Security matters

TechBrain Applied IT and Science Consulting is as matter of fact a security company. Security is currently one of the most dynamically developing areas in the IT sector. There is nothing strange in this, because everyone tries to a greater or lesser extent to ensure the security of their data.

However, in this short post, I would like to point out an important difference between “security” and “safety”. In many languages these two different terms are marked with the same word. For instance: polish (bezpieczeństwo), german (Sicherheit), french (sécurité) or russian (безопасность). Their meaning, however, is quite different. It seems that “safety” typically refers to the state of an object (being safe, keeping it safe, etc.), while “security” refers rather to mechanisms to provide safety of the object. To be more specific, lets refer to Matthias Springers, who states:

Safety stands for accident avoidance, and security for crime prevention. The best way to explain it is to use an example: If you think of an emergency exit, on the one hand you have the safety aspect. In safety terms you need to be able to get out of the building at any time, and the door should preferably always be open. As far as security – with a focus on building protection – is concerned, this door would ideally not be there at all, so that no-one can get in. The goals and values of safety and security are in some places contradictory, which is what makes the subject so intriguing. In the field of classic safety, functions are enabled in potentially dangerous machinery to protect people and the environment. When it comes to security, however, you’re no longer protecting people from machines – in fact it’s quite the reverse: You have to protect the machine to ensure that people can’t bring it to a juddering halt or switch off relevant safety functions.

It seems that both meanings are needed in the field of IT – to take care of people safety and technology security 🙂