What is more important to you, privacy or security?
Most businesses face an important fork in the road these days — adapt or disappear. In other words, adapting to the newest technologies is necessary for staying competitive in pretty much any industry and any market. Plus, the coronavirus pandemic has ushered in the age of digitization at an unprecedented pace; most consumer-facing companies have realized the need for a strong online presence.
But that brings a lot of details that aren’t simple to understand for non-tech-savvy people — let alone properly manage. Indeed, words like “data security” and “data privacy” get thrown around a lot, especially by people providing IT services — but while they may seem interchangeable, they’re actually two quite different things. That’s why we’re going to explain the basics of both data privacy and data security for your business, and help you set your priorities straight!
The major differences
If you’ve ever written a diary as a teenager, you may have already familiarized yourself with the concepts of data privacy and data security without even knowing it. So, a friend secretly reading your journal has violated the fundamental concept of data privacy — they’ve learned your information (or, in other words, data) without your consent.
On the other hand, if you write your secrets in a notebook that’s got “Dear Diary” on its cover and leave it open for someone to read — you’re definitely not paying attention to data security, because you’re basically leaving your data out in the open.
Of course, data security and data privacy failures can cost you a lot more in the world of business than in a teenage friendship. Especially today, when you’ve got more cybersecurity threats than ever before, and data privacy concerns cropping up just as fast.
That’s why legislations are bringing forth new data privacy regulations all the time — from the California Consumer Privacy Act to the General Data Protection Regulation of the EU. And not complying with them can be quite costly. Though, a failure in compliance may mean less of a business interruption than with ransomware cyberattacks.
Data security and data privacy challenges require different tools and processes, although they are mutually dependent — but unfortunately, too many business managers and owners aren’t aware of these things.
From a business standpoint, data privacy concerns the kind of personal data that a business can and can’t gather or ask for from its users — especially online.
With that in mind, data privacy regulations prescribe how a business entity can control, share, store, and collect sensitive data. This pertains to the personal information about individuals — and the PDPA, GDPR, and other regulations generally have a similar definition of the scope of data we consider “personal”. Someone’s mailing address and full name are personal data, and the same goes for online browsing histories — in some cases. That’s why websites need to ask for your permission to store cookies and use them to track your browsing habits first.
This is where the waters get murkier, as different regulations get into a different level of detail with data privacy regulations. For some legal jurisdictions, data privacy laws include everything from biometric data to political affiliations of Internet users — providing strict requirements on how this data can be processed.
While data privacy pertains to individuals’ personal data — data security practices are there to ensure that a company can protect all of this personal data from corruption or unauthorized access in practice. Indeed, proper data security is needed to ensure that you’re respecting data privacy regulations as well.
And it pertains to who authorized users are, how you’re storing all of the data, its level of encryption, etc. So, it’s technically possible to have a great data privacy standard in theory — without actually achieving it in practice due to bad data security.
This is an important topic for Internet users and those who’d like to do business in the 21st century — and if you’d like to learn more about this, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions! We’d be more than happy to help.