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Data Security vs Data Privacy - The Key Differences

July 2021
July 2021

Data privacy and security are things that must never be taken lightly, especially for those whose businesses revolve around the collection and managing of data. The digital world is filled with cyber attackers and will do whatever it takes to get their hands on collected information for various purposes, including selling them for profit.

Unfortunately, not everyone understands the big differences between data privacy and data security. Many assume that they pertain to the same thing, being two terms that people interchangeably use. This has caused plenty of problems for businesses implementing only one or the other, as it effectively compromises their data.

Are you trying to protect and secure your data from digital criminals? If so, understanding the difference between data security and privacy is a must! Here's all that you need to know about it:

The Main Differences Between Privacy and Security

The main differences between data privacy and security come in four things: what is being protected, how it is protected, who is protecting, and from whom it is protected.

With data security, the most significant focus is protecting data from unauthorized access from any party. This is typically done using various tools and technologies like firewalls and security patches that help to deter such issues from occurring. Other security practices also include encryption and tokenization, making it even harder for data to be stolen, let alone cracked if the code has indeed been compromised.

On the other hand, data privacy is all about dealing with how an organization carefully handles data in its processes. It may include informing individuals about how their data will be collected, how it will be used, and which parties may access it. The individual must agree to these terms, generally called terms of use, which will then permit the organization to use their data for the purposes dictated.

How Privacy and Security Differs in Actual Practice

From what we can gather so far, data privacy is less concerned about what we know as the definition of security. However, this does not make it any less critical. Properly setting up terms of use will help a business ensure that they do not end up in any legal mishaps by involving the individual's data.

If you have set up an agreement to only use a person's contact information for a specific app, for instance, make sure that you do not end up using other things like their photographs. If this was not stated in terms of use, you can find yourself in deep legal trouble.

Data security is all about protecting the data that you will be collecting. This is to ensure there will be no unauthorized access to the data that you are collecting and managing. A breach here will spell big trouble, simply because not only are you experiencing security failure, but you have also violated data privacy.


Now that you know the difference between data privacy and security, sit back and ask yourself, "Have I properly implemented both aspects to my business processes?" If you haven't, now is the time to start working on it. The digital world isn't as safe as you may realize.

That said, privacy and security can be difficult to implement, so we highly recommend working with vendors for the job. Data privacy and protection solutions are available online, and more often than not, they are provided by security experts who know what is needed to stay safe in this perilous business world.

Scaramanga is a Swiss-based consulting firm that offers data protection, security, and compliance consulting services. If you are looking for the best data protection solutions to keep your data secure and private, work with us today!