Introduction to Cybersecurity: Key Concepts, Principles, & Frameworks

Introduction to Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity remains the most important defense against the theft or damage to an organization’s data and information network. This includes sensitive personal identity records, protected health information, bank accounts, and valuable intellectual property, among others. Without a cybersecurity program, your operation would be unable to prevent hackers from taking anything they want.

Although cyber threats are well-known, hackers are still expected to shake down enterprises for a stunning $8 trillion globally by the end of 2023. That’s why proactive business leaders invest 12 percent or more of their IT budget into cybersecurity. But for those who work outside the managed IT and cybersecurity fields, it’s sometimes difficult to know where that revenue is being allocated. We hope this introduction to cybersecurity helps clarify key concepts, principles, and frameworks.

What are the Key Concepts of Cybersecurity?

Understanding cybersecurity concepts does not have to be overly complicated. Many of the basic cybersecurity concepts have become common household terms. But sometimes, the way mainstream and social media outlets explain them results in a knowledge gap. These are examples of core cybersecurity concepts that may prove helpful to business professionals.


A cyberattack is any attempt to breach a system. Hackers typically try to pilfer off digital assets and sell them on the dark web. Other cybercriminals may deploy ransomware to hold an organization hostage, or simply spy on the entity.

The CIA Triad

Confidentiality, integrity, and availability are core tenets of cybersecurity. This three-pronged concept involves protecting sensitive information, maintaining systems, and keeping information available to legitimate users.

Incident Response

When a network intrusion is identified, cybersecurity professionals follow established protocols to expel the threat actor and mitigate risk. Organizations benefit from developing an incident response plan that also onboards department heads and key stakeholders.

What are the Core Principles of Cybersecurity?

It’s not necessary to speak to the first principles of cybersecurity in industry jargon. Business owners and leadership teams are usually immersed in their own sector’s insider language, which differs from managed IT and cybersecurity. So, let’s define the basic principles of cybersecurity using the following familiar terms.

  • Identify: An enterprise must understand the external and internal risks of a breach. To accomplish this, a risk assessment can be performed to identify security gaps and close them.
  • Protect: The idea of protection translates to the tools used to deter hackers. Commercial-grade firewalls, electronic message encryption tools, 24-7 monitoring, multi-factor authentication, password managers, and others are ways a cybersecurity firm protects your core assets.
  • Detect: The break-and-fix approach to cybersecurity has gone the way of the dinosaur. In today’s cybersecurity landscape, expert firms deploy early detection technologies to ferret out hackers before they put their greedy digital hands on your data.
  • Respond: Sophisticated hackers often have the skills and scamming chops to prompt an otherwise good employee to click on a malicious link or download a tainted file. Human error accounts for the vast majority of data breaches. Given that fact, cybersecurity firms are prepared to respond to emerging threats in real-time and minimize the damage.
  • Recover: A restoration and recovery plan is part of a forward-thinking cybersecurity program. We hope for the best, work diligently to prevent calamity, and constantly prepare for a worst-case scenario.

These straightforward cybersecurity principles are the bedrock of a digital security philosophy that pits ethical people against criminals.

Cybersecurity Frameworks Explained

A cybersecurity risk management framework is an essential collection of best practices an operation follows to minimize an incursion. Cybersecurity frameworks are designed to deter garden variety hackers. These policies also discourage well-funded and skilled cybercriminals by forcing them to spend too much time and resources to make the effort worthwhile. The federal government and agencies have created specialized cybersecurity compliance framework systems such as the following.

  • NIST: The National Institute of Standards and Technology has applications in industries such as power generation and distribution, military contractors, and others vital to national security. If you are part of the military supply chain, Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification compliance is largely based on NIST protocols.
  • HIPAA: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act codifies a cybersecurity framework designed to protect sensitive healthcare records and personal information. Driven primarily by the need to protect patient confidentiality, the cybersecurity compliance framework mandates organizations to possess top-tier defenses.
  • FISMA: The Federal Information Security Management Act provides a cybersecurity framework that focuses on protecting government data and that of lenders. It also requires entities to categorize digital assets in conjunction with risk.

Other cybersecurity frameworks include the General Data Protection Regulation, designed to protect parties in the EU, and the International Organization for Standardization, among others. It’s crucial that each organization maintain strict regulatory compliance by meeting or exceeding applicable cybersecurity frameworks.

What a Cybersecurity Consultant Can Do for Your IT Security

At CyberTeam, our managed IT and cybersecurity consulting experts have the experience and technology to protect your company from a data breach. We start by conducting a risk assessment to gain a clear understanding of your system’s strengths and vulnerabilities. Schedule a risk assessment with us and let's get the process started.

Ready to learn all about how managed IT services can support business development?