Data Privacy vs. Data Security

Data Privacy vs. Data Security

data privacy vs. data security
data privacy vs. data security

The terms “data privacy” and “data security” are sometimes used interchangeably. In reality, however, they are drastically different concepts with different applicable laws and procedures. Some overlap exists but is minimal. And today, we’re going to take a closer look at what separates data privacy from data security.

What is Data Security?

Data security focuses primarily on protecting information from threats caused by unauthorized access. People concerned with data security use tools such as antivirus software, firewalls, and user authentication to ensure that no one can view the data in question without permission. Often, these tools are paired with additional measures such as encryption to make the data useless even if it is stolen or compromised.

What is Data Privacy?

While data security enters the picture after data has been collected and stored, data privacy starts before any information is gathered. Data privacy focuses on ensuring that all information a business collects only what is necessary, and gathered according to applicable laws and the company’s privacy policies. Once the data has been collected, the focus shifts to only using that data in accordance with the customer’s wishes.

No one legal definition of data privacy exists. Each individual business is expected to interpret relevant privacy laws for each jurisdiction in which they do business and then create and follow their own privacy policy.

Where Do They Overlap?

Common sense data privacy practices often have implications for data security. Two huge aspects of data privacy are only providing data access to authorized users, and taking steps to ensure that those users don’t use the data for unapproved purposes. Compromising either one leads to security risks. An unauthorized user should not be allowed to use private data for unapproved reasons. The consequences could be as annoying as an email inbox full of spam, or as devastating as a drained bank account or stolen identity. Large breaches have resulted in significant harm to a company reputation and applicable fines and penalties.

Data Privacy vs. Data Security: How to Have Both

No one-size-fits-all solution exists to ensure that your company honors both data privacy and data security. However, taking the time to understand and honor your customers’ requests for the usage of their data is an excellent first step. Not only will this help you keep in compliance with data privacy laws, but when done correctly, it can also reduce the impact of unauthorized access. Collecting only the data that is required and using it only as permitted leaves fewer chances for something to go wrong.

Ready to start tracking customer consent and improving your data privacy and data security strategies at the same time? Get in touch with us today to learn more and request a demo of 4Comply, our state-of-the-art, SaaS-based consent management software.