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14 Key Principles of Cyber Security to Follow

15th Sep, 2023
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    14 Key Principles of Cyber Security to Follow

    With the increasing adoption of the internet, implementing cyber security principles has become the need of the hour. Consequently, learning the key principles of cyber security is an essential step towards creating a foolproof cyber security strategy. The web that we use to find and provide information, services, and products is a complex network of servers, computers, and other electronic systems. All the devices connected to the web exchange data containing sensitive information about individuals and organizations. Thus, it becomes quintessential to protect the data from malicious attacks by implementing various principles of cybersecurity. Also, check Ethical Hacking course online which will aid you in becoming a skilled ethical hacker.

    Every organization that is leveraging information technology needs to follow the best practices to safeguard its network and ensure data security and integrity. So, they need to make use of certain principles of cybersecurity and protect their information systems from cyber threats.

    Cyber Security: An Overview 

    Cyber security is a set of practices to protect networks, servers, information systems, and data from malicious attacks intended to exploit networks and devices connected to them. Cyber security is also popularly known as information technology (IT) security.

    The primary objective of cyber security is to prevent unauthorized access to networks and data theft. In general, actors carrying out cyber-attacks intend to steal or manipulate data and disrupt the functioning of a network. Cyber security makes it possible to intercept such attacks and secure networks.

    What are Cyber Security Principles?

    Cyber security principles act as a set of instructions that help to safeguard networks and systems against cyber threats. There are several cyber security or IT security principles to ensure the safety of networks and the devices connected to them.

    Need for Defining Cyber Security Principles

    Most organizations working in this digital era rely on the internet, wireless networks, and computer systems to operate properly. To make sure that the data they share across networks and different systems are safe from unauthorized access and manipulation, they need to put a cyber security framework in place.

    Cyber Security Principles

    Source: Javatpoint

    The principles of cyber security assists organizations in creating robust frameworks to enforce strict security of networks and data.

    14 Crucial Cyber Security Principles with Examples 

    If you are wondering what the principles of cyber security are, you need to go through all the key cyber security principles discussed below:

    1. Framing a Risk Management Regime 

    One of the first principles of cybersecurity is to define and create a risk management strategy for the organization to handle all the potential cyber threats. While developing the strategy or regime, it becomes essential to take input from the executives of the organization along with the professional guidance of experts who have taken proper Cyber Security training.

    While strategizing, all the threats and their sources need to be identified and defined clearly. This helps to make rules and regulations that aim to minimize the vulnerabilities in the organization’s IT infrastructure. 

    ExampleA team of cyber security monitors a system and identifies all the vulnerabilities. The people at the management level review all the vulnerabilities and discuss which vulnerabilities need to be eliminated by the cyber security team. 

    2. Economy of Mechanism 

    The economy of mechanism is among the basic principles of cyber security that define the best practices for designing an efficient cyber security framework. To be precise, it states that the mechanisms employed for cyber security must be easy to design and implement. If a security mechanism is complex, its implementation can bring a lot of challenges and at the same time, is prone to errors. 

    To create a simple and efficient cybersecurity framework, it is essential to identify what types of threats it needs to tackle and how. An organization may create multiple modules for enforcing cyber security, with each module having its specific assumptions and input data requirements. Therefore, it is important to create only those modules that fulfill the cyber security needs of the organization. 

    Creating too many modules or setting incorrect assumptions may lead the whole system to produce unexpected results. 

    ExampleA file encryption mechanism that allows the admin to encrypt any type of file and prevent access for unauthorized users. Instead of creating a security mechanism for each file type, it is better to use an encryption mechanism that protects all types of files. 

    3. Secure All Configurations 

    This principle defines how a network system should behave whenever a new user or device is added to the network or when the access permissions for a user are not clearly defined. 

    Whenever a new user or device joins a network or a system, the admin needs to set their access permissions. In case the level of access is not clear, the system should either grant restricted access or completely deny access to the network or the system. 

    Managing the access permissions for every user or network device helps eliminate intrusion.

    ExampleWhenever a new user is added to the system or network, administrators define their access levels explicitly. In case, the access level is not defined, the system should automatically assign the minimal access level to that user.

    4. Fail-safe Defaults 

    This is one of the cyber security architecture principles, which states that whenever a system fails or goes down, a backup protection plan should safeguard the system. It is essential to secure the system when it encounters an error that disrupts its normal operation.

