Data Security vs. Data Privacy: What should you be concerned with?

Assaf Miron
Nov 22, 2022

Data trafficking for identity theft is rife. Approximately 82% of the web contains some form of third-party scripts, with over half tracking users. 2020 saw the sharpest rise in data theft for malicious use. Over 500,000 reported identity theft cases through digital channels in the United States. These thefts are often used to perform bank and credit card fraud, government and document fraud, and loan or lease fraud.

The average cost to a business through data breaches and privacy compromises has risen to an average of $1.59 million - with the average cost life cycle reaching an eye-watering $4.87 million over 200 days.

By association, data security begets data privacy. Here are the key differences and how they impact your business.

What is data security, and what should you be concerned with?

As the world becomes increasingly digitized, data security has become a top priority for businesses of all sizes. A data breach can have devastating consequences, including financial loss, damage to reputation, and loss of customer trust.

The average lost business opportunities sat at an estimated $1.59 million in 2021. 71% of data breaches were financially motivated.

Data security is the practice of protecting data from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. Here are some industry-standard ways of implementing data security.

Cloud data security

Cloud data security is protecting electronic data stored on a remote server. This is important because data in the cloud is often more vulnerable to attack than data on a local server. It's reported that organizations with more than 60% of their employees working remotely are more vulnerable and have higher reported data breaches. Managing data has become more chaotic with the increase in cloud data, making it hard to follow and protect managed, unmanaged, and shadow data. Sensitive data exists within cloud data stores, so it is imperative to be able to follow actual and potential data flows to protect the data.

Data encryption

Cloud data encryption involves encrypting data before it is sent to the cloud and decrypting it after receiving it. This is important because it helps to protect the data from being intercepted and read by unauthorized individuals. Based on research, only 5% of a company's folders are appropriately protected against unauthorized access.

Key management

61% of all breaches involve credentials being exposed. Key management is the process of generating, distributing, storing, and using cryptographic keys. It is a critical part of cryptographic operations, as the security of cryptographic keys directly impacts the security of the data they protect. 

What is data privacy, and what should you be concerned with?

Data privacy is the protection of personal data from unauthorized access or use. It is a broad term that covers a wide range of data, including but not limited to personally identifiable information (PII), health, financial, educational, and genetic information.

This is where data privacy laws step in.

GDPR and other data regulations

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new EU data protection law enacted on May 25, 2018. The GDPR replaces the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive. It strengthens EU data protection rules by giving individuals more control over their personal data and establishing new rights for individuals.

GDPR applies to any company that processes the personal data of EU citizens, regardless of where the company is located. Companies that process the personal data of EU citizens must comply with the GDPR unless they can demonstrate that they meet certain conditions.

In addition, GDPR requires companies to get explicit consent from individuals before collecting, using, or sharing their personal data. Companies must also provide individuals with clear and concise information about their rights under GDPR and ensure they can easily exercise their rights.

The GDPR is just one of several new data regulations introduced in the past few years. Others include the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the UK’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

PCI compliance and tokenization

As the world increasingly moves towards a digital space, businesses must take extra care to protect their customers' information. One way to do this is through PCI compliance and tokenization.

PCI compliance is a set of standards businesses must adhere to, to ensure the safety of their customers' credit and debit card information. 

Tokenization is one method of PCI compliance that can be used to protect this sensitive information.

Data tokenization covered approximately $1.9 billion worth of global financial-related data in 2020 and is projected to grow to $4.8 billion by 2025.

Data sovereignty as part of data privacy laws

Data sovereignty is the concept that data should be stored and managed within the borders of the country in which it was collected. This is especially relevant in today's digital age, where data is often stored in the cloud and managed by third-party service providers.

Data sovereignty laws vary from country to country, but they typically require that data be stored within the country's borders and subject to its laws and regulations. This can create challenges for companies that operate in multiple countries, as they must ensure that their data practices comply with all applicable laws. Through mapping and following data within your organization, you will have better visibility and protection across your data assets to prevent compliance violations.

Data privacy vs. data security

With the amount of information that is shared online, businesses must take steps to protect their customers' data. Data privacy is the process of ensuring that personal information is kept confidential and secure. Data security, on the other hand, is the process of protecting data from unauthorized access or theft.

Data privacy is a significant concern for businesses because they are responsible for collecting, storing, and processing customer data. This data can include everything from names and addresses to credit card details and social security numbers. If this data falls into the wrong hands, it can be used for identity theft or fraud.

42% of businesses store customer data in the cloud, suggesting that organizations also implicitly trust their cloud services to have controls and adequate sensitive data protection. However, misconfiguration accounts for 10% of all breaches, and more than 39% of web applications were breached due to this.

When data security is compromised, data privacy breaches are prone to occur.

Tips for better data security and data privacy

Data sprawl

Data sprawl is the uncontrolled growth of data beyond the boundaries of an organization. It is a serious problem that can lead to data breaches, loss of control over data, and decreased productivity. Here are some tips for better data security and privacy:

  • Establish a centralized repository for all data.
  • Implement security measures to protect your data.
  • Educate employees about data security and privacy.
  • Ensure third-party service providers have adequate security measures to protect your data.
  • Regularly review your policies and procedures related to data security and privacy.

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Prevent compliance violations

With the increasing amount of data being stored and shared, it is more important than ever to ensure that your data is secure and your privacy is protected. Here are some tips to help you prevent compliance violations:

  • Implement a security policy.

A security policy is a set of rules and procedures governing how your company handles data. It should include provisions for collecting, storing, using, and sharing data. Having a clear and well-defined security policy in place can help ensure that your company remains compliant with data privacy laws and regulations.

  • Encrypt your data.

One of the best ways to protect your data is to encrypt it. This means that even if someone were to gain access to your data, they would not be able to read it without the proper decryption key. There are many different ways to encrypt data, so be sure to choose a method appropriate for the type of data you are dealing with.

  • Use access controls.

Access controls help to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive information. There are many different types of access controls, so be sure to choose one that fits the needs of your business. Some common access control measures include user authentication, role-based access control, and least privilege principles.

  • Train your employees on data security and privacy policies and procedures.

When protecting your company's data, your employees are one of your greatest assets. Ensure they know your security policies and procedures and train them to properly handle sensitive information.

Protect Your Data with Polar Security

A sensitive data breach can cost your organization more than just the bottom line. A breach can have long-term adverse effects and implications on your users' trust - which ultimately underlines all business transactions.

Protecting sensitive data involves more than just putting processes and procedures in place. It requires awareness and consistent methods of tracking data as it moves through your pipelines.

You can't protect what you don't know. Polar's data security platform helps cloud companies uncover their sensitive data stores and classify them automatically and continuously.

Polar Security automates all the processes involved in protecting your data - from data mapping, to classification to tracking anomalous data movements.

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