Top 7 Cybersecurity Terms To Know

by Marty Aquino
Top 7 Cybersecurity Terms To Know

Cybersecurity has its own language — and you need to know it. At the very least, you need to know the top cybersecurity terms. Cybersecurity is becoming ubiquitous and unavoidable. Humankind’s collective digital footprint will reach a mind-numbing 175 zettabytes — that’s 175 followed by 21 zeros — as soon as 2025, according to TechTarget. In a report from Cybersecurity Ventures, every 39 seconds a cyberattack takes place. Just like elementary reading and writing, it will be necessary to understand key terms before understanding major cybersecurity concepts and protocols.

Terms You Need To Know

Digital assets are valuable and vulnerable. Obviously, protecting your digital assets is a top priority and needs custom solutions -and attention paid to the fine details to maximize effectiveness. Cybersecurity is a broad topic, but in general, it’s a discipline or collection of custom solutions that keeps your network and data safe. Every industry has its own jargon. The purpose of jargon helps you be more specific and granular -which can yield better results.

1. Encryption

Encryption is another layer of security designed to protect your data. Whatever the encryption method used, the process converts data into encoded information also known as ciphertext using a predetermined code or algorithm. Ultimately, only those that know the aforementioned code or algo will be able to decode the ciphertext to unscramble the original data. Encryption is critical for a trustworthy and secure network.

2. Authentication

Your online and analog identities need to be protected. This concept is as old as civilization itself. For example, Roman military guards would pass wooden tablets (a tesserarius) with an engraved secret word and/or orders. In this way, a Roman General could authenticate soldiers they didn’t directly know. Authentication in the present-day, digital world has become considerably more complex. The process of confirming a user can be made more secure through:

  • Multifactor Authentication (“MFA”): A proven security measure requiring users to provide two or more authentication factors to access an application, account or virtual private network (VPN).
  • Single Sign-On (“SSO”): An identification method that enables users to log in to multiple applications and websites with a single set of credentials, reducing the stress of managing multiple usernames and passwords across various accounts and services.
  • OAuth2: Also known as open authorization, a framework that lets you authorize an application to interact with another without having to reveal your password. It does this by providing access tokens to third-party services without exposing user credentials. OAuth1 has been deprecated; OAuth2 provides authorized access to application programming interfaces (APIs) and encrypts the tokens in transit, so there is no need for encryption at the end points.

3. Phishing

Humans tend to be the weakest links in cybersecurity architectures. Phishing is a type of cyberattack that exploits this. It uses email, text, phone, social media and social engineering to get potential victims to divulge sensitive information knowingly or otherwise. For example, “Whaling” is a type of social engineering attack designed to target C-level or high-ranking executives. Cybercriminals might pretend to be other C-level executives asking for personal or company information. According to Verizon, 30% of whaling emails get opened and 12% of the targets click on the malicious links.


Internet Protocol Address Management (“IPAM”) is critical to growing organizations. IPAM is essential for creating a scalable addressing solution allowing your network to expand and meet the needs of your organization’s workloads. IPAM is the planning, allocation, administration and tracking of your public and private IP spaces, network devices and the related data. IPAM helps organizations identify which IPs are used and which ones are available. Not all IPAM solutions are effective. Consider stress-testing your IPAM solution set.

5. NAC

Network Access Control (NAC), also known as Network Admission Control, is a cyber defense technique that prevents bad actors and all other unauthorized users, machines and devices from entering private networks and/or critical data. NAC became popular in the early 2000s as an effective method of basic scan-and-block techniques in order to manage endpoints. Today, NAC solutions strengthen network transparency and access management through device and user policy enforcement.

6. PAM

Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions protect your organization through monitoring, detecting and soundly rejecting unauthorized privileged access to your critical data. Robust and highly-effective PAM is not normally a single point solution, but rather a comprehensive combination of people, processes and technology. A fundamental concept within PAM is the principle of least privilege: your users receive the minimum levels of access necessary to complete their respective roles. That unified strategy is used to control, monitor, secure and assess all privileged identities and actions throughout your IT ecosystem.

7. Zero Trust

As implied in the name, this cybersecurity method denies access to your organization’s digital data -by default. According to Gartner, “60% of organizations will embrace Zero-Trust as a starting point for security by 2025. More than half will fail to realize the benefits.” The Zero Trust Model only grants access to authenticated users -and even then, access will be tailored and reduced to only the apps, services and data required for their work. In a Zero-Trust Network, authorization and authentication is a continuous affair -versus standard one-time-at-login passwords that only happen at the perimeter. No matter where or when your user is in the system Zero-Trust restricts unnecessary movement between systems, apps and services in order to mitigate risks. This mitigation limits privileged access and in so doing the opportunities for bad actors, external or internal to steal your critical data.

Turn Knowledge Into Action

Cybersecurity terms are important to know. However, it’s even more critical to use that knowledge and take action. Alexander Graham Bell said, “The only difference between success and failure is the ability to take action.” Work with a trusted strategic partner like The Migus Group to convert your knowledge into your organization’s solid cybersecurity defense.

Questions about any of these cybersecurity terms? Contact The Migus Group today!

Marty Aquino has been a passionate writer on venture capital, technology, forecasting, risk mitigation, wealth and entrepreneurial topics since 2009. He is the founder of Carbonwolf Energy, a venture-capital firm specializing in world-changing and status-quo-defying technologies and people.