Advanced cybersecurity threats have heightened the harm of data breaches. At the same time, individuals have become increasingly aware of the information they share with companies, and expect organizations to protect that sensitive information. These two trends have led companies to invest in information security and data privacy practices.
The trends have also led to confusion about the difference between data protection and data privacy. The two concepts are complementary, but they’re not identical.
Moreover, since the two ideas are fundamental to comply with various data storage and processing regulations, such as the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), understanding the difference between data protection and data privacy is important.
This article will help you to distinguish between data privacy versus data protection, and learn how to develop a data security program that will allow you to stay one step ahead of hackers.
What Is Data Protection?
Data protection is the set of measures, procedures, and strategies developed to assure the availability, integrity, privacy, and security of your data; the concept is also known as data security or information security. The objective is to keep your data safe – both internal company information and your client’s personal data.
Frameworks such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) propose data protection solutions to safeguard personally identifiable information (PII) and cardholder data. Different types of data protection practices exist, depending upon the requirements of various government and industry regulations.
Data access is the first element of a data protection policy, and access controls define who can access what data. The principle of least privilege (POLP) suggests that users should only have access to the data and resources necessary for their job. This type of data security limits physical and digital access to critical systems and information and protects access to endpoints and digital spaces.
Authentication is related to access controls. It refers to the precise identification of the users of a network before allowing access to the information. Strong passwords are no longer enough to protect a network; multi-Factor authentication methods are now employed to reduce the risk of unauthorized access.
Backups and Recovery
Data protection also refers to data availability. An organization must have processes in place to recover information in the event of accidental or intentional data loss. With the increase in ransomware attacks worldwide, backups are one of the most effective cybersecurity practices to assure the availability of your systems and information after an attack.
Encryption can assure the security of your data even in the event of a data breach or leak. Encryption takes advantage of computer algorithms to transform any kind of data to an unreadable state, unless the user has the correct decryption key. One-way encryption, such as hashing, is recommended for safeguarding certain types of data, like primary account numbers (PAN).
Data resiliency supports the availability of information. Its practices seek to prevent power outages or natural disasters from interrupting your operational chain.
Data protection measures are necessary even when information is no longer useful to an organization. Data erasure takes advantage of specialized tools that rewrite the data in storage systems, to assure the proper elimination of the information contained.
What Is Data Privacy?
Data privacy refers to individuals’ fundamental rights over their personal information. For companies, data privacy is the corresponding response to these rights. It refers to the subset of data protection focused on the proper handling of sensitive data, especially personal data.
Although there are no international data privacy regulations, there are a variety of regional and national data privacy laws, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), HIPAA, and the GDPR for EU citizens.
Data privacy isn’t just about regulatory compliance. Effective data privacy also fosters trust between businesses and their customers. The harm of mishandling of personally identifiable information (PII) or protected health information (PHI) can be devastating to the reputation of data controllers or data processing companies, not to mention the fines and other legal consequences that can arise.
Data Protection vs. Data Privacy: Differences and Similarities
Although the two concepts are related, they are not interchangeable. Confusing the two can put you in non-compliance with information privacy regulations or at risk of cyber threats.
In general terms, data privacy focuses on creating policies; data protection enforces those policies. Consequently, the existence of one does not assure the presence of the other.
For example, data privacy guidelines can exist without access control tools to enforce their objectives. You can also have system access restrictions that don’t address the requirements of certain data privacy rules.
The goal of data protection is to safeguard the assets of businesses, so it is primarily concerned with keeping dangers out. On the other hand, data privacy is concerned with what happens to user data: how it is stored, processed, and transferred.
ZenGRC Helps Businesses Protect Their Data
Understanding how to safeguard personal data appropriately is complex. This is especially true in the United States, where privacy is protected by a combination of state and federal regulations. Regardless, your organization must still follow them all.
ZenGRC is governance, risk management, and compliance software that keeps up with evolving compliance rules in real-time, so you don’t have to. Quick access to information and a full view of control environments allows effective risk evaluation and management. As a result, your firm can achieve its cybersecurity requirements across a wide range of frameworks.
It is a single source of truth that assures your organization is always audit-ready. Policies and procedures are revision-controlled and easy to find in the document repository. Workflow management features offer easy tracking, automated reminders, and audit trails. Insightful reporting and dashboards provide visibility to gaps and high-risk areas.
Schedule a demo today to see how ZenGRC can assist you in achieving compliance.