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General Data Protection Regulation

Here you can find the official content of the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (General Data Protection Regulation) in the current version. All Articles of the GDPR are linked with suitable recitals.

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Data Privacy vs. Data Security [definitions and comparisons]

Data Privacy vs. Data Security

When it comes to data privacy vs data security, we frequently hear those terms used interchangeably. However, are these synonyms, or do they denote slightly different concepts?

We will try to untangle their distinctions, discover where they intersect, and make these critical concepts more understandable.

What is Data Privacy

There are various privacy definitions online, but at its core, data privacy or Information privacy revolves around the proper handling, processing, storage, and usage of personal information.

It is all about the rights of individuals concerning their personal information.

The most common concerns regarding data privacy are:

Privacy, in general, is an individual’s right to freedom from intrusion and prying eyes or the right of the person to be left alone.

It is guaranteed under the constitution in many developed countries, which makes it a fundamental human right.

What is Data Security

Data security is focused on protecting personal data from unauthorized third-party access, malicious attacks, and exploitation. It is set up to protect personal data using different methods and techniques to ensure data privacy.

Data security ensures the integrity of the data, meaning data is accurate, reliable, and available to authorized parties.

Data Security methods, practices, and processes can include:

  • Activity monitoring
  • Network security
  • Access control
  • Breach response
  • Encryption
  • Multi-factor authentication

Similarities between Data Security and Data Privacy

In short, data privacy and data security are not the same terms. Data privacy is about the proper usage, collection, retention, deletion, and storage of data. Data security combines policies, methods, and means to secure personal data.

So, if you are using a Google Gmail account, your password would be a data security method, while the way Google uses your data to administer your account would be data privacy.

The former can exist without the latter, but not vice versa. Data security is a prerequisite for data privacy. visual representation of data privacy and data security areas

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity, encompassing both computer and digital realms, entails a set of protective measures designed to safeguard our digital assets against potential threats, including human and technical errors, malicious actors, and unauthorized users.

However, not all information is digital. We still deal with paper documents, which hold valuable information worth protecting.

This is exactly where the term information security comes in handy, denoting the practice of preventing unauthorized access, use, disclosure, modification, or destruction of information in whatever form.

The three pillars of information security

  1. Confidentiality – prevents sensitive information from reaching the wrong people while making sure that the right people can use it;
  2. Integrity – maintains the consistency, accuracy, and trustworthiness of information over its lifecycle;
  3. Availability – ensures that the information is available when it is needed.

These are often referred to as the C-I-A triad, and they all have to be addressed to achieve a satisfactory level of information security.

Like many things in life, nothing is perfect. The same goes for security; there is no such thing as a 100% secure system. There are only acceptable levels of risk.

To secure information, organizations must first conduct a formal risk assessment.

The risk assessment will then be cross-referenced with the organization’s risk acceptance criteria (these are developed in line with the organization’s risk appetite and willingness to accept a predefined level of risk), and consequently, a risk treatment plan can be developed.

A risk-based approach to security entails selecting security controls only after a thorough risk assessment.

It makes sense when you think about it – it would be very difficult to justify spending 100 euros to protect an asset that only costs 10 euros.

What about Data Protection?

Assuming that we have done a decent job explaining data security and data privacy, you might be wondering about the term data protection and how it fits in here.

Data protection is essentially amalgamated security and privacy.

With each of the two dealing with its own set of challenges, when combined, it delivers protected usable data as a result.

As we’ve unraveled the distinctions and commonalities between these concepts, it becomes evident that they are not mere interchangeable terms but rather complementary forces.

The synergy of data privacy, focusing on individual rights, and data security, dedicated to fortifying against threats, forms the bedrock of robust data protection.

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