Data protection, data security, data privacy: Understanding the difference for better cybersecurity strategy planning

“Data is the new oil”. The phrase was coined in 2006 by Clive Humbly, a British mathematician and data science entrepreneur.

Years on, this metaphor only becomes more and more relevant, with data of all kinds being collected by different entities, right from online delivery platforms to institutionalized banks and even the government. However, not only do legitimate companies collect your data; it is also being mined and sold on the dark web, to any entity with mercenary or malicious intent. These data breaches could have serious consequences for individuals and organizations, from identity theft and financial losses to penalties for non-compliance and reputation or brand loss.

It is no wonder that many organizations are now investing in cybersecurity to ensure data protection, data security and data privacy.

Though there are certain overlaps, data protection, data security and data privacy are different. Here are the broad definitions:

·      Data protection is the process of safeguarding important information aiming to minimize business loss by guaranteeing data integrity and availability.

·      Data security means handling data with respect for confidentiality and anonymity.

·      Data privacy, also known as information privacy, is determining the nature of data that can be shared with others.

The threat to data is omnipresent. Threats could come in the form of hacking, phishing and even identity theft. A minor breach could have devastating effects, mainly due to the constantly increasing quantity of data being collected and stored.

Data protection

Several organizations that have invested in cyber security and data protection swear by the CIA triad model, which was originally developed to help organizations with a holistic approach to data protection, preventing data breach and extraction through unverified access. The three elements of data protection, as per this model, are:

data protection security privacy

·    Integrity – All the stored data is reliable, accurate and not prone to unjustified changes.

·      Confidentiality – Only those authorized are able to access the data.

· Availability – The stored data is accessible and available when needed

Data security   

Securing the data that has already been collected from any sort of theft, unauthorized access and corruption is the essence of data security. Apart from physical access to storage devices and other hardware, security also includes digital access, along with a host of regulations, procedures and rules.

Data protection strategies are a combination of data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity techniques, including cyber security management, ransomware prevention, etc. This can be achieved by putting in place different kinds of data security controls.

Let’s take a look at some of the different data security controls:

·   Access control: Securing the data by limiting access, both physical and digital.

· Authentication: Access only after authentication, such as passwords, PINs, biometrics, etc.

·  Backups and Disaster Recovery: Creating copies of the data and storing them separately to be accessed in cases of emergency caused by breach, data corruption, system failure, etc.

· Data Erasure: After analysis and processing, deleting data that is no longer needed or relevant.

·    Data Masking: Using special software to mask data. Only when the data is accessed by an authorized person is the data revealed in its original state.

· Data Resilience: By incorporating resilience into both hardware and software, data loss and breach can be prevented.

·    Encryption: Using algorithms to convert characters into illegible formats. The data will be revealed in its original state only if accessed by an authorized person.

The data protection strategies and the various security controls are essential in case of media failure or failure of the storage device, data corruption, or failure at the data center.

Data privacy

Access is the main feature of data privacy. Who has access control and what can be shared with third parties is the essence of data privacy?

Data privacy is different from data security. While data security protects the data from being corrupted or misused following a breach, data privacy is all about how the data is collected, shared and used.

Data management systems

For proper data protection, data security and data privacy, robust data management systems and data infrastructure is key. The data management system, which takes into account the existing data and space to store more data, and the data infrastructure should have three key features:

·  It has to allow one to retrieve data within a reasonable timeframe.

·  Must be robust with extensive data applications to prevent data loss or data corruption.

·  Should be cost-effective.

It is important to understand the nuances and differences between data protection, data security and data privacy for robust cyber security planning. This is essential as it will help organizations discover data vulnerabilities, and secure data to prevent a breach or unauthorized access, while also simplifying regulatory compliances.

Secure your data with Entersoft

Entersoft, a leading application security provider, has helped over 450 clients across 15 countries in the world. Its future-ready solutions are helping fintech, blockchain, cloud, web/mobile app, and IOT businesses keep up with the changing technology landscape by assessing security risks, monitoring for threats and safeguarding applications against compliance issues.   

Entersoft’s approach is a combination of offensive assessments, proactive monitoring and pragmatic managed security that provides highly cost-effective and reliable solutions.

Apart from offering consulting services, Entersoft specializes in Threat Intelligence and Cybersecurity Advisory.

Under Threat Intelligence, Entersoft offers Bug Fixing Assistance, Anti-Phishing, Dark Web Monitoring and Hackfests. Under the Cybersecurity Advisory, Entersoft uses its Application Security Quotient to ascertain how well protected an organization is from risks and threats by providing a continuous evaluation, and integrating right tools and processes for long-term, proactive security. As part of Devsecops, a systematic approach is taken to reduce risks and build a system that is agile, and high on performance and security. Entersoft also helps with Compliance Management by supporting organisations in choosing the right compliance standards for their industry and business.