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  • BTI Communications Group

Full Guide: A Closer Look at Data Privacy vs Security


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Protecting your data has never been more crucial. The increasing amount of information collected and stored by organizations demands a strong data protection strategy. Safeguarding confidential information is not only important for your business but also vital for maintaining trust with your customers.


The terms data privacy and data security are often used interchangeably, but in reality, there are 2 different concepts you need to understand to ensure that your data is safeguarded and protected.


According to Statista, just in the first quarter of 2023, more than six million data records were exposed worldwide through data breaches! Even though the numbers have significantly reduced when compared to previous years, if you do not have data privacy and data security measures in place you could become a part of the statistics.

In this blog, you will learn what data privacy is and what data security is, the difference between both concepts, what are the main challenges businesses and users face when trying to protect sensitive information, and more.


Let us get right in!


Table of contents


What is Data Privacy?

Data privacy (also known as information privacy) is the policies, procedures, and regulations that ensure that your data is responsibly handled. These regulations determine:

  • How your information should be stored

  • How your information should be processed

  • How you information should be distributed

What Are Data Privacy Regulations?

Any organization that collects and stores sensitive data needs to comply with several privacy regulations to ensure their business complies with international, local, and industry-specific laws. Some examples of these regulations are:


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs the collection, storage, and processing of personal data of individuals within the European Union (EU). It empowers data subjects with the right to control their personal data. GDPR compliance ensures the protection and privacy of EU data subjects' information.


National Data Protection Laws

Various countries, including Canada, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and more, have implemented comprehensive data protection laws. Notably, Brazil's General Law for the Protection of Personal Data and the UK's Data Protection Act bear similarities to the GDPR.


California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

The CCPA requires that consumers be made aware of what personal data is collected and gives consumers control over their personal data, including a right to tell organizations not to sell their personal data.


Industry Specific Guidelines

In some countries, there are industry-specific privacy guidelines. For example, in the United States, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) governs the handling of personal healthcare data.


However, privacy advocates argue that individuals lack adequate control over their personal data. This may lead governments worldwide to pass additional data privacy laws in the future.


What’s the Goal of Data Privacy Regulations?

Data privacy regulations not only shield and elevate consumer and personal privacy, but they also empower individuals by granting them the right to understand the who, what, and why of data collection and processing.


With data privacy regulations on the rise worldwide, staying compliant is more crucial and challenging than ever. Failure to adhere to these laws can have dire financial consequences. In fact, Google had to pay a hefty $57 million fine in 2019 due to non-compliance with the European Union's GDPR law.


Headline in the NY Times about Google being fined for breaking GDPR compliance.

Why is Data Privacy Important?

Your personal data is valuable and it's your right to determine who gets access to it and how it's used. When companies collect your data, it becomes their responsibility to safeguard and protect it. This means keeping it from being sold or shared with third parties without your consent.


Not having a privacy policy in place or failure to comply with privacy laws can lead to serious consequences, apart from legal actions and financial loss.


Infographic about revenue loss due to data breach.
Image by CNBC.com

What is Data Security?

Data security is the complete protection of your digital information from unauthorized access, corruption, or theft. It involves safeguarding every aspect of information security, from the physical security of your hardware and storage devices to the administrative and access controls.


It also encompasses the logical security of your software applications and the implementation of strict organizational policies and procedures.


Image by Freepik.

Data Security Best Practices

To keep your data safe and protected from threats you must implement data security best practices. The main types of data security practices that your organization must implement are:


Data Encryption

Data encryption is the practice of using algorithms to transform and hide data and its true meaning. Encrypted data is usually known as ciphertext or while unencrypted data is known as plaintext. Data encryption is one of the most popular and effective data security measures you can adopt so if your organization is not leveraging data encryption to safeguard your sensitive data, it's time to do so!


Data Eradication & Deduplication

Data erasure is the practice of eliminating data that is no longer needed or useful from your systems. On the other hand, data deduplication is the practice of eliminating duplicate data that can be found on your network.


Data erasure will allow you to remove the chances of a data breach occurring while data deduplication will ensure that your systems continue working at their maximum capacity.


