Data protection is a set of strategies and processes you can use to secure the privacy, availability, and integrity of your data. It is sometimes also called data security or information privacy.
A data protection strategy is vital for any organization that collects, handles, or stores sensitive data. A successful strategy can help prevent data loss, theft, or corruption and can help minimize damage caused in the event of a breach or disaster.
For information about data protection in the cloud, refer to our guide: Data Protection in the Cloud: Challenges and Best Practices.
Data privacy is a guideline for how data should be collected or handled, based on its sensitivity and importance. Data privacy is typically applied to personal health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII). This includes financial information, medical records, social security or ID numbers, names, birthdates, and contact information.
Why is data privacy important?
Data privacy concerns apply to all sensitive information that organizations handle, including that of customers, shareholders, and employees. Often, this information plays a vital role in business operations, development, and finances.
Data privacy helps ensure that sensitive data is only accessible to approved parties. It prevents criminals from being able to maliciously use data and helps ensure that organizations meet regulatory requirements.
Data privacy is enforced by data protection regulations. Non-compliance may result in monetary fines or loss of brand authority. You can learn more about regulations in our article about Keeping Up with Data Protection Regulations.
Although both data protection and privacy are important and the two often come together, these terms do not represent the same thing.
One addresses policies, the other mechanisms
Data privacy is focused on defining who has access to data while data protection focuses on applying those restrictions. Data privacy defines the policies that data protection tools and processes employ.
Creating data privacy guidelines does not ensure that unauthorized users don’t have access. Likewise, you can restrict access with data protections while still leaving sensitive data vulnerable. Both are needed to ensure that data remains secure.
Users control privacy, companies ensure protection
Another important distinction between privacy and protection is who is typically in control. For privacy, users can often control how much of their data is shared and with whom. For protection, it is up to the companies handling data to ensure that it remains private. Compliance regulations reflect this difference and are created to help ensure that users’ privacy requests are enacted by companies.
When it comes to protecting your data, there are many storage and management options you can choose from. Solutions can help you restrict access, monitor activity, and respond to threats. Here are some of the most commonly used practices and technologies: