Defining Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “measures taken to protect a computer or computer system (as on the Internet) against unauthorized access or attack.”

The true importance of cybersecurity can only be understood if our dependence on “computer systems” is understood. It is difficult to imagine a day using nothing that is actively dependent on technology. We depend on connected systems to purchase groceries, perform medical procedures, manage the delivery of utilities and facilitate communications. These systems facilitate safe travel and alert us of impending dangers. It is conceivable that a cyberattack could take the power grid offline making it difficult or impossible to fill a car with fuel, purchase groceries, receive healthcare and even gain access to the typical procedures to restore the grid itself.

In our world today, unless we are primitive camping, we are using products of computer systems continually. To state it differently, our lives would change drastically if these systems became under widespread compromise. Considering Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, most individuals in a civilized society depend on computer systems for most of the elements defined in the critical first two layers. Since we have built this dependence, we must also protect these systems that we depend on.

Those who still think cybersecurity isn’t important should take a close look at the caption below this image. Think about how ransomware has denied access to data and consider different types of medical devices that are externally attachable in some way.


At a very basic level, these are reasons that cybersecurity are critically important. Businesses also understand that there is also the monetary impact of having systems unavailable or information improperly disclosed.

Circling back to the definition, cybersecurity is measures taken to protect a computer or computer system. What those measures are and whether they are adequate requires a lot more understanding and discussion around the systems at hand and the potential impact of the possible failure scenarios.

Feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below. 

Disclaimer: This article includes the independent thoughts, opinions, commentary or technical detail of Paul Stewart. This may or may does not reflect the position of past, present or future employers.

About Paul Stewart, CCIE 26009 (Security)

Paul is a Network and Security Engineer, Trainer and Blogger who enjoys understanding how things really work. With over 15 years of experience in the technology industry, Paul has helped many organizations build, maintain and secure their networks and systems.
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