Cybersecurity for dummies: what it is and why you SHOULD care

Cybersecurity for dummies: As digitalisation takes over the world, effective cybersecurity systems are more important than ever to organisations.

You may have heard the term cybersecurity being thrashed about, but do you really know what it is? To put it simply, cybersecurity is the use of technologies, processes and controls to help protect anything online (data, devices, networks, programs) from hackers.

Although cybersecurity should top the agenda for companies post-pandemic, most recent figures show that only 50% of small businesses actually have measures in place to prevent such attacks. In addition, data reveals that, on average, up to thirty thousand websites are hacked daily, with one company falling prey to a cyberattack every thirty-nine seconds.

Now that you understand exactly what cybersecurity is, let’s dig deeper and explore the basics behind staying cybersafe.

Why cybersecurity matters

As mentioned, with so many organisations having an online presence, data is becoming more valuable daily. A strong cybersecurity plan protects companies from the theft of private information and guards financial data and intellectual property. In addition to this, since cybersecurity became a thing, many countries have made it a requirement as part of many regulations and data privacy laws. Data is a hugely valuable commodity for organisations. It’s estimated that around eighty-five per cent of organisations see data as one of their most valuable assets


Have no doubt about it: many cyberterms out there can confuse even the most advanced internet user. That said, the only three you really need to know right now are exploit (a malicious app that takes advantage of a computer vulnerability), firewall (a piece of software that helps screen out hackers and viruses) and ransomware (a computer program designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid).

Benefits of cybersecurity

It’s important to know that cybersecurity isn’t just about protecting data. It has a lot of pro points, including the fact that it helps preserve an organisation’s reputation, enhances productivity and improves cyber posture (the position of the company online). Other plus points include that it assists remote and hybrid working patterns, all while helping with compliance and improving overall data management. What’s not to like?

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash
Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

Challenges cybersecurity faces

As it remains relatively new, Cybersecurity has its challenges. Some of the biggest it has faced over the course of 2023 so far include ransomware extortion, global attacks on business, mobile malware, cloud thirty-party threats and more. Each of these is hugely challenging as it’s almost impossible for software to secure every entry point for people looking to commit cybercrime (stealing data and accessing valuable information). However, one of the overarching challenges remains the changing nature of threats. Cybercriminals have become so advanced that they are constantly developing new means of attacking systems within organisations. As a result, it takes a lot of work for companies to keep on top of these challenges to protect what’s rightfully theirs.

The 5c’s of Cybersecurity

To become an expert in basic-level cybersecurity knowledge, understanding the five C’s of Cybersecurity is key. Any robust cybersecurity strategy must be built around context, control, confidentiality, continuity, and cost. With context, think of the reasons why you need one; when it comes to governance, think about who will be in charge of it. Also, consider confidentiality, continuity and cost. According to figures from Securebrain, the average cost of Cybersecurity equates to over one thousand eight hundred euros per full-time employee.

The three most common cyber threats

Last but not least, it is vital to note the most common cyber threats. These include ‘phishing’, basically an email or a text message resembling one from a reputable source. According to Verizon’s 2023 DBIR figures, thirty-six per cent of all data breaches last year involved phishing. Another must-know is ‘malware’, which is a form of truly malicious software whereby files or programs are used to harm computer users. ‘Ransomware’ is a third need to know. It’s a type of software that involves attackers locking files on your computer and requesting cash to reinstate access. Scary, eh?

Rebecca Lee is a journalist and broadcaster of over 23 years. She also works in tech communications with ClearStory International. To date, she has written for and continues to contribute to The Business Post, The Irish Times, The Irish Daily Mail, The Sunday World, and, most importantly, European tech publication 4i Magazine. Rebecca also worked as a radio presenter for 13 years with leading Irish stations Q102 and FM104. Alongside balancing her PR and journalism work, Rebecca moderates events, WebSummit 2022 and Dublin Tech Summit being the most recent.