Cyber Security

What is Cyber Security and Why is it Important?

Make sure that you understand cyber security and the measures that can be taken to mitigate these risks

What is Cyber Security and Why is it Important?

In today's digital age, where almost every aspect of our lives relies on technology and the internet, ensuring the security of our digital assets has become paramount. Cybersecurity plays a crucial role in safeguarding our information and systems from malicious cyber threats. From personal data to sensitive business information, cyber-attacks can target various aspects of our digital lives, making it essential to understand what cybersecurity entails and why it is of utmost importance.

What is Cyber Security?

Cybersecurity encompasses a set of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, devices, programs and data from unauthorised access, damage or theft. It involves defending against cyber attacks and ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of digital assets.

How Does Cyber Security Work?

Cybersecurity operates on multiple layers, employing various techniques and technologies to thwart cyber threats. This includes implementing firewalls, encryption, antivirus software, intrusion detection systems and security protocols. Additionally, cybersecurity involves ongoing monitoring, analysis and response to potential security incidents to mitigate risks effectively.

Types of Cyber Security Threats

Cybersecurity threats come in various forms, each posing unique risks to individuals organisations and nations. Common types of cyber threats include malware, phishing attacks, DoS attacks, data breaches, social engineering, insider threats and APTs, all of which are detailed below.


Malware, short for malicious software, refers to any software specifically designed to disrupt, damage or gain unauthorised access to computer systems. Malware includes a wide range of malicious programs, such as:

  • Viruses: Programs that replicate themselves by attaching to other programs or files and infecting them.
  • Worms: Self-replicating malware that spreads across networks without requiring user interaction.
  • Trojans: Malware disguised as legitimate software, tricking users into installing and executing them.
  • Ransomware: Malware that encrypts files or locks users out of their systems, demanding payment for decryption or restoration.

Malware infections can lead to data breaches, financial losses and system disruptions if not promptly addressed.

Phishing attacks

Phishing attacks involve fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and financial details, by impersonating trustworthy entities. These attacks typically occur through email, instant messaging or social media, where attackers lure victims into clicking on malicious links or providing confidential information.

Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks

Denial-of-service attacks aim to disrupt the normal functioning of a targeted server, network or service by overwhelming it with a flood of traffic. This flood of traffic can be generated by a single source or coordinated from multiple devices, creating a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. DoS attacks can lead to service outages, downtime and loss of revenue for businesses.

Data breaches

Data breaches occur when unauthorised individuals gain access to sensitive information, such as personal data, financial records or intellectual property. Attackers may exploit vulnerabilities in networks, applications or human error to exfiltrate data. Data breaches can have severe consequences, including financial losses, reputational damage and legal ramifications.

Social engineering

Social engineering attacks manipulate individuals into divulging confidential information or performing specific actions through psychological manipulation techniques. Common social engineering tactics include pretexting, baiting and tailgating. These attacks exploit human vulnerabilities rather than technical weaknesses, making them difficult to detect and prevent solely through technological means; these attacks require defence in the form of rigorous and regular staff training.

Insider threats

Insider threats occur when people from within an organisation misuse their access privileges to compromise data, systems or networks. Insider threats can be intentional (employees with malicious intent) or unintentional (employees who inadvertently expose sensitive information through negligence or lack of awareness). Insider threats pose significant challenges for organisations due to the difficulty of distinguishing between legitimate and malicious activities, but providing quality training to staff minimises accidental threats.

Advanced persistent threats (APTs)

Advanced persistent threats are sophisticated, targeted attacks conducted by highly skilled adversaries, such as nation-states or organised cybercriminal groups. APTs typically involve a prolonged and stealthy infiltration of a target's network, to steal sensitive information or sabotage operations undetected. APTs employ advanced tactics, techniques and procedures to evade detection and maintain persistence within targeted systems.

