Understanding the Major Types of Cybersecurity

Understanding the Major Types of Cybersecurity


4 min read

When most people think of cybersecurity, concepts like antivirus software or firewalls likely come to mind. However, cybersecurity encompasses much more in order to fully protect individuals and organizations in the digital age.

By learning about the major types of cybersecurity, you can gain a better grasp of all that goes into safeguarding against ever-evolving online threats.

Network Security

One of the most fundamental categories of cybersecurity is network security. As the name suggests, network security involves protecting the integrity of the connections between computers, servers, devices, and more. Some elements of network security include:

  • Firewalls - Hardware or software that monitors network traffic based on a defined set of security rules. Firewalls help prevent unauthorized access.

  • VPN - Virtual Private Networks encrypt connections to keep communication and data transfer secure, especially important when using public networks.

  • Access Controls - Managing which users or systems can access various parts of a network aids segmentation. Multi-factor authentication also falls under access controls.

With much of cybercrime involving breaching networks in some form or another, having robust network security measures provides an important foundation.

Information Security

While network security focuses on intrusion prevention, information security revolves around safeguarding data itself. Some examples are:

  • Encryption - Encoding data so only authorized parties can read it. This is critical for storing sensitive information.

  • Backup/Recovery - Backing up data regularly enables restoring stable versions after an attack, helping overcome ransomware or corruption.

  • Access Management - Controlling and monitoring who accesses what information is central for data security, including identity management.

Locking down how information is stored, processed, and accessed can greatly limit impacts from data breaches or leaks.

Application Security

In recent years, cyber threats have increasingly targeted application vulnerabilities as a path to data or network access. Application security aims to close those loopholes.

  • Secure coding - Following best practices for writing secure code creates resilient software and web apps from the start.

  • Testing - Extensive testing helps reveal flaws and weaknesses in apps that hackers could exploit.

  • Monitoring - Ongoing monitoring of applications detects issues needing remediation before criminals can find them.

Applying application security reduces weak links that allow cyberattacks to penetrate otherwise protected assets.

Operational Security

While technical solutions comprise much cyber defense, operational security represents necessary human-oriented protections. It comes down to personnel and process measures like:

  • Training - Providing regular cybersecurity and privacy training makes employees savvier and less vulnerable to phishing attempts.

  • Incident Response Planning - Documented plans for responding to and recovering from cyber events to improve resilience.

  • Data Loss Prevention - Creating protocols around sensitive data handling reduces mistakes that expose information.

Regardless of how robust technical defenses seem, neglecting operational protections leaves organizations extremely susceptible to typical human errors.

Cloud & Mobile Security

With technology use increasingly shifting to the cloud and mobile devices, cybersecurity must follow suit. Key aspects consist of:

  • Cloud Access and Data Security - Verifying cloud provider security provisions, properly configuring deployments, enabling multifactor authentication, and more.

  • Mobile Device Management - Centrally managing mobile devices, including onboarding/offboarding, installing trusted apps, enforcing PINs, locating/wiping lost devices and similar.

  • Secure Mobile App Development - Building mobile apps with security front of mind around storing credentials, connecting to clouds/networks, handling payments and other such data.

Advances in cloud and mobility provide new opportunities but also new potential cyber risks if not properly secured.

Looking Ahead With Cybersecurity

Between escalating cybercrime and ever-expanding digital integration, cybersecurity will only keep increasing in importance for our online-connected world. The various categories of protections work together to harden environments against threats arising from networks, applications, human error, newer technologies and more.

As individuals, we must exercise greater vigilance to avoid falling victim to common methods of social engineering. Businesses and government organizations have an urgent responsibility to commit resources toward comprehensive cybersecurity strategies incorporating layered technical and operational safeguards.


While cybersecurity presents very real challenges in the digital age, through sufficient strategic investments and collective caution by all technology users, a safer online landscape can emerge.

By understanding the complementary protections the major cybersecurity types offer, you now have a better grasp of all that goes into securing our computers, mobile devices, networks, clouds and growing virtual spaces.