Data Protection vs Data Privacy

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By SagheerAbbas

The damage caused by data breaches has increased due to advanced cybersecurity threats. People also expect businesses to secure the sensitive information they disclose with them as they are more conscious of the information they share with them. Companies have been investing in information security and data privacy standards as a result of these two trends.

Confusion over data protection and privacy has also resulted from the developments. Though they are not the same, the two ideas work well together.

Furthermore, knowing the distinction between data protection and data privacy is crucial because the two concepts are essential to adhering to various data processing and storage laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

This article will teach you how to create data security procedures that will enable you to keep one step ahead of hackers and will also assist you in differentiating between data privacy and data protection.

What Is Data Protection?

Data protection, also known as data security or information security, is the collection of policies, practices, and tactics designed to guarantee the accessibility, accuracy, privacy, and security of your data. The goal is to protect both your company’s internal data and the data of your clients.

Frameworks that offer data security solutions to secure Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and cardholder data include the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Various forms of data protection procedures are in place, contingent on the demands of different industry and governmental legislation.

What Is Data Protection?

Access Controls

A data protection policy’s initial component is data access and access controls specify which data may be accessed by whom. According to the Principle of Least Privilege (POLP), users should only be granted access to the information and tools required to do their jobs. This kind of data security safeguards access to endpoints and digital areas while restricting physical and digital access to vital systems and data.


Access controls are connected to authentication. It describes the process of accurately identifying network users before granting data access. Multi-factor authentication techniques are being used in place of strong passwords to lessen the possibility of unwanted access.

Backups and Recovery

Data availability is often referred to as data protection. In the event of inadvertent or deliberate data loss, an organization needs procedures in place to retrieve lost data. Backups are one of the best cybersecurity strategies to protect the availability of your systems and information after an attack, especially with the rise in ransomware assaults globally.


Your data will remain secure using encryption, even in the case of a breach or leak. Through the use of computer techniques, encryption turns data into a format that cannot be read unless the user possesses the necessary decryption keys. It is advised to use one-way encryption, such as hashing, to protect certain data types, such as Primary Account Numbers (PAN).

Data Resiliency

Data availability is supported by data resilience. Its procedures aim to keep your operating chain from being disrupted by power outages or natural catastrophes.

Data Deletion

Even in cases when information is no longer useful to an organization, data protection procedures are still required. Data erasure uses specialized tools to overwrite data in storage systems, removing information that is properly contained.

What Is Data Privacy?

The term “data privacy” describes people’s fundamental rights to their data. Companies’ corresponding answer to these rights is data privacy. It describes the area of data protection that is concentrated on appropriately managing sensitive data, particularly personal data.

What Is Data Privacy?

There are several regional and national data privacy laws, including the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), HIPAA, and the GDPR for EU individuals, despite the lack of worldwide data privacy standards.

Regulation observance isn’t the only aspect of data privacy. Additionally, adequate data privacy promotes consumer and company trust. In addition to penalties and other potential legal repercussions, the misuse of Protected Health Information (PHI) can destroy the reputation of data controllers and data processing firms.

Data Protection vs Data Privacy Differences and Similarities

Despite their similarities, the two ideas are not interchangeable. Refusing one of the two might place you in danger of cyberattacks or compliance with information privacy standards.

Broadly speaking, data protection carries out the enforcement of regulations established by data privacy. As such, the fact that one exists does not guarantee the other’s existence.

For instance, access control technologies are a prerequisite for the existence of data privacy rules to implement their goals. Restrictions on system access are also possible, provided they do not violate any particular data privacy laws.

Data protection is largely concerned with keeping threats out to secure enterprises’ assets. Data privacy, on the other hand, is concerned with the handling, processing, and storage of user data.

Common Challenges to Data Protection

The following problems are common for businesses when it comes to data protection:

  • Insufficient access controls: Data can become exposed to illegal access and cyberattacks if access to sensitive information is not suitably restricted by authentication and permission.
  • Weak passwords: Passwords that are easy to guess or repeat render accounts more vulnerable to hacking. Data security necessitates multi-factor authentication.
  • Failing to encrypt data: Sensitive data is safeguarded by encryption against virus infiltration and device loss or theft. Data security and privacy are jeopardized when information is not encrypted.
  • Lacking backups: Data loss due to ransomware, hardware failure, or accidents can be disastrous if adequate backups are not kept. The secret to protecting data is backups.
  • Poor key management: The protection of keys is necessary for encryption. Personal data is useless and unrecoverable when keys are lost.
  • Outdated security tools: With the emergence of new attacking techniques and weaknesses, security must always be updated. Weaknesses in legacy systems are common.
  • Insufficient monitoring: All systems and apps should be thoroughly monitored and alerted to any attempted assaults or data breaches.

