When it comes to the difference between data security and data privacy, it is important to remember that businesses implement data security policies so as to ensure data privacy. While they are symbiotic in nature, the difference between data security and data privacy is still very distinct.
What is Data Security?
Data security is the confidentiality, accessibility, and integrity of information through physical or computational means. It includes preventing unauthorized use through computer systems as well as controlling physical access. Executed data security policies and procedures protect information from those who would otherwise misuse it or access it unnecessarily. Data security safeguards information so that when the right people need it, they have access to it and confidently know that the data is dependable and without error. Companies oftentimes have data security plans in place which call for consolidating only pertinent information, protecting it, and eradicating any and all unneeded information.
What is Data Privacy?
Privacy is a matter of keeping information unavailable to those who shouldn’t see it. A business that holds private information needs to allow disclosure only to authorized parties. Improperly releasing private information may constitute a breach of contract or a violation of the law. Data privacy also applies to individuals; in many cases, they don’t want others to know about their activities, even when they don’t have “something to hide.” Some companies have misused consumer data by selling, renting, or sharing it without the customer’s approval, resulting in severe penalties enforced by the Federal Trade Commission — all because the company negated to ensure data privacy. There are legal obligations that companies need to meet when possessing sensitive and important information.
Data Security vs. Data Privacy
Companies need to protect data and ensure data privacy regulations with a data security policy because the information in question is of beneficial value to the business. Data security promises data privacy — but only if the entrusted employee(s) refuses to sell and misuse the data.
It’s up to every employee to protect information — regardless if there is a data security policy in place or not. Data privacy is something every employee should honor and protect, and together, great and honorable things can happen.
Security mechanisms can prevent access by unauthorized people, but they can’t completely prevent trusted people from misusing information.
Protecting privacy requires limiting the number of people with access, impressing them with the need to use the information properly, and establishing penalties for misusing it.
The US government’s HIPAA rules for health care include a Privacy Rule and a Security rule. The HHS website explains that “the Security Rule operationalizes the protections contained in the Privacy Rule” by addressing required safeguards.
Security and privacy, especially privacy in individual action, are sometimes conflicting goals. To access a system with security restrictions, users need to provide credentials, but that can require them to give up anonymity. In some cases, anonymous accounts can provide both privacy and security.
Protecting the security of information sometimes requires intruding on the privacy of people who are handling it. People who enter highly secure areas may be subject to questioning and searches. People who apply for high-security positions need to provide extensive personal information.
Michael Durante spent his teenage years into his early 20s climbing the ladder in a branch of a successful banking firm, starting as a teller and ending as a Sr. Branch Manager within 6 years. In 2003, he left the banking world to join his father and create TIE National, a telecom company 60 years in the making. Together, they grew the company from a two-man operation solely working on telephones to a multi-million dollar international business with employees in over a dozen states, covering everything from phone systems to cloud products and computer systems. You can find Michael on LinkedIn.