The Importance of Data Privacy

You may have heard people talking about how data can be considered the new oil, and it’s true that it is fueling an ever-increasing number of companies. Things like automated marketing messaging, personalized customer experiences, and insights driven by science all depend on not just how much information you have but the quality of it. Businesses remain eager to gather information, and this is understandable. Alternatively, legislators seem keen to protect the safety and privacy of their constituents.

Regulation Requests

Companies often face many challenges as they strive to comply with regulations regarding data privacy. In California, for example, they may frequently have to deal with CPRA requests. Regulations such as this demand that there be strict access controls in order to protect personal data that may be sensitive.

Data Privacy – What Is It?

When you hear or see the term ‘data privacy,’ it typically refers to how critical personal information is handled. This information is also called PIN, or personally identifiable information, and PHI, personal health information. It can include things like social security numbers, financial data (including credit card and bank account numbers), and health records. As far as businesses go, this could also include things like financial information, development data, and proprietary research.

Its Importance

Privacy matters, whether you know it or not. If things like healthcare information, financial data, and other user or commercial data get into nefarious hands, it can lead to a dangerous situation. Not having access control when it comes to personal information can leave people at risk for identity theft and fraud. At the government level, it can risk an entire country’s security. In a business, it can leave your proprietary information vulnerable to your competitors.

This is why there’s a need for data protection laws. Most of our lives happen online, which makes cybersecurity paramount.

Data Security vs. Data Privacy

Businesses might use terms like ‘data security’ and ‘data privacy’ interchangeably, but they’re actually different things. Data privacy refers to a branch of information security that mainly deals with how that information is handled. It has to do with things like how data is handled and revolves around issues such as data collection, consent, and regulatory compliance.

Data security mainly concentrates on how to keep that data safe from hackers. It deals with the actions and processes that keep information protected from corruption and unauthorized access throughout the entire life cycle of the information. These threats can be either internal or external. IT teams might have a massive arsenal of defense, such as tokenization, encryption, hashing, and others to protect the information across platforms and applications.

Sensitive Data and Data Breaches

A data breach can be defined as an unintentional or intentional release of confidential information that results in it being exposed to an environment that isn’t trusted. Other common names for this include information leakage, unintentional information disclosure, data spill, and data leak.

Breaches of information can happen in a variety of contexts and ways, from malicious attacks done by foreign governments, political activists, or criminal hackers to careless processing when people dispose of data storage media or computer equipment.

Most jurisdictions have instituted notification laws for data breaches that require businesses that have experienced a data leak or breach to inform people who’ve been affected by it. The CPRA, HIPAA, and others are examples of this type of law. They’re meant to prevent data breaches and regulate data privacy.

It’s imperative that your business use firewalls to restrict access to your systems, and each system should have its own specific firewall security group based on the function of the system. No one beyond your staff should have access to your operating system, which should require a minimum of a username and password to get into it. These are the basic measures if you want to keep your data safe.