What Is Cybersecurity?

With the new normal of remote work, security threats are on the rise and small business owners are becoming targets of cybercriminals. Find out how to better protect your business with the Intel vPro® platform.1 2

Cybersecurity Key Takeaways

  • Surveys have found that most small business owners feel their businesses are vulnerable to a cyberattack,3 yet 83% say they are not financially prepared to recover.4

  • Roughly 40% of small-business cyberattack victims experience eight or more hours of downtime.4

  • Most cybersecurity breaches (85%) include a human element.5

  • The best security starts at the hardware level and protects against attacks below the operating system.



How do you adapt to remote working, keep your employees connected, and maintain security – all at the same time? Great question. And one that more SMBs are asking every day. Finding the best ways to protect your business – and your employees – isn’t always easy. Sometimes, it’s even a bit confusing. But it’s easier when you start with answering the most basic question first: “What is cybersecurity?”

The Importance of Cybersecurity

Cybercrime is a trillion dollar industry–one fueled by highly motivated cybercriminals looking for a big payday. Their goal? Gain access to systems, gather information, and steal data through ever-evolving tricks of the trade. That’s why staying on top of cybersecurity is so important. With improved safeguards, your business can be better equipped to face potential risks such as downtime, hardware damage, reputational damage, and financial challenges.

Types of Cybersecurity

Even though cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to steal data, tech companies are always creating new ways to help protect it. Without IT support, it can be daunting to keep up with the latest cybersecurity trends. Here are some quick definitions to help make it easier.

Cybersecurity Hygiene

To keep your small business protected, the best place to start is with basic cyber hygiene, or cybersecurity hygiene. This includes things like taking inventory of your systems, installing anti-virus and malware software, implementing multifactor authentication, and requiring employees to change passwords often.

Data Security

As criminals work hard to steal your business’s information, data security is the safeguard that thwarts their attempts. For example, things like data encryption can help stop hackers from viewing your data even if there’s a security breach.

Cloud Security

Do you send emails, store documents, or otherwise transfer data using SaaS apps through the cloud? If so, you need protection that helps keep data safe while in motion, at rest, and in use.

Network Security

Cybercriminals are experts at finding sneaky ways to enter your infrastructure. Network security helps protect against intrusion so you can keep sensitive information safe. However, keep in mind that network security alone is not enough. You need to secure the endpoint itself by layering on hardware-enabled software security solutions.

Application Security

Your company likely uses many applications for day-to-day business. But if you want to help keep data safe, you need security at the application level, such as web application firewalls that inspect how data files are executed within the application. Proper two-factor user authentication and authorization into applications are also a bedrock application security best practice.

Hardware-Based Security

When you choose a business device with Intel vPro® Essentials, you get one of the highest levels of hardware, software, and data protections – right out of the box – thanks to Intel® Hardware Shield. This comprehensive approach to security includes capabilities like Intel® Threat Detection Technology (Intel® TDT), which helps detect advanced threats that could slip past software-only solutions. Many security software vendors use Intel TDT to address hardware-level threat detection for your business.

End-User Education

Most cybersecurity breaches include a human element. For example, an employee accidentally clicks an email link or attachment, letting an unknown person into the system. So how do you fight back against this type of threat? One way is to train employees to look out for suspect emails using anti-phishing training tools. For more ways to help educate employees, check out our article “Data Security for Small Businesses.”

Types of Cybersecurity Threats

Imagine that an attacker gains access to your system and sends emails without permission. Or that a criminal steals your data and locks you out. Or maybe you accidentally click an email link that gives criminals free rein over sensitive data. These are all common cybersecurity threats, and experts are constantly tracking them to help companies keep a step ahead of cybercriminals. For example, the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a foundation that tracks the biggest security threats around the world and creates a top 10 list that is continuously updated.

There are actions you can take to protect your small business’s data – like keeping your computer and software updated, reducing file sharing, buying the right hardware, and layering on software security solutions – that can help you keep up with the top security risks. But start by understanding the threats, so you can more effectively put safeguards in place to stop them.

