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Cyber-security protects the digital information, software, hardware and connected devices of businesses, organizations and individuals from cyberattacks. These attacks can lead to phishing scams, ransomware attacks, data breaches, identity theft and more. Cyber-security includes activities like establishing firewalls, installing antivirus software, using password protection and implementing two-factor authentication. It also involves educating staff on industry best practices, organizational policies and procedures and monitoring for suspicious activity.

While cybersecurity measures aim to prevent attacks, they must also be flexible enough to respond quickly when a threat is detected. A typical defensive strategy is to focus resources on defending against the most common threats, but as cyberattacks evolve, this reactive approach may not be enough.

Experts recommend a proactive model that prioritizes risk assessment, threat hunting and continuous monitoring to detect new risks as they emerge. This can be achieved through automated, machine learning-based analytics and continuous threat intelligence sharing across the enterprise.

The growing availability of sensitive information online emphasizes the need for robust cybersecurity measures. Frequent high-profile data breaches highlight the financial and reputational damage a successful attack can inflict. Even small businesses that don’t have the resources to develop sophisticated cyber defenses are vulnerable to attack.

The qualifications you need to start working in cybersecurity include technical skills, a strong work ethic and a willingness to keep learning to stay up to date with evolving technology. You can also pursue certifications, such as Security+ or Certified Information Systems Security Professional, to help you build your career in this field.