Computer security is one of the fastest growing fields in the information technology (IT) industry. As the world becomes increasingly globalized through advanced communication and digital information exchange, the security and protection of data, and the systems responsible for data transmission, are paramount.
Without effective computer security the digital world and the global economy would fall to pieces. Imagine the consumer response to online banking and shopping if people were not certain that their personal information was protected. This applies to the largest corporations, to healthcare and educational institutions, all the way down to the personal computer, tablet, and smart phone.
There are three major types of computer security: network, data, and hardware. Networks are the backbone of the digital world. They are the causeways of data flow and transmission. Network security has grown even more complex with the advent of wireless communication. When discussing networks and different types of computer security, people have a tendency to think of malicious hackers bent on destruction. Destruction or disabling of a network can come from a virus, worm, Trojan horse, or a denial of service. This occurs when a network is accessed by an unauthorized individual or group with the goal of preventing access or usability. This has been listed as a type of terroristic activity because it potentially disrupts government and commerce. A more immediate threat to network security is sniffing. Sniffing is the interception of data traveling across a network. This can be equated to a form of eavesdropping. The hacker does not prevent data from reaching its destination. Instead, he or she merely has access to its contents. Think of identity theft, financial fraud, or corporate espionage. A network is protected by antivirus software, firewalls, and IT specialists who look for weaknesses.
Where network security is concerned with access to data, data security is about preservation. When hardware fails or an electrical surge damages a server, there is a risk of data loss. Data security is centered around having backups. Think of the old saying, ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket.’ All data is stored on a physical medium, even cloud storage. Because of this, it is important that there are physical protections in place. Types of computer security for data protection would include alarm systems, surveillance, and security personnel.
Data protection overlaps with hardware security. As mentioned above, this is the physical protection of the mediums containing data and the computer parts responsible for network and software operation. Hardware security protects from human and environmental threats alike. With the advent of cloud technology, people, business, hospitals, universities, and governments are storing more and more of their private information on servers located all-around the world. In the past a person would save their personal files on a disk, flash drive, or hard drive that was in their physical possession. Now people save to cloud devices because they are confident in a company’s different types of computer security. All three different types of computer security are required in today’s society, and if one were to fail or become compromised, the whole system is at risk.