Cybersecurity Terms

Step one to understanding these threats is by understanding the terminology you hear every day. Some terms refer to ways cybercriminals get into your systems, others refer to types of attacks. Read on to learn what's what.


Malware is software written to harm your business. If your system is running unusually slow, sends emails you didn’t authorize, or randomly reboots – these are just a few symptoms of a malware infection. Malware threats include viruses, worms, spyware, ransomware, and adware, which are all designed to steal your data or damage and destroy computer systems. Malware continues to evolve and now includes “fileless” threats that can slip past common detection methods.


As you start your workday, you might attempt to log in to your computer only to find that you’re locked out. With your data held hostage, you’re given a choice: Pay up or stay locked out. Ransomware is a type of attack that gains access when somebody clicks on a phishing link or downloads an attachment. Once put into motion, it can steal and ransom individual or company-wide data files.


Phishing occurs when a cybersecurity criminal sends an email to trick your employee into entering login credentials. Unfortunately, this action opens the doors to unauthorized users, allowing them to plant ransomware and other malware threats.

Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)

The risk of downtime is something all SMBs want to avoid. A DDoS attack is created to throw your company into the chaos of downtime. The attack overloads your network with traffic, making it harder for customers to access your website and employees to get their work done.

Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)

The idea of cybercriminals accessing your system and stealing data is scary. And it gets worse. With an APT threat, a criminal stays in your system, undetected, watching business activities and continuously stealing data for an unspecified amount of time.


Employees often think they’re safe when sending emails or other information, but that’s a mistake – especially with a man-in-the-middle threat. This threat is designed to infiltrate security, listen to confidential communication, and steal valuable details. Unsecured networks, such as the Wi-Fi at your favorite coffee shop, are prime grounds for this type of threat.

Cybersecurity Technology

Nearly half of small businesses don’t have a cybersecurity plan in place, but it’s not because they don’t realize threats exist – it’s just hard to know the best actions to take.4 Thankfully, there are plenty of technologies that help keep criminals at bay, including:

Identity and Access Management (IAM)

IAM makes sure that employees only have access to the data they need for their specific jobs. Least privilege access is a core tenant of security to expose data to only the company roles that need access for their jobs. Examples of other IAM safeguards include single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, user life cycle management, and more. In addition, IAM provides more visibility into suspicious activities, helping you to respond faster to threats.

Endpoint Security

Your employees likely connect using laptops, smartphones, and other devices, which means you may need to learn more about mobile device security for small business. Each one of these devices is an endpoint. Criminals thrive on unsecured endpoints because they allow potential access to your system. Yet, one in five4 small companies don’t have endpoint security. This type of security includes running anti-virus software, basic vulnerability management solutions to patch applications, and enhanced sign-on technologies that come bundled with Windows – all designed to help you act quicker.

Intel and Cybersecurity

Unprotected data gives cybercriminals the opportunity to enter your network and create havoc. While you can educate employees and make sure they’re experts at spotting threats, there’s even more you can do. When you combine watchful employees with the right technologies, you can stay safe from even the most advanced threats.

The best security starts at the hardware level. The Intel vPro® platform gives you innovative, hardware-based security that helps protect against leading security threats.

No IT support? Look into Intel vPro® Essentials. It delivers out-of-the-box hardware-based security and includes Intel Hardware Shield, which protects against attacks below the operating system. It also works to continuously detect advanced threats, including ransomware and crypto jacking. And, in the event of a data breach, the built-in security of Intel vPro® Essentials helps you recover while minimizing downtime. If you need even more security and manageability, Intel vPro® Enterprise is built to enhance security in larger business fleets.

Intel’s dedication to security assurance helps customers tackle today’s toughest challenges with innovative technologies that defend against cyberattacks, detect unlikely threats, and help recover from data breaches. Download the 2021 Intel Product Security Report to see how our security-centric approach impacts everything we do at Intel.

Learn more about how Intel vPro® was created with your business in mind, to safeguard against threats and keep your organization safe.