Common Challenges to Data Privacy

Businesses looking to safeguard data privacy frequently run into issues with:

  • Obtaining meaningful consent: Following GDPR and other privacy rules, truly informed permission for data gathering necessitates transparent communication without legalese.
  • Honoring data access requests: As part of the GDPR’s data subject rights, organizations must be able to quickly locate and give people’s data upon request.
  • Retaining data only as long as necessary: It is difficult yet necessary to establish and abide by explicit data retention rules that are in line with legal standards.
  • Accurate personally identifiable information: Compliance problems may arise from the incorrect usage and management of data due to out-of-date or incorrect PII.
  • Protecting data in transit: When exchanging or transmitting sensitive information, encryption and access restrictions are crucial.
  • Vendor management: Companies are in charge of ensuring that vendors managing personal data adhere to GDPR and data privacy laws.
  • Data subject rights enforcement: To respect individuals’ rights under GDPR, scalable solutions for handling data deletion requests, opt-outs, etc., are required.
  • International data transfers: It is difficult to move personal data across borders securely and legally while adhering to the GDPR and other legal obligations.

Data Protection & Privacy Best Practices

To address issues with data security, companies should put best practices like these into place:

Inventory and Classify Data

All sensitive information and personally identifiable data should be kept up to date in an inventory kept by organizations. Sensitivity levels and the relevant protections outlined in privacy policies and data protection laws like the GDPR should be used to classify data. Just get the bare minimum of personal information required to reduce risks of unauthorized access and compliance requirements.

Protect Data Security

Put in place access restrictions that restrict sensitive data access to authorized users only. Make sure multi-factor authentication is enforced. As per cybersecurity best practices, encrypt personal data both in transit and at rest. When transferring sensitive data across borders, adhere to GDPR and data protection legislation by using permitted data transfer protocols.

Back-Up and Recover Data

Keep up-to-date backups of your personal information and important systems to facilitate recovery from disruptions or intrusions. For backups, use immutable object storage to prevent ransomware alteration. Backup data should be kept apart from live data and protected physically.

Update and Monitor Systems

Maintaining software updates helps to lessen security flaws that criminals may take advantage of. Keep an eye on systems, networks, and data access to spot any possible breaches or illegal access.

Retain and Delete Data

Create data retention guidelines that comply with CCPA, GDPR, HIPAA, and other legal obligations. When sensitive or personal data is no longer required for the intended purpose, securely destroy it.

Manage Vendors and Contractors

Verify the security protocols used by contractors and vendors to handle personal data to make sure they adhere to privacy laws. Contractually include data protection standards.

Train Staff

Regularly train staff members on privacy rules, secure data handling practices, social media usage guidelines, cybersecurity problems, and appropriate reactions to data breaches.

What Industries Need to Abide By Data Privacy or Data Protection Laws?

Numerous industries collect private client data. They must abide by rules protecting data privacy and security.

Health records are electronically stored by healthcare organizations such as hospitals and insurance companies. This is personal health information. According to legislation like HIPAA, they have to keep data secure.

Financial data about an individual’s finances is gathered by investment firms, credit unions, and banks. Credit cards, bank accounts, and Social Security numbers are all examples of this. Laws like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) require them to secure this.

When customers make purchases, both online and in-store retailers obtain their personal information. Following state legislation, PCI DSS, and privacy rules, they must protect data.

Schools and universities have access to student data, including grades and behavior history. This student’s info is confidential. They have to abide by privacy rules about education, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Phone and Internet providers have used logs and invoicing information on their customers. According to legislation like Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI), they must preserve privacy.

Government organizations that gather citizen data, such as IDs and medical information, are the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Laws like the Privacy Act require them to protect it.

Human Resources (HR) obtains confidential employee data. Financial and medical data may be included in this. HR is required by legislation such as HIPAA to safeguard this.

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