An Introduction to Cyber Security

Cyber security. A term that excites and terrifies in equal measure. Here we take a look at what is meant by cybersecurity and how it affects us all.

When we talk about cyber security, the image that often springs to mind is that of a hooded youth sitting in darkness, lit only partially by the light from their computer screen. In reality, though, cyber criminals and hackers come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life.

Reports of new cyber attacks are in the headlines every day, while more powerful technologies make it easier for hackers to gain access to your valuable information.

hacker at a computer screen

What is cyber security?

The definition of cyber security is that an entity is being protected against their data being accessed and used without consent. The way in which data is secured is through the use of technology, processes and practices that prevent a cyber attack.

These online security processes can be used to protect systems that we often take for granted. These can include anything from traffic signals to in-car technology, banks accounts to life support machines.


Cyber crime can disrupt systems that can lead to loss of life, as well as loss of money.

What can we do to improve our cyber and computer security?

Installing firewalls and anti-virus software might seem obvious, but a report from tech giant Microsoft found 24% of the world’s PCs in were not protected. It’s also a good idea to ensure that your operating system is updating itself with the latest patches automatically.

At work, staff should only have access to the systems that they need to do the job. For example, not all staff will need to have administrative access to a website.

Encrypting any personally identifiable information is something that has come up in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If the information is stolen that can be used to identify an individual, you would be liable for that breach.

map of unprotected computers

The importance of training staff in cyber security

Staff can be your biggest asset in the fight against cyber crime, but they can also be the cause of cyber insecurities. They need to understand what is expected of them when it comes to security. Should they lock their computer screen when leaving heir desk? Is there a shredder available if you print sensitive documents? Do you have a password policy? All of this should be considered when you train our staff.

The Information Commissioner‘s Office (ICO) has put together a set of cyber security training materials that include toolkits and videos to help organisations train their staff.