What is Data Privacy Compliance? A Complete Guide

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what is data privacy compliance

We hear a lot about data privacy compliance today. But what does it entail exactly? Most companies today deal with tons of information about their customers; a lot of it is sensitive in nature – especially financial, identity, and medical data. Such data falling into the wrong hands can have disastrous consequences for the business and its customers, legally, ethically, and economically.

Imagine a scenario where a nefarious entity gets access to your credit card information and swipes it to the max – you’re left with huge debt for no fault of your own! Now extrapolate it and imagine tens of thousands of people with credit card or bank information being stolen. T

he malicious entity stands to make millions! Which is why data protection and privacy have gained tremendous importance in the world.

Data Protection and Data Privacy

Though both terms are used one for the other, there is a significant difference. Data protection is about implementing tools and policies to restrict access to data, while data privacy controls who has access to data.

Today, industry regulators and governments across the world have established standards and frameworks which have to be adhered to by businesses to ensure that client data is protected from cyber-attacks.

Both data protection and privacy are concerned with two major elements: health information and identity information. It is critical in business operations, finances, and so on. By ensuring protection for data, businesses can mitigate cybersecurity risks, protect their reputation, and be in compliance with government regulations.

What Is Data Protection and Why Is It Important?

Data protection refers to the methods and tools implemented to protect the privacy, integrity, and availability of sensitive data. These methods are typically employed to prevent damage, loss, or corruption of data, and are especially important for businesses and organizations that gather, store, or handle sensitive data.

Undoubtedly, it is imperative that businesses have a robust data protection strategy in place, as the data generated and collected by them is humungous. Data protection aims to render data reliable and accessible in addition to protecting it from being stolen.

Data Protection Principles

The principles of data protection help protect data and ensure availability, facilitates business continuity, backing up of data, and more.

  • Data availability ensures that data essential to do business is accessible and usable even if the data gets damaged or lost,
  • Data lifecycle management automates transmitting important data to storage locations both online and offline.
  • Information lifecycle management ensures that information assets are evaluated, catalogued, and protected from not just cyberattacks but disruptions, outages, machine failure, and errors.

In-built data protection for storage, data loss prevention, encryption, firewalls, endpoint protection are some of the technologies used to protect data.

What Is Data Privacy and Why Is it Important?

Data privacy compliance frameworks are guidelines for the manner of collection and processing of data, depending on how important and sensitive it is. It is normally applied to health and identifiable information, including financial data, social security or other IDs, names, birthdates, contact information, and medical records.

 Any sensitive information of customers, employees or other stakeholders handled by organizations, is subject to data privacy requirements. It helps to make sure that only authorized entities are able to access sensitive data, and that organizations comply with regulations.

Important aspects of data privacy are:

·        Data quality – ensuring data is accurate and updated; for example, test results may be sent to the wrong patient if data is old and not current

·        Data lifecycle – the purpose for collecting user data must be clearly defined, along with how it will be managed

·        Data Ethics – transparency and fairness about how data will be handled must be communicated

Data privacy depends on the health of the data; by this we mean, availability to the right person at the right time, enabling them to make the right decisions.

What is Data Privacy Compliance?

When an organization adheres to the guidelines or framework established by governments or regulatory authorities with regard to protection of personal information, we can say that the organization has implemented the requisite data privacy compliance program.

There are several important frameworks that have been introduced by various authorities to safeguard data privacy and protect it from malware and other threats.

What Are Data Protection Regulations?

Data privacy regulations define the manner of collecting, storing, and sharing of data with third parties. Let us now look at some of the major regulations with regard to data privacy compliance in cybersecurity in the world today.

GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation law passed by the EU is one of the most comprehensive and stringent data privacy laws in effect today. It not only applies to all EU organizations and citizens, but also to organizations that deal with EU citizens and organizations, regardless of where in the world they are located.