Data Backups

Data backup refers to the process of creating and storing copies of important data to protect it from loss, corruption, or accidental deletion. Creating data backups regularly allows you to have access to your sensitive information even when a breach, natural disaster, or other digital threats occur.


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Image by Freepik.

Conducting Risk Assessment

Implementing IT risk assessments is the practice of understanding, managing, controlling, and mitigating cybersecurity threats that could damage your business infrastructure. Risk assessments will help your organizations prevent and identify potential threats, increase the efficiency of your cybersecurity measures, and make better-informed decisions.


Real-Time Alerts

Identifying security threats can take longer than expected. According to IBM, the average business takes 9 months to identify a data breach! Real-time systems and data monitoring technology are game changers when it comes to quickly detecting breaches because they help you prevent data destruction, loss, alteration, or unauthorized access to personal data.


Be Aware of Data Security Risks

Cybersecurity threats continue to evolve as bad actors become more intelligent and adept. With time, cyber-attacks have grown in sophistication and effectiveness. Some of the main data security risks you will encounter are:


Accidental Data Exposure Due to Human Error

According to a Verizon 2023 data breach report, 74% of data breaches involve the human element. Data breaches can occur not only through hacking but also due to accidental or negligent actions by employees.


Sensitive information can be lost, shared, or accessed by unauthorized individuals. Mishandling or losing data can happen when employees are unfamiliar with their company's security policies. Practices like the creation of comprehensive security policies and employee awareness training can drastically reduce the chances of human error inside your organization.


Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are a common tactic used by cybercriminals to trick users into revealing sensitive information or login credentials. They typically involve sending deceptive messages through email, SMS, or instant messaging that appear to come from trusted sources.


These messages often contain harmful links or attachments that can lead to the download of malware or the visitation of spoofed websites.

The consequences of falling victim to a phishing attack can be severe. Attackers can gain unauthorized access to personal devices, compromise sensitive data, and even infiltrate corporate networks.


To make matters worse, hackers use social engineering techniques to manipulate victims and coerce them into divulging confidential information.


Screenshot of a Social Engineering attack through Gmail.

Malware

Malicious software, commonly known as malware, is often distributed through email and web-based attacks. Cyber attackers leverage these malicious programs to infiltrate computers and corporate networks by exploiting vulnerabilities in software, including web browsers and web applications.


The consequences of malware result in:

  • Data security breaches

  • Data theft

  • Extortion

  • Network damage

  • & more!


Animated visual representation of a malware attack.
Image by Freepik.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that infects networks and devices and encrypts the data on them making it “hostage” and forcing business owners to pay ransom “in exchange” for the stolen information.


Most of the time hackers do not return the information upon payment and even if they do, your information will most likely be sold on the dark web too.


3d illustration of a laptop blocked by a ransomware attack.
Image by Freepik.

Why is Data Security Important?

Data security is crucial to ensure the safety of your and your client's sensitive data. Safeguarding customer and user data is a vital legal responsibility for organizations and failing to do so can drastically harm your company reputation, risk of financial losses, fines, damage repairs, legal payments and more!


Total of monetary damage reported by cybercrime from 2001 to 2022
Image by Statista

Data Security vs Data Privacy, What's The Difference?

Data Privacy and data security have distinct concepts but are closely related. Achieving data security does not ensure data privacy and vice versa, but both are required to establish a comprehensive data protection strategy.


In simple terms, data privacy is taking the right steps to ensure your information is protected. Storing devices like your laptop in safe places where only you have access to can be considered a form of data privacy.


Data security on the other hand is having the right security measures to ensure that your data can’t be accessed by unauthorized individuals; for example, having a safe password on your laptop can be considered a form of data security.


Using CaaS (Compliance as a Service) to Achieve Data Privacy and Security & Compliance

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


BTI’s compliance as a service (CaaS) allows you to forget about industry compliance while our experts take care of your specific safety and industry compliance needs and requirements to ensure that your organization and data are safe 24/7/365.


Do you want to learn how you can achieve and maintain compliance with data privacy and security? Contact us today.



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