    In general, a system should restrict access to all the configuration settings and objects until the system gets restored to its normal state. Also, the fail-safe program should terminate all the system functions that attackers may exploit and reverse all the changes made to the system during the downtime.

    ExampleIf a new user is added to a system during the downtime, the new user should get limited access to the system’s configuration and features.

    5. Network Security 

    Under this principle, the main agenda is to completely secure the network so that data can be transferred over it safely. To achieve network security, it becomes essential to design the network architecture deliberately to achieve protection against cyber attacks.

    Data encryption is an essential aspect of network security as it helps to ensure that attackers do not extract any information even if they manage to steal data. Also, it’s important to set up firewalls and filters to detect and filter out viruses and infected data that can damage the nodes in the network. 

    ExampleA firewall helps network administrators monitor both incoming and outgoing traffic. The firewall filters traffic based on certain parameters and restricts the flow of certain data. Also, the network needs to make use of an encryption algorithm to protect confidential information transmitted over the network. 

    6. Managing User Privileges 

    Usually, there are several users that can access a system, and managing user privileges helps organizations to define what features each user can access. Depending on the tasks users have to perform, they get different privileges. 

    It is not ideal to provide all the users within a system to have admin-level user privileges. So, while designing an IT system, it’s important to add scope for different user privileges. The admin of the system should be able to change the privileges given to each user. 

    ExampleIn Windows OS, a user with admin-level access can change all the settings of the system, whereas the standard and guest users have limited access to the files and settings of the system. 

    7. Open Design 

    Open design is one of the most important principles of cyber security. According to this principle, a cyber security mechanism should not depend on the confidentiality of its design. Instead, it is better to use an open design that is publicly available. 

    It is a viable option to use different cryptographic methods for encrypting the different components or levels of security. This will ensure that the whole system won't get compromised if one security component gets attacked. 

    ExampleA DVD contains data in various standard formats, but the CSS encryption prevents unauthorized copying of the data stored in the DVD. 

    8. Monitoring 

    As per this cyber security principle, it is essential to devise a strategy to monitor all the activities happening within an organization’s network. A special emphasis should be put on activities that are directly related to network security. This eventually helps organizations track any activity that can compromise security and prevent them from causing serious harm to the network and its devices. 

    The monitoring strategy needs to involve tracking the activities of each system or user connected to the network. It can help to detect and prevent cyber attacks in case the primary intrusion detection mechanism fails. 

    ExampleSeveral systems restrict the number of attempts to enter a system within a certain period. In case the wrong credentials are provided to the system more times than the maximum allowed attempts, the login will get disabled for the user, and a warning will be sent to the administrator. 

    9. Complete Mediation 

    Every user who wants to access an object within the system needs to go through an authorization process, and this is what the complete mediation principle is all about. Access authorization helps to confirm that a user has the appropriate permissions to get into the system and use certain objects. 

    To improve the overall performance, the system should remember the access permissions of a user after authorizing their access. However, after a certain time or session, the system should ask the user to provide credentials again to access an object. 

    ExampleMost banking sites implement this principle by logging out the user if they are inactive for a certain duration. 

    10. Home and Mobile Networking 

    The employees of an organization while working remotely may have to access systems from home or mobile networks. However, this increases the security risks for an organization’s IT infrastructure. 

    An organization that allows employees to work remotely should create separate policies for managing the risks associated with home and mobile networks. By doing so, organizations can prevent security breaches and loss of information. 

    ExampleWhile working remotely and accessing the office network, employees should use internet security software and/or a VPN to access the network securely. 

    11. Work Factor 

    The work factor represents the number of resources required by an attacker to breach the security of a system. The more the work factor of a system, the more resources are needed to break the cryptographic encryption of the system to gain unauthorized access. 

    While designing a cyber security framework, it is essential to keep the work factor high so that it becomes difficult for the attacker to circumvent the system’s security. 

    ExampleA system that accepts 4 characters password (26 alphabets, case insensitive ) will have 264 = 456976 combinations. So, a hacker will need to try all the combinations to crack the password. However, if the character limit is increased to 5 characters and the alphabets are made case sensitive, then the number of possible combinations will become 52= 380204032, making it difficult for hackers to crack the password. 

    12. Incident Management 

    The incident management principle states that organizations need to keep a record of all security incidents to improve the security mechanism. It's essential to store the details of all the intrusions to find loopholes in the system and eliminate them to prevent future attacks. 

    Additionally, by monitoring all the incidents, it is possible to devise cyber security strategies that are more robust and less prone to malicious attacks. 

