Skip links

Data protection vs data security vs data privacy

Data is one of your organisation’s most important assets, and it must be safeguarded accordingly. Because there are so many ways that an organisation’s data might be lost or compromised, it is critical to take a multi-pronged approach to safeguard it.

This refers to three critical areas: data protection, data security, and data privacy. 

Defining data protection, data security and data privacy

Data protection, data security, and data privacy are often used interchangeably, but there are important distinctions among them.

What is data protection?

The safeguarding of important data from corruption, compromise, or loss is referred to as data protection as well as having the capacity to restore the data to a useable state if an incident occurs to make the data inaccessible or unusable. 

Data protection guarantees that data is not corrupted, can only be accessed for authorised purposes and adheres to data protection regulations. Protected data should be available when required and usable for its intended purpose. Data protection requires the implementation of controls, policies and procedures to meet data privacy regulations. 

What is data privacy?

Also known as information privacy, data privacy refers to the correct collection, sharing, and use of sensitive data, which includes types of data such as personal information, financial data, and intellectual property data. The proper handling of this data is necessary to meet regulatory requirements and importantly to protect the confidentiality of the data. The most important aspect of data privacy is access control and managing who should and should not have access to data.

In Australia, the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) protects the handling of personal information about individuals by relevant organisations, known as the Australian Privacy Principle Entities. This includes the collection, use, storage and disclosure of personal information in the federal public sector and the private sector. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to all businesses that gather personal data from EU citizens.

What is data security?

Data or information security refers specifically to the measures and tools used to safeguard digital information from both internal and external malicious threats and accidental loss or theft. For data to be adequately secured, the IT infrastructure must be secure as well. If the IT environment is vulnerable or unsecured, it is very difficult to ensure the safety of the data it contains. 

There are many security measures and data security tools to ensure data is secure. An example of such a measure is multifactor authentication (MFA), which employs at least two methods to ensure the identity of a user before granting access to the data. For example, an MFA system might use a traditional username and password in combination with a code received via text message to the user’s smartphone. 

data security

What are the key differences?

Data protection can be said to be the overall term used for data protection, data security, and data privacy. While there is a certain overlap between the three, there are also some key differences:

Data protection vs data security

Data protection is distinct from data security in that it ensures data can be restored if necessary, whereas data security is concerned with preventing malicious attacks on an organisation’s data and other IT resources.

A data security strategy protects an organisation from being breached through the use of a multi-layered approach, meaning that if an intruder breaches one of the organisation’s defences, there are still other barriers in place to prevent access. 

The last line of defence in this strategy is data protection. If an organisation’s data were to be successfully encrypted by a ransomware attack, a backup application could be used to recover from the attack and get the data back. 

Data security vs data privacy

An example of where data privacy and data security overlap is the use of data encryption to keep data private. For example, while encryption protects data, it can also be used as a data security tool. Only those with the proper permissions can access the data is what data privacy refers to. Data security, on the other hand, focuses on defending against malicious attacks. 

Data privacy vs data protection

Data privacy and data protection are distinctly different. Data privacy refers to preventing unauthorized access to data, while data protection is concerned with ensuring that an organisation can recover its data after a data loss incident. Due to these differences, data privacy and data protection are frequently employed together. For example, backup tapes are frequently encrypted to prevent unwanted access to the information they hold. 

Data protection governance and compliance with the experts

Data protection cannot be guaranteed by simply implementing one or more data security technologies. Rather, when creating data privacy protection guidelines for your business, you need to understand the type of information being collected, how it is being used, and what happens to it, alongside implementing robust data backup and recovery and adequate data security measures such as access control. The governance, risk and compliance consulting services offered by INTELLIWORX can ensure you minimise risk and maximise compliance across your IT environment. Get the best data protection, privacy and security advice today from INTELLIWORX.

This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.