Cybersecurity engineer analyzes information on his laptop.

Cybersecurity vs. Information Security: Exploring the Differences


Cybercrime is expensive, relentless, and on the rise. In 2014, a McAfee report estimated that global cybercrime resulted in nearly $500 billion in corporate losses. In just two years, that estimate rose to $600 billion. Recent reports suggest that even the most technologically-advanced companies are at risk.

In 2017, the Dun and Bradstreet data breach exposed the names, addresses, email addresses, and other data of its clients. That same year, the cybercriminals who hacked Equifax gained access to the social security numbers, driver’s license information, and birthdates of 145.5 million people.

According to a 2019 report by Cybersecurity Ventures, “cybercriminal activity is one of the biggest challenges that humanity will face in the next two decades.”  The report’s publisher further predicts that “cybercrime will cost the world in excess of $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015.” The need for educated, experienced cybersecurity and security experts continues to grow to address these rising threats.   

What Are the Differences Between Cybersecurity and Information Security?

Professionals seeking to learn more about the differences between cybersecurity vs. information security should know that many elements of the job roles are similar, but not identical.

Information security experts design processes that protect sensitive information from unauthorized access, while cybersecurity experts prevent those processes from being compromised. This analogy can illustrate the difference between these professions: if an information security professional is hired to design and build a fence, a cybersecurity professional is responsible for protecting the fence against breaches after installation. The goals in each profession are the same, yet the differences lie in the approach to achieve them.

Skills Cyber and Information Security Experts for Success

Information security experts need several skills and competencies for success in this role. In addition to possessing technological acumen, cyber and/or information security professionals must know how to work alone or as part of a team, and possess advanced communication skills to explain ideas and strategies with different levels of personnel.

  • Technological Skills: Cyber and information security professionals must know how to detect and prevent possible intrusions. As tracking current and emergent technologies are part of the job, they must understand the types of vulnerabilities each one poses to network security. To do so, individuals must remain current on malware protection, firewall protection, cloud computing, and other technologies.
  • Ability to Work Independently or as Part of a Team: Many professionals in cyber and information security will work in an organization’s IT department.  Sometimes, they work independently to achieve specific tasks and other times alongside other team members and departments to brainstorm and work on achieving shared goals. Managers must possess leadership skills to communicate and implement strategic visions effectively.
  • Communication Skills: As not everyone in an organization possesses technological expertise, cyber and information security experts must have the communication skills to effectively and simplistically exchange information to non-technical managers and personnel.

Potential Careers in Cyber and Information Security    

Professionals interested in pursuing a career in cyber or information security will discover that the job opportunities are vast, including the following roles:

IT Security Manager

IT security managers detect network vulnerabilities and establish security measures to prevent intrusions. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that employment of professionals working in computer and information systems managerial roles will grow by 12% between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than projections for the average occupation. May 2019 data indicates that the average U.S. salary for IT security managers was recorded at $104,384, with the top 10% reporting an annual salary over $145,000.

Director of Information Systems

A director of information systems is charged with managing an organization’s IT department. They coordinate with technical teams to establish and implement network security goals, manage budgets, and in some cases, communicate with C-level executives regarding the state of the company’s IT security efforts. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that much like IT security managers, job opportunities in this field are expected to grow by 12% between 2016 and 2026. May 2019 data indicates that the average U.S. salary for people working in this capacity was $103,645, with the top 10% reporting an annual salary above $156,000.     

Cybersecurity Engineer

Professionals considering interested in designing, planning, and upgrading a company’s systems and networks may be drawn to a cybersecurity engineering career. According to PayScale, job opportunities in this field are projected to grow by 12% between 2016 and 2026. As of May 2019, the average U.S. salary for cybersecurity engineers was $94,915, with the top 10% reporting annual earnings of more than $135,000.   

Chief Information Security Officer

A CISO is a C-level executive with responsibilities for protecting the data of an organization and its customers.  They typically work with the executive team and IT managers to meet corporate cybersecurity goals. The BLS classifies CISOs within the category of computer and information systems managers.  Current data suggests that the employment of those working in this field is expected to grow by 12% between 2016 and 2026. May 2019 data from PayScale suggests that the average salary for a CISO working in the U.S. was $158,006, with the top 10% taking home annual earnings above $219,000.   

Benefits of Pursuing an Advanced Degree

Today more than ever, companies must hire experienced, educated technology experts to protect their sensitive data. Professionals interested in advancing their IT career will find that completing an advanced degree, such as the online Master of Science in Cybersecurity at Norwich University (MSCY), can help them reach their goals.

For over two centuries, Norwich University has provided academic excellence through innovative curriculum such as its online computer science programs that deliver relevant, specialized coursework to help students take the next step in their careers.

The 36-credit online MSCY program includes coursework in information assurance technology, information assurance management and analytics, cybercrime, and others. Upon completion, graduates will attain the skills and technical acumen needed to pursue careers in this field. Discover how the MSCY program at Norwich University can give you the right background for your next job.


Economic Impact of Cybercrime, No Slowing Down, McAfee
2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report, Cybersecurity Ventures
The Largest Cybersecurity breaches of the Past Three Years, and Their Effects on Companies, Tech Republic
Cybersecurity, Information Security, Network Security, Information Assurance: What’s the Difference? Security Magazine
The Growing Importance of Cybersecurity Skills, Forbes
The 8 Most In-Demand Cybersecurity Skills for 2019, TechGenix
Computer and Information Systems Managers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Average Security Manager, IT Salary, PayScale
Average Director of Information Systems Salary, PayScale
Information Security Analysts, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Average Cyber Security Engineer Salary, PayScale
Average Chief Information Security Officer Salary, PayScale
Master of Science in Cybersecurity, Norwich University


Recommended Reading:
6 Time Management Tips for Earning An Online Degree
Opening Doors with a Cyber Security Degree
Tips for Financing Your Online Degree

Learn More Today

Complete the form on the next page to request more information about our online programs.

Request Info