Data Protection and Privacy: What's the Difference?

People frequently confuse data security with data privacy, but these are two distinct but related concepts!

Privacy and the safety of sensitive information are severe concerns for any business that handles customer data, personal information, or anyone whose identity is associated with an extensive database.

These are the top three worries when it comes to safeguarding personal information, financial data, and medical files. Without them, hackers and other bad actors would have unfettered access to valuable amounts of sensitive information.

Understanding Data Privacy

Data privacy, also known as data governance, is concerned with managing private information. Different countries and states have different data privacy laws and regulations, with some having more stringent requirements than others.

Increasingly, governments worldwide realize that protecting citizens’ privacy by enforcing stringent regulations is mutually beneficial.


Understanding Data Security

In contrast to data privacy, data security concerns how information is kept safe from unauthorized access or disclosure. While implementing data security policies and procedures can lessen the likelihood of cyberattacks and accidental misuse, this is usually not enough to satisfy privacy regulators.

Data security refers to the measures an organization takes to safeguard its digital assets at every level, from individual devices and networks to the boundary walls of the business itself.


Top 6 Critical Distinctions Between Data Security and Privacy

Let’s say your company is working to protect sensitive information. If so, learn how the two components differ and complement each other. Understanding security and privacy basics can help you protect your business.

Here are some differences between data protection and privacy.

1. One Must Take Different Measures to Ensure Both Data Security and Privacy

Knowing who is responsible for what is essential if you want to implement data protection and privacy. The latter ensures that your business complies with all applicable industry and government standards, keeping it out of legal hot water. Data privacy protects your business from legal liability and makes your organization’s data use policies more transparent.

Data protection is concerned with safeguarding data, while data privacy handles the creation of policies and regulations in this area. Among these mechanisms are many different procedures and tools for enforcing laws and other policies. When proper safeguards are in place, malicious parties won’t be able to access or use your company’s sensitive information.

2. Data Privacy Cannot Be Assumed to Exist Without Data Protection and Vice Versa

While taking precautions to protect sensitive information is essential, it is not a guarantee of privacy. Even with stringent data privacy protocols, there is no guarantee that your data will be secure.

In the absence of data protection protocols, for instance, enforcing data privacy guidelines may prove futile in preventing access to your data by unapproved parties. Even if you have data protection protocols in place, you could still be leaving sensitive data open to access by third parties if you aren’t following adequate data privacy standards.

3. When It Comes to Security, the Objectives of Data Protection and Privacy are Not the Same

Data privacy and protection provide different types of business security. Data privacy controls who can see what in an organization, preventing sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. Limiting data access to authorized users is the key to protecting it from being sold. Data privacy policies are crucial because insider threats, like a disgruntled employee, can result in significant financial losses if they can sell sensitive company information.

Data protection is more concerned with keeping hackers out than preventing unauthorized data sales. The measures taken to avoid hacks from jeopardizing data security are implemented.

4. Before Implementing Data Protection Protocols, Organizations Should Question Whether or Not They are Required To Do So

Before implementing any data security measures, you should first determine what information about your clients or users you’ll need to collect. Concerns about data protection should be addressed second, after data privacy, regardless of whether your company contains payment, proprietary, or personal identification information. Since data security measures are applied to information after it has been gathered and stored, you must first assess the usefulness of that information.

Your company can start the process of developing data protection protocols by asking whether certain types of information are necessary or whether they can be ignored. The best data protection standards can be established by identifying and addressing your specific data privacy requirements. In this way, your business can save resources by avoiding ineffective data security measures and focusing instead on those that are truly necessary to safeguard sensitive information.

5. Privacy in the Workplace Requires Robust Security Measures

You can’t expect your company to secure the data it collects from its users and customers if it doesn’t have data privacy protocols before it starts collecting that data. While data privacy is essential, it doesn’t do much to protect your company’s data if it only addresses how it can legally collect data and what it can do with it after it’s been stored.

Data protection is necessary for responsible organizations because of the lack of control data privacy has over information security. Your company can prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information by implementing data protection measures. Because data privacy and data security go hand in hand, ensuring the privacy of your company’s data necessitates taking appropriate data security measures.

6. Rather Than Users Being Responsible For Their Privacy, Companies Should Be

When your business gathers information about its users and customers, you should know who maintains their privacy and security. Users typically have responsibility for data privacy during the data collection and storage phases, while organizations are responsible for data protection. Users play a crucial role in data privacy because they decide what information is shared and with whom it is shared.

Users play a crucial role in data privacy, but ultimately, your company is responsible for safeguarding the information its customers entrust to it. Users will often specify the level of security they desire for their data, so it is up to your company to implement the necessary data protection mechanisms. If your company lives up to these obligations, it won’t have to worry about legal trouble or loss of credibility.



In conclusion, distinguishing between data protection and data privacy is vital for organizations managing sensitive data. These concepts, while related, play different roles in safeguarding information—privacy governs how personal data is used and protected against unauthorized access.

This discussion underscores the importance of implementing both data protection and privacy measures. Beyond compliance, it’s about building trust and ensuring security in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. Organizations must stay agile, adapting their practices to meet new challenges and avoid potential legal and financial issues.

Sertainty offers a solution with our data privacy platform, designed to meet the complex needs of modern data management. We invite you to contact Sertainty to see how we can support your organization in achieving robust data protection and privacy, ensuring you remain a trusted entity in this interconnected world.



What is the main difference between data protection and data privacy?

Data protection involves the technical and procedural steps taken to safeguard information from unauthorized access and breaches. In contrast, data privacy focuses on how personal information is legally collected, used, and managed.

Why are both data protection and data privacy important for an organization?

Implementing both data protection and data privacy measures is crucial for securing sensitive information, complying with legal standards, and building trust with stakeholders by showing commitment to safeguarding their data.

How do data privacy laws affect an organization’s data protection strategies?

Data privacy laws dictate the framework within which personal data must be handled, thereby shaping an organization’s data protection strategies to ensure compliance with these regulations and avoid legal repercussions.

Can you have data privacy without data protection?

No, data privacy cannot exist without data protection because securing the data is fundamental to ensuring it’s only used and accessed as intended, under the terms of privacy policies and regulations.

What role do individuals play in their own data privacy?

Individuals are crucial to data privacy as they control the consent, sharing, and management of their personal information. However, organizations are responsible for protecting this data in line with individuals’ expectations and legal requirements.