Importance of Cyber Security

The significance of cybersecurity simply cannot be overstated in today's interconnected world. Here are some key reasons why it is so important:

  • Protection of Confidential Information. Cybersecurity safeguards sensitive personal and business data from unauthorised access, preventing identity theft, financial fraud and intellectual property theft.
  • Preservation of Trust and Reputation. A cyber attack resulting in data breaches or service disruptions can damage an individual's or organisation's reputation and erode trust among customers, clients and stakeholders.
  • Financial Security. Cyber attacks can lead to significant financial losses through theft, extortion, legal penalties and costs associated with remediation and recovery.
  • National Security. Cybersecurity is essential for protecting critical infrastructure, government systems and sensitive military information from cyber threats that could disrupt essential services or compromise national security.
  • Compliance and Legal Requirements. Many industries have regulatory requirements and legal obligations regarding data protection and cybersecurity. Compliance with these standards is necessary to avoid penalties and maintain business operations.

Cyber Safety Tips

With proactive measures and robust defence strategies, organisations can strengthen their cyber resilience and mitigate the risks of cyber attacks. Here are some steps that businesses can take to protect themselves:

Conduct a risk assessment

The first step in enhancing cyber security is to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities, threats and risks to the organisation's systems, networks and data. This involves evaluating the security of existing infrastructure, assessing how effective the current security controls are and identifying areas for improvement.

Develop an incident response plan

Preparing for cyber security incidents is essential for minimising their impact and facilitating swift recovery. Developing an incident response plan that outlines predefined procedures, roles and responsibilities for responding to security incidents helps organisations respond effectively to cyber attacks, mitigate damage and restore normal operations promptly.

Conduct employee training and awareness programs

Human error remains one of the leading causes of cyber security breaches, making employee training and awareness programs indispensable for strengthening cyber resilience. Educating employees about common cyber threats, phishing scams, social engineering tactics and best practices for secure behaviour can help mitigate the risk of insider threats and inadvertent data breaches.

Implement strong authentication and access controls

A business can help prevent unauthorised access to sensitive information by implementing strong authentication mechanisms, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) and biometric authentication. Also, organisations should enforce strict access controls, limiting user privileges based on the principle of least privilege to reduce the risk of insider threats and unauthorised access.

Keep software and systems updated

Regularly updating software, operating systems and firmware with the latest security patches and updates is critical for addressing known vulnerabilities and mitigating the risk of exploitation by cyber attackers. Automated patch management tools can streamline the process of deploying patches across the organisation's IT infrastructure efficiently.

Encrypt sensitive data

Encrypting sensitive data both in transit and at rest helps protect it from unauthorised access and interception by cybercriminals. Implementing encryption protocols, such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS), for data transmission and using encryption algorithms to encrypt stored data adds an extra layer of security to sensitive information.

Deploy firewalls and intrusion detection systems

Firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDS) play a crucial role in safeguarding networks from unauthorised access and malicious activities. Deploying firewalls at network perimeters and implementing IDS to monitor network traffic for suspicious behaviour and known attack patterns can help detect and block cyber threats before they can cause harm.

Backup data regularly

Regularly backing up critical data and information to secure, offsite locations ensures that organisations can recover quickly in the event of a ransomware attack, data breach or system failure. Implementing automated backup solutions and testing backup and recovery processes regularly helps verify data integrity and reliability.

Monitor and audit systems regularly

Continuous monitoring and auditing of systems, networks and user activities enable organisations to detect security incidents, anomalous behaviour and unauthorised access in real-time. Implementing security information and event management (SIEM) systems and conducting regular security audits help organisations proactively identify and address security issues.

Engage with cyber security experts and service providers

Seeking assistance from cyber security experts and service providers can provide organisations with valuable insights, expertise and resources to enhance their cyber security posture. Engaging with managed security service providers (MSSPs), penetration testing firms and cyber security consultants can help organisations identify weaknesses, address vulnerabilities and stay ahead of emerging threats.

How can CHG-MERIDIAN help?

Here at CHG-MERIDIAN, we take cybersecurity very seriously. We provide data erasure for all end-of-lease devices on, and off-site ensuring that there are no risks of data leaks.

We have identified the industries most at risk from cyber-attacks – and how to defend against these attacks. For more information about protecting your business and your data, talk to us.

Contact Us

We'd love to hear from you! If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch with me directly.

Declan McGlone

Vice President Finance UK & Ireland

  • Head Office Egham CHG-MERIDIAN UK Limited
  • 65 High Street
  • TW20 9EY Egham, Surrey
  • +44 1784 470701