Difference Between Security and Protection

In computer parlance, security and protection are the two terms that seem similar at first glance. Therefore, most people use them interchangeably, but both are quite different from each other. In this article, we will highlight how "security" is different from "protection". Basically, the measures to prevent the interference with use of local and physical resources of computer systems provided by the operating system are known as security and protection.

One major difference between security and protection is that security deals with the external threats on the information, while protection handles the internal threats on the information. Before going into the comparison, let's understand some basics of security and protection.

What is Security?

The measure of resistance to or protection from harm is referred to as security. It revolves around the external environment of a system and requires a suitable protection system. The security of a computer system involves the protection of its resources like information stored, memory, processing unit, etc. from inconsistency, unauthorized access, and malicious changes, etc.

Security mainly emphasizes on the protection of physical resources of the system and the integrity of the information stored in it. Hence, security is a mechanism that protects the system and user’s data stored in it against the interference caused by an external threat on the system.

The CIA Triad (Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability) is a common model that forms the basis for the development of security systems. Confidentiality and Integrity are concerned with keeping the data private and protected from malicious entities. Availability refers to the prevention of data being withheld by unauthorized actors.

What is Protection?

The part of security mechanism that controls access to a system is referred to as protection. Protection defines the types of file access allowed to the users of the system. Thus, protection ensures the authorization of process and access to data.

Protection measures restrict the unauthorized users from accessing the resources and information stored in the system. Protection is required to intercept the intentional violation of an access restraint by a user. Therefore, protection is important to ensure the reliable access of resources.

Difference between Security and Protection

The following table highlights the important different differences between Security and Protection −

Security Protection
Security grants access to specific users of the system only. Protection deals with the access to certain system resources.
There are external security threats associated with the system. There are internal threats associated with protection of the system.
Convoluted queries are handled by security systems. Simple queries are handled in protection.
Security uses mechanisms like encryption and authentication (also known as certification) are used. Protection tries to determine the files that could be accessed or permeated by a special user.
Security implements a process to enforce the data integrity. Protection implements authorization mechanism.


From the above discussion, we may conclude that Security is a complex mechanism that deals with the external threats on the system and information, whereas protection is a part of security mechanism that deals with the internal threats and prevents the unauthorized access of resources and information.

Security offers a mechanism to protect both user and system resources from unauthorized external entities. In contrast, Protection provides a mechanism to help control the access to critical data, processes, programs, and other resources.