and antimalware, and anti-ransomware, too. At Atera we have a wide range of partners to integrate with, including Webroot for endpoint security, Malwarebytes for protection against sophisticated online threats, and Emsisoft which offers dual-engine security.


The I stands for integrity, and tools in this category will ensure information is accurate and whole, without any errors.

Ironscales is a good example of a security tool that functions under this category, protecting emails from phishing scams and business email compromises. While emails might seem accurate and well-intentioned, they could actually be malicious attempts to break into your environment. Another tool that helps with integrity is Ninite Pro for patch management, working seamlessly with Atera to ensure that patches are automatically installed and you don’t have any gaps.


Finally, A is for availability. This section of the model will help businesses create policies and technology solutions that make sure information is available to the right users when they need it.

There are a few different ways to think about the availability of information to those who need it. Consider tools like Bitdefender, which uses behavioral analysis to spot suspicious actions even by trusted users, or Axcient and Acronis, powerful backups that provide availability of information to your organization quickly after an attack.

Security is one of the most critical elements of running an IT environment, so whether you’re calling it IT security, cyber security, information security, or any other term, don’t forget to make sure you’re covered with the best tools and tech on the market!

Why not watch our latest partner webinar with Domotz, Veeam, and Threatlocker for an introduction to three of the latest and greatest?!

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