The GDPR empowers individuals to decide what information organizations can store, request organizations to delete their data, and to be notified in the event of data breaches. Not complying with the GDPR data privacy compliance checklist can lead to penal action, fines, or both.

CCPA

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a regulation introduced in California that empowers residents to question organizations about their personal data being held by them.

Individuals can also find out what data has been shared with third parties, and ask organizations to delete such data. This data privacy compliance framework is applicable to consumer information collected within California.

Regulations in the Middle East

SAMA cybersecurity framework in Saudi for banks and financial institutions, NESA in the UAE, ADHICS in Abu Dhabi (for healthcare), and the PDPL for protection of personal data are some of the major data privacy compliance regulatory frameworks in the Middle East for data protection and privacy.

It is important to note that depending on your location and nature of your business, you may be required to comply with multiple data protection and privacy regulations. Just because you are in compliance with a specific regulation, does not mean that you are in compliance with all the regulations you need to adhere to. For example, if you are a Saudi financial company who has customers in the EU, you will need to comply with SAMA and GDPR.

Data Protection Vs Data Privacy

Data privacy focuses on deciding who can access specific data, and data protection is all about bringing those restrictions into effect. The tools and methods used by data protection are defined by data privacy.

Merely setting guidelines for data privacy is no guarantee of unauthorized access being prevented. Similarly, you may employ data protection methods and restrict access, but some sensitive data may still be exposed to threat. Essentially, you need both data protection and privacy to completely secure your data.

Another way of looking at it us, that organizations protect the data, while users control the privacy. Users have a say in how much of their data can be shared and with whom; whereas it is the responsibility of companies to protect the data and keep it private. Data privacy compliance laws help to make sure that the privacy demands of users are fulfilled by organizations.

·        Access control is what data privacy is about, and it’s achieved through data protection

·        Data integrity and accuracy is a concern of protection and privacy

·        Accountability is important for both privacy and protection of data

Data privacy focuses on data of individuals, with rules defining what kind of personal information can be gathered and to what extent, and how companies may use it. It is up to organizations to ensure that the access levels granted to employees are appropriate, and similarly with other stakeholders or the public.

Data protection focuses on ensuring data is confidential, available, and accurate; security professionals prevent data from attacks and breaches by implementing cybersecurity methods like encryptions, firewalls, and authentications.

Data Privacy Best Practices

Understand Your Data

It is imperative that you understand what type of data you have, where you store it, and how you handle it; then you need to determine who you collect and process the data. Your policy should address what protection is needed to ensure the different levels of privacy. It’s a good idea to factor in auditing these methods to ensure accurate application.

Collect Less

Make sure you only collect data that’s strictly necessary, and reduce your liability. You’ll also need less storage space and bandwidth. You can use ‘verify not store’ frameworks to achieve this. Here, third-party data is used to verify users, avoiding the necessity of storing or transmitting data on your system.

Be Transparent

Today, users are savvy, and will appreciate your openness about your collection and usage of their data. You can incorporate privacy concerns into your UI, by sending notifications when and why you collect data, and including opt-out choices for users. This will also showcase your ethics as a business.

Closing Words

Every organization today consciously and automatically collects volumes of data every single day. They depend on BI and analytics to take better decisions for business growth. But it also means that their liability to protect and ensure privacy of data increases significantly. Privacy compliance continues to be a major concern for management.

Wattlecorp specializes in offering outstanding consultancy services to organizations to achieve compliance with various regulations. We take the responsibility of ensuring your cybersecurity compliance so that you can focus on your core business. Call us now and let’s start your compliance journey!

Zuhair Elambilassery

Zuhair Elambilassery

Zuhair, our CEO, brings 10 years of cybersecurity expertise to our organization. With 5 years as a successful cybersecurity entrepreneur and 5 years as a seasoned security engineer and consultant, he has made significant contributions to renowned companies like Exotel, Storilabs, Uber, Flipkart, and OLA Cabs. Zuhair's wealth of experience and strategic insights ensure our organization remains at the forefront of cybersecurity advancements.

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