Data Security And Privacy | 4 mins read

Data Security and Privacy- What's the Difference?

data security and privacy whats the difference
Hanh Truong

By Hanh Truong

Cyber security has become increasingly important, especially with the growing use of technology to compile and manage company information. By following the proper steps to protect data, businesses can prevent harmful instances of cybercriminals stealing, leaking, or distorting confidential information.

While there are various approaches to ensuring network protection, data security and privacy are two main methods that many organizations focus on to safeguard sensitive information.

What is Data Security?

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Data security refers to the implementation of strategies and systems aimed at protecting sensitive information from cyber attacks, data breaches, and other instances of unauthorized access.

Data security methods also secure information from accidental and deliberate loss of original data. This is particularly important for technology that holds any confidential details like an organization's supply chain data or employee information.


The most common tools that can be used to promote data security are firewalls, multi-factor authentication, encryption, and resilient data systems. These methods will ensure authorized access to information.


Data security can also be achieved by implementing internal security monitoring, which would enable early detection of cyber threats and isolation of attacks to prevent further damage.


A key aspect of maintaining data security includes scheduling regular backups and storing copies of the data in separate and secured systems in case the original database is erased or tampered with. There should also be established plans that guide how the organization should function during a digital attack and how to recover from it.

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What is Data Privacy?

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Data privacy ensures that confidential information is responsibly collected, stored, and shared. This specifically concerns personally identifiable information (PII), which includes Social Security numbers, bank accounts, or personal health information. Protecting PII is highly important because there are financial and criminal liabilities that organizations can face if this form of data is exposed.

For example, in the United States, there are federal privacy laws that protect personal information, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This was created to protect patient's health information from being shared without their consent. Failure to comply with HIPAA would lead to fines or criminal charges.


Organizations can also encounter data privacy breaches, in which their trade secrets, financial service data, or business processes may be exposed. To promote data privacy, there should be established guidelines and policies that outline how information is compiled, where it will be stored, and how the receiving party will utilize it.


Employees that are handling sensitive information should be educated on the importance of data privacy and must be comprehensively trained on how to prevent and manage privacy issues. For example, businesses can de-identify sensitive data, which would make it difficult for cybercriminals to link information to a person, or keep the information in separate storage systems.

Data Security vs. Privacy

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While the two approaches both work to protect information, data security and privacy are two different concepts.

Data security encompasses the procedures and techniques used to protect sensitive information. For instance, a personal form of data security would be the password one uses to access their social media account.


On the other hand, data privacy is about responsibly using, collecting, removing, and storing data. Following the previous example, data privacy would be how the social media platform accumulates and uses the individual's data to manage their account.


For data privacy to work effectively, there must be data security to make sure that the information is protected.

Data Security and Privacy vs. Compliance

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There are various local and international regulations that have been put in place to protect data. Follow these requirements to establish and maintain data security and privacy-

  • The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
The PCI DSS is a set of security standards for organizations that accept and process card transactions, such as debit or credit card payments. Launched in 2006, the standards ensure security controls over how card and personal information is processed, stored, and shared.

  • The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Regarded as the most stringent privacy and security law, the GDPR was passed by the European Union to define what forms of data must be protected, whose data should be secured, and how protection and management of information can be carried out.

Any organization that uses data from EU citizens and those in the European Economic Area, such as Ireland and Sweden, must follow the GDPR.

  • The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
The CCPA regulates how data from California citizens is processed. Enacted in 2018, the legislation provides transparency for consumers, allowing them to see how their personal data is being used by organizations and remove certain information that was collected.

  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
HIPAA is a federal law that was created to protect patient health information. Due to the variety of physical and digital health care data, there are different measures of information security that medical officials must adhere to.

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Data security is an integral component of data privacy. By effectively approaching these strategies, protection standards can be upheld in compliance with important regulations.

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