Data privacy vs. data protection

If your organization handles employee, customer, user, or shareholder data, you'll likely have already heard about the importance of data privacy and data protection. However, you might not know how these terms differ or why they're so crucial to your organization's success. When you want to protect your data from bad actors and ensure authorized users have access to key information, you can benefit from knowing the differences between data privacy and data protection and the ways they benefit each other. 

Find out more about data privacy and data protection, why they're important, and how you can effectively implement them in your business.

What is data privacy, and why is it important?

Typically, organizations use data privacy — a guideline for data handling and collection that considers the data's sensitivity — to control who has access to personally identifiable information and personal health information. Common elements that fall under data privacy guidelines include birthdates, names, social security numbers, financial information, contact information, and medical information.

It's essential for organizations, as you'll likely receive sensitive, personal information from your shareholders, customers, and employees. Since an organization has a responsibility to protect the private information of various parties, you must ensure data is only available to approved parties. Additionally, data plays a significant role in your ability to develop as an organization, review your finances, and perform various operations. Because that information must be accessible to key staff members, data privacy helps determine who can legally view and use it.

Essentially, data privacy is vital to many organizations, as it ensures only approved parties have access to sensitive information and data. By having more robust data privacy, your organization can prevent criminals from accessing and using data for malicious purposes. If you know who exactly has access to your data, you'll be able to pinpoint errors when an issue occurs.

Besides protecting organizations from criminals, data privacy also plays a crucial role in your organization's regulatory compliance. When an organization doesn't comply with data privacy laws and guidelines, this conduct can result in fines and loss of credibility among the public. By following data privacy guidelines, your company can protect its brand and avoid costly fines.

What is data protection, and why is it important?

Data protection - Its purpose is to protect information from unauthorized access

Sometimes called information privacy or data security, data protection refers to the processes and strategies related to securing data's availability, integrity, and privacy. Essentially, data protection revolves around guarding your information and data against unauthorized access. With nine out of 10 organizations scaling their cybersecurity budgets in 2021, it's easy to see that safeguarding against hackers and other criminals is of the utmost importance.

Since data protection aims to secure an organization's data, it's crucial for any organization that stores, collects, and handles sensitive information. When your organization has an effective data protection strategy, you can prevent data theft, corruption, and loss. A successful data protection strategy also helps minimize harm whenever a disaster or breach occurs.

What is the difference between data protection and data privacy?

Often, you'll see data privacy and data protection used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings you should be aware of to fully protect your company. While data protection focuses on preventing unauthorized access, data privacy is geared toward ensuring authorized access, with much of it coming down to determining who has legal access to the data. As a result, data protection is much more technical, and data privacy is more policy-focused.

7 differences you should know about data protection vs. privacy

By knowing the difference between privacy and protection you can ensure not to overly rely on one over the other

Suppose your organization is trying to implement data protection and data privacy protocols and strategies successfully. In that case, you can benefit from knowing some of their primary differences and learning more about how they work in tandem. As you better understand the differences between data protection and privacy, you can ensure you don't overly rely on one over the other. Alongside more information on their differences, you can use primary facts about protection and privacy to guard your organization better.

Some of the main differences between data protection and data privacy can be found below:

1. Data protection and privacy have different responsibilities

If you're interested in adding data protection and data privacy, it's crucial to understand the responsibilities of both. The latter is responsible for meeting various regulations set by the industry or government, protecting your company from legal trouble. Alongside data privacy's role in guarding against legal risk, it also clarifies policies about data's use when it's shared with your organization. 

While data privacy is responsible for policies and regulations, data protection establishes mechanisms that guard data. These mechanisms often include procedures and tools designed to enforce various regulations and policies. With data protection in place, your organization will have the tools you need to prevent bad actors from accessing and using data.

2. Having data protection doesn't guarantee data privacy and vice versa 

Both data privacy and data protection are necessary to secure your data

Putting a data protection plan in place doesn't guarantee you'll have data privacy. Likewise, strong data privacy protocols won't guarantee you'll have effective data protection. For example, you could put in place data privacy guidelines and still struggle to block unauthorized users from accessing your data due to a lack of data protection protocols. Furthermore, you might also have data protection protocols but leave your sensitive information vulnerable to unauthorized users due to a lack of data privacy standards.

Since you can't have one without the other, you need data privacy and data protection to secure your data. By using both, you can put in place the technical and legal controls required to guard data from bad actors.

