Everyone knows the term “security” has evolved past the routine protection of the home or a person’s physical property. We’re also all aware that the word “cyber” is front and center in the realm of Information Technology.
Information security is now a highly-specialized area of business consulting and has become a symbol of modern technological advances of paramount interest. It also runs the gamut of concern, as it impacts individuals, IT professionals, startups, small/medium enterprises, and large corporate firms.
Of course, the more common term for information security is cybersecurity. But is that how it’s spelled?
Cybersecurity, cyber security, or even cyber-security? What’s the deal?
If you’ve ever searched the internet for this term (regardless of how you typed it in), you’ve probably gotten results that include different spellings of the word. We’ve gotten questions about these differences – is one preferred? Do they mean the same thing?
As subject matter experts, IT professionals and information security executives are faced with the challenge of knowing what the term implies. If there are multiple spellings, do they all mean the same? If they don’t, in which instances should they be used and how?
These words are becoming almost as ambiguous as the term “smartphone” was a couple of years back. While there is no recognized authority on the term per se, at least there are some credible sources providing guidance that can help consumers and many of us in the IT industry to decide on when, how and why to use the term.
When in doubt, look it up
… and hope for the best.
It can be a tough call to make, especially since which spelling you see most may also depend on where you live. American style tends to favor cybersecurity as one word while British style often uses cyber security as two words.
But the definitions don’t really waver. Cybersecurity and cyber security have the same meaning. (And while you might catch “cyber-security” here and there, it means the same and is not a widely-used or preferred derivative).
Grammarians will argue that top news agency, the Associated Press (which holds the throne when it comes to the latest word copy style), mandates it is a single word – same as many of the online dictionaries consulted.
Regardless of which style you prefer, it’s always best to pick one and stick with it. With the evolution of English vocabulary and the advancement of technology, the different spelling styles are all deemed acceptable in the IT industry. Hopefully, in the coming years, we’ll see a formal, consistent and widely-accepted spelling of this cyber word as we saw with the “smartphone.”
The verdict is…
The jury is still out on this one.
While it seems that “cybersecurity” is most often used, it might depend on where you live or whether your part of an organization that simply prefers to use “cyber security” for whatever reason.
As we continue further down this path into the cyber world, a more common and acceptable use will eventually win out. We vote for cybersecurity.