Data Privacy Versus Data Security: A Closer Look  | Spector

Data Privacy Versus Data Security: A Closer Look 

Data Privacy versus data security a closer look
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The importance of data privacy and data security has grown exponentially as organisations today collect and store more information than ever before. Having a robust data protection strategy is critical to safeguard confidential information and ensure the smooth functioning of your business. But before we move on, let’s take a step back to understand the fundamental concepts of data privacy and data security.    

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The terms data privacy and data security are often misunderstood and used interchangeably. However, they are two separate concepts! Data privacy focuses on how information is handled, stored and used, while data security is concerned with protecting your organisation’s assets. 

Understanding Data Privacy 

Data privacy deals with the regulations and practices to ensure data is responsibly handled. It includes how information is collected, processed, stored and disseminated. Any organisation that collects and stores data or does business across the globe should comply with several privacy regulations, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and other privacy laws.  

These regulations aim to protect and enhance consumer and personal privacy. These rules give individuals the right to know what information is collected, why it’s collected and how it’s processed. As data privacy regulations are growing globally and becoming more complex, privacy requirements are also changing. Non-compliance with these laws could cost your business dearly. In 2019, Google was fined $57 million under the European Union’s GDPR law. Click to learn more about penalties, fines and violations regarding compliance. 

Importance of Data Privacy 

Data privacy is an individual’s right to control who has access to personal information and how it should be used. This also protects personal data from being sold or redistributed to third parties. When organisations collect customers’ data, it is their responsibility to protect and preserve their clients’ sensitive information. Not having a privacy policy in place or failure to comply with privacy laws can lead to severe consequences, apart from legal actions and financial loss. 

Understanding Data Security 

Data security is the process of protecting information from unauthorised access, data corruption and data loss. A data security process includes various techniques, data management practices and technologies that act as defence mechanisms to protect data from internal and external threats.  

Read: Protecting your SaaS Data is your Responsibility

Data security concerns with what an organisation does with the data collected, where and how the data is stored and regulates who can access the information. A comprehensive data security strategy will help prevent data breaches, ensure business continuity and keep your company’s data safe from cyberthreats. 

Importance of Data Security 

The term “Data is the new oil,” coined by Clive Robert Humby in 2006, stands true in today’s competitive business environment. Data security is critical for the smooth functioning of day-to-day operations and running a business successfully. Failure to protect your organisation’s confidential data can damage your brand’s value, result in regulatory penalties or shut down your business.  

The alarming rate at which cyberattacks are growing has forced organisations of all sizes to consider data security as a top priority. It is estimated that organisational spending on cybersecurity has reached $123 billion in 2020.  

Depending upon the purpose, type of industry or geographical location, your business can implement security compliance frameworks and international standards, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). These frameworks provide guidance and best practices for information security to help you assess IT security measures, manage risks, respond to security incidents and improve your information security management system. 

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Difference Between Data Privacy and Data Security 

In simple terms, data privacy and data security are two sides of the same coin. They have distinct concepts but are closely related. Achieving data security doesn’t ensure data privacy and vice versa, but both are required to establish a comprehensive data protection strategy. Knowing the difference between these terms will help you strategise better, prevent data breaches and stay legally compliant. 

Let’s distinguish the two concepts with a hypothetical example. 

Assume you own a laptop, where you store personal information. To avoid people from accessing those files, you pasted a sticker on the cover that reads ‘Do Not Touch’. But to add an extra layer of privacy, in case people don’t read or ignore the sticker, you locked the computer with a secure password. 

There are two things to note here. First, the ‘Do Not Touch’ sticker tells people to keep away from your laptop, thereby authorising your privacy. Second, the password ensures no one can access your data, thereby protecting your data from unauthorised access. 

Find the best advice for creating strong passwords with this article.

How to Achieve Data Privacy and Security While Being Legally Compliant 

Achieving data privacy and data security and complying with several laws have their own set of challenges. Even large organisations struggle to understand and implement the proper security management and compliance measures.  

But that shouldn’t be the same for your business. To learn how you can achieve and maintain compliance for data privacy and security, contact us today.    


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