    ExampleA monitoring system that keeps a record of the system condition may help to track the changes made to the system during an incident. 

    13. Prevention of Malware 

    Malware is the most common type of threat used by hackers to penetrate security and gain unauthorized access to a system. It is an infected software with malicious code that aims to disrupt the normal operation of a system and let attackers bypass the security mechanism. 

    Being one of the cybersecurity defense principles, the prevention of malware suggests that an organization should design its cyber security to detect and prevent malware from getting installed on its system. A proper strategy is essential for tackling various types of malware attacks. Firewalls and intrusion detection systems are ideal for detecting malware and restricting them from entering a system. 

    ExampleAn antivirus software with online protection will alert the user whenever it detects malware in the system. 

    14. Acceptance of Security Breaches 

    Cyber attackers are always on the lookout for new ways to intrude systems. Thus, it is important to modify and update the cyber security framework to add protection against new types of cyber attacks. 

    It is imperative to keep track of all the latest cyber attacks and figure out the most effective ways to prevent them. The cyber security team of an organization is responsible for making any necessary changes in the scope of the cyber security framework. 

    ExampleA cybersecurity team monitors cyber attacks happening within or outside the organization to identify the loopholes that attackers may exploit to breach the security of a system. 

    Purpose of Cyber Security Principles

    Cyber security design principles guide organizations to implement cyber security and protect their information systems and data against cyber-attacks and illicit activities. Any organization can make use of them to facilitate the following processes: 

    1. Governance: This process focuses on monitoring networks for any suspicious activity. It can be simply understood as identifying and managing security risks, both online and offline. 

    2. Detection: It aims to detect and identify the events related to security and data breaches. This simply means be on the lookout to identify and understand cybersecurity events and cybersecurity incidents. 

    3. Protection: This is a simple one to understand. Protection involves the implementation of various mechanisms to protect networks and systems against cyber attacks.  

    4. Respond: This process aims to recover the system or network after the occurrence of a security breach. This means the techniques and tools to mitigate cyber security incidents and recover from them.  

    How Are These Principles Executed? 

    To execute various principles of cyber security, it is essential for an organization to employ a team of cyber security professionals who can create a cyber security framework. The cyber security framework outlines the rules and regulations and measures to achieve protection against different types of attacks. 

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    The knowledge of cyber security principles is a must for ensuring the comprehensive security of a network and the devices connected to it. Security experts need to have an in-depth understanding of all core principles of cyber security so that they can create and implement highly effective cybersecurity frameworks. Also, with the changing landscape of the internet and web, new types of attacks emerge every now and then. As a result, the cyber security framework employed by an organization should be flexible so that it’s possible to upgrade them. If you are interested in becoming a cyber security expert, you can enroll in KnowledgeHut’s Cyber Security training. At the end of the training, you will be able to utilize all the cyber security principles and practices to design an effective cyber security framework.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1What are the 8 design principles for security?

    Following are the 8 security principles in cyber security: 

    • Complete Mediation 
    • Economy of Mechanism 
    • Fail-Safe Defaults 
    • Least Common Mechanism 
    • Least Privilege 
    • Open Design 
    • Psychological Acceptability 
    • Separation of Privilege 
    2What are the elements of cyber security?

    There are six key elements of cyber security: 

    • Network security 
    • Information security 
    • Application security 
    • Operational security 
    • End-user security 
    • Disaster recovery planning 
    3Which cybersecurity principle is most important?

    Each cybersecurity principle has its own importance in securing a network. However, an organization has the flexibility to follow some or all the cyber security principles depending on the security mechanism that they need to design. 

    4Why is the principle of minimization important to cybersecurity?

    The principle of minimization states that it is essential to minimize ways in which attackers can compromise the security of a network or system. To achieve this, it becomes imperative to disable the unnecessary features of a system and block inactive ports with the help of a firewall. 

    5How many security principles are there?

    There are 3 cyber security tenets or data security principles that are namely confidentiality, integrity, and availability. 


    Akhil Bhadwal

    Blog Author

    With 8+ years of experience in developing content, Akhil is dedicated to making concepts (and life) easier for his readers. He started his career as a freelance product description writer in 2015 and then ventured out into multiple roles, including Senior Technical Content Writer (Programming) , Content Strategist, Technical Content Editor and Content Manager. Akhil is currently employed as a Marketing Manager and also offers services as a Content Consultant.

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