3. Data protection and privacy have differences in safety goals

Note that data privacy and data protection give your organization different types of safety. Since data privacy regulates who has access to your organization's data, it protects data from being sold or shared by a bad actor. This safety from sales comes down to ensuring only trusted users have access to data. Because the selling of data can be very profitable and can often come from an internal threat, such as a disgruntled employee, data privacy policies are essential.

While data privacy provides greater safety against unauthorized sales, data protection focuses on providing safety from hackers. It puts in place the tools and procedures needed to stop hacks from compromising data security. By knowing the types of safety you'll receive from data privacy and protection, your organization can better set up the appropriate policies for how to deal with the many kinds of data intrusions that could affect information safety.

4. Organizations should question data privacy requirements before implementing data protection protocols

Start with looking into your data privacy needs to achieve appropriate data protection standards

Before your organization puts any data protection protocols in place, you must evaluate what data you'll need to gather from your customers or users. Whether your organization collects payment, proprietary, or personal identification information, data protection concerns come after data privacy concerns. Since data protection focuses on data that's already been collected and stored, you first have to evaluate the data you want to gather initially.

As your company looks to create data protection protocols, you can begin by questioning what data you need to gather and what you can dismiss. By starting with your data privacy needs, you can set up more appropriate data protection standards. As a result, your organization can save time by not wasting it on unneeded protections and can make your required data security mechanisms more effective.

5. Organizations must have security to protect their privacy

When your company gathers data from your users and customers, you can't put data privacy protocols in place and expect it to secure data. Since data privacy usually only covers how organizations can lawfully collect data and what they can do with it after it's been stored, it doesn't do much to secure the information your organization gathers. 

Due to data privacy's lack of control over information security, responsible organizations must also have data protection. With data protection mechanisms in place, your organization can stop bad actors from unlawfully accessing data. The symbiotic relationship between data privacy and data protection means that for true data privacy, your organization must also have data security.

6. Companies are responsible for protection, while users are responsible for privacy

Users control what your data they are sharing and who they are sharing it with

When your organization collects data from your users and customers, you need to know who's responsible for controlling data privacy and data protection. During the collection and storage of data, users are often in control of data privacy while organizations maintain data protection. Since users typically control what data they're sharing and who they're sharing it with, they have a significant role in data privacy. 

Though users play a significant role in data privacy, your organization is primarily responsible for protecting the data users have shared with them. Since users will often indicate the level of security they want over their data, your organization must then put in the appropriate data protection mechanisms required to meet those security expectations. If your organization meets those responsibilities, you can avoid facing legal problems and credibility issues.

7. Who organizations plan to give data access to differs from who can actually access the data

When you're trying to differentiate data protection and data privacy, it's crucial to understand that data privacy focuses on determining who should or shouldn't be authorized to access data. As your organization determines who should be permitted to access information, you'll change your data privacy standards. Though deciding who should be authorized to access data is essential, this measure won't fully protect information from unauthorized access.

Since data privacy doesn't fully protect information from unauthorized parties, data security is the essential next step. Essentially, data privacy sets the standards for access, and data security makes it possible for those standards to be enforced.

Tips for implementing data privacy and data protection

Since data privacy and data protection go hand in hand, you likely want to implement them properly at your company. Review some of the primary tips for implementing effective data privacy and data protection standards below:

1. Professional expertise is a must

Turn to IT professionals and data security experts to build a data privacy solutions

Before your organization establishes data privacy and data protection standards and mechanisms, it's essential to work with people who have professional expertise in the field. Since adequate data privacy can help organizations avoid legal and credibility troubles, many organizations turn to experts to implement data privacy standards. For example, your organization might employ experts from fields such as policy, engineering, and law to create or check data privacy solutions.

Likewise, you can consult IT professionals and other data security experts to build your organization's data privacy solutions. Since data protection is necessary to protect critical information and your organization's operations, it's valuable to bring in these experts to ensure adequate security mechanisms. By turning to experts in data privacy and data protection, your organization can protect data in the most secure way possible.

2. Limit employee access to sensitive information and data

One of the primary causes of companies having data breaches and not meeting regulations is human error. Due to the risk of human error, it's often a good idea to limit employee access to sensitive data. When fewer people have access to your data, you'll face less risk from mistakes or improper use of information.

Of course, you'll still want to give employees access to the data they need to do their jobs. As you determine how much access you want to give to your employees, consider who requires different pieces of data and how you plan to monitor data usage. By only providing access to those who actually require your data and training your employees to handle it properly, you can reduce the risk of human error.

