Comparing data privacy, data protection and data security

Your organization’s data is one of its most valuable assets and must be protected accordingly. Because there are so many ways your organization’s data could potentially be lost or compromised, you must take a multifaceted approach to ensuring the well-being of data. This means focusing on three key areas: data privacy, data protection and data security.

Data privacy is a guideline for how data should be collected or handled, based on its sensitivity and importance. Data privacy is typically applied to personal health information and personally identifiable information. This includes financial information, medical records, ID numbers, names, birthdates, and contact information. Data privacy concerns apply to all sensitive information that your organization handle, including that of customers, shareholders, and employees. Often, this information plays a vital role in business operations, development, and finances. Data privacy helps ensure that sensitive data is only accessible to approved parties.

Data protection is a set of strategies and processes you can use to secure the privacy, availability, and integrity of your data. Data protection principles covers operational data backup and business continuity/disaster recovery and involves implementing aspects of data management and data availability. Here are key data management aspects relevant to data protection:

  • Data availability: ensuring users can access and use the data required to perform business even when this data is lost or damaged.
  • Data lifecycle management: involves automating the transmission of critical data to offline and online storage.
  • Information lifecycle management: involves the valuation, cataloging, and protection of information assets from various sources, including facility outages and disruptions, application and user errors, machine failure, and malware and virus attacks.

Data security means protecting digital data, such as those in a database, from destructive forces and from the unwanted actions of unauthorized users, such as a cyberattack or a data breach. It’s a concept that encompasses every aspect of information security from the physical security of hardware and storage devices to administrative and access controls, as well as the security of software applications. It also includes organizational policies and procedures. This includes protecting your data from attacks that can encrypt or destroy data, such as ransomware, as well as attacks that can modify or corrupt your data. Data security also ensures data is available to anyone in your organization who has access to it.

Data privacy vs. data protection vs. data security

Although there is a degree of overlap between data protection, data security and data privacy, there are key differences between the three.

Data security vs. data privacy

There is a strong degree of overlap between data privacy and data security. For example, encryption helps ensure your data privacy, but it could also be a data security tool. The main difference between data security and data privacy is that privacy is about ensuring only those who are authorized to access the data can do so. Data security is more about guarding against malicious threats. If data is encrypted, that data is private, but it isn’t necessarily secure. Encryption alone isn’t enough to prevent an attacker from deleting the data or using a different encryption algorithm to render the data unreadable.

Data privacy vs. data protection

Data privacy and data protection are two very different things. Data privacy is all about guarding the data against unauthorized access, while data protection involves making sure your organization has a way of restoring its data following a data loss event. Despite these differences, data privacy and data protection are used together. Backup tapes are commonly encrypted to prevent unauthorized access to the data stored on the tape.

Data protection vs. data security

Data protection is very different from data security. Security is designed to thwart a malicious attack against your organization’s data and other IT resources, whereas data protection is designed to ensure your data can be restored if necessary. Security is usually implemented through a defense in depth strategy, meaning that if an attacker breaches one of your organization’s defenses, then there are other barriers in place to prevent access to the data. Data protection can be thought of as the last line of defense in this strategy. If a ransomware attack were to successfully encrypt your organization’s data, then a backup application can be used to recover from the attack and get all of the organization’s data back.

Tips for Data Privacy Best Practices

  • Utilize proper consent management when collecting data.
  • Store only essential information.
  • Don’t store data longer than necessary.
  • Understand individuals’ rights over their data under applicable laws and regulations.

Tips for Data Protection Best Practices

  • Back up essential data regularly.
  • Consider sending backed-up data to the cloud.
  • Consider backing up data in a different physical location from your company offices – a catastrophic event at your physical location could destroy both the original files and the backups.

Tips for Data Security Best Practices

  • Limit internal access to data.
  • Encrypt your data.
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi connections on your business devices.
  • Take extra precautions to guard against human error.

In conclusion, data privacy, data protection and data security are key concepts that are worth understanding. And although they are all intrinsically linked to one another, they embody entirely different ideas and techniques. Staying up to date on the best practices can help keep you and your customers safe from cyberattacks and data leaks. We advise you to surround yourself with stable, reliable and experienced IT partners. Do not hesitate to contact us for a collaboration. If you have any questions KJ Web Office is happy to help!

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