3. Automate as much as possible

Automated data classification helps you reduce your risk of errors

Besides limiting data access to reduce mistakes, you can also automate much of your data protection and privacy processes to lower the chance of human error. With a data privacy and data protection solution, it's simple to automate many of your security and compliance tasks. For example, automating your data classification processes can free up your staff for other functions and reduce classification mistakes.

Since it's not always easy for staff members to remember every regulation and compliance law they need to follow while conducting daily tasks, data compliance automation can make their jobs easier. As a result, your employees won't have to worry about meeting compliance standards so often and won't be put in a position where they're likely to make mistakes. In the same way, automated protection solutions can reduce the chances of data breaches and ensure various tasks get completed without error.

How Box supports data protection and privacy

At Box, we know that data protection and data privacy go hand in hand. Due to our expertise in data protection and privacy, we've developed the Box Content Cloud to give you the privacy and protection you require for safeguarding your data. If you're interested in knowing how our platform can provide greater data protection and privacy, you'll want to be aware of our security and compliance solutions and the Box Shield.

Learn more about Shield and our security and compliance solutions below: 

Security and compliance solutions

Features of security and compliance solutions - Easier compliance and government, individualized frictionless security, total control and visibility

Box's security and compliance solutions give users the chance to better secure their data. When your company works with Box, you can increase your data's privacy and protection by securing and governing your flow of information. Some of the top features of security and compliance solutions include:

  • Easier compliance and governance: Box Governance simplifies the process of meeting various global privacy and compliance privacy requirements. When you have your data on our platform, you can easily set adjustable data privacy policies that dispose of, preserve, and retain your content. With Box in your corner, you can more efficiently avoid fines and grow your brand's reputation as a responsible organization.
  • Individualized frictionless security: Box features built-in controls you can use to select who can access your data, allowing you to individualize your security controls for your company's needs. Some of these controls include rigorous user authentication and granular permissions. Alongside these controls, every file you add to Box is encrypted utilizing AES 256-encryption in various locations. Box KeySafe also improves your security by helping you better manage your encryption keys by giving you the ability to track their access and identify suspicious activities.
  • Total control and visibility: As you look to ensure all authorized users are using your organization's data appropriately, you need total visibility and control over it. Box gives you that visibility and control by letting you monitor how work occurs within and outside of your company. Besides monitoring, Box gives you complete audit trails, providing your team with greater insights and helping you take action when someone isn't using your data correctly. Box also features machine learning that you can use to guard against threats.

Box Shield

One of the major security products Box offers is Shield. This security product features data leak prevention, cloud security portfolio integration, automated classification, and intelligent detection. All of these features can help you improve your data security by giving you the tools you need to easily and effectively protect your information.

Some of the top features of Shield include:

  • Intelligent detection: Shield uses machine learning to provide users with accurate and timely alerts about malware attacks, insider threats, and account compromise. Key users can then evaluate these alerts to spot bad actors and take action. If these users aren't sure about a threat, they can send the alert information to other tools for more analysis. This process helps your security team make the most informed and effective decisions possible.
  • Data leak prevention: When you want to protect your data from data leaks, you need data protection controls. Shield places data controls near your content to stop leaks in real-time by allowing users to configure access policies quickly. Since Shield features a frictionless end-user experience, you can easily put policies in place that reduce data leakage and free up staff to do other work.
  • Automated classification: Shield allows users to classify content manually and automatically. Shield utilizes its powerful native capabilities to identify customer terms within files, personal identification information, and intellectual property, classifying those items based on the data policies you set. This automatic classification capability helps you save time and protect your data as your organization scales.
  • Cloud security portfolio integration: As you likely already have security tools in place, Shield ensures it can integrate with your current cloud security portfolio. With Shield, you can incorporate its alerts with your CASB and SIEM, giving you a more unified view. This integration allows you to add valuable alerts and controls to your overall security portfolio.

Learn more about what Box has to offer

Due to all the ways Box can assist with data privacy and data protection, you might be interested in learning more about what Box has to offer your organization. When you turn to our solutions, you'll receive precise control over access, data, and users to ensure your data is as secure as possible. Our solutions also help you effortlessly comply with regulatory requirements and receive complete lifecycle management and governance.

Find out more about what Box has to offer. If you have any questions or are ready to try Box, please feel free to contact us or register for a free trial.

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**While we maintain our steadfast commitment to offering products and services with best-in-class privacy, security, and compliance, the information provided in this blogpost is not intended to constitute legal advice. We strongly encourage prospective and current customers to perform their own due diligence when assessing compliance with applicable laws.

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