In today’s technological age, data privacy is one of the most talked about issues. It centers debates in governments across the world and it crops up in the media each time a company or organization is exposed to a data breach. But what exactly is data privacy, why is it so important, and why do companies fail to uphold it time and time again?
What is data privacy?
Data privacy is the ability of an individual to decide what personal information of theirs is shared, how it’s shared, and with who. Such personal information could include their name, age, gender, or race as well as online and offline behaviors.
While many websites, apps, and social media platforms have to collect certain pieces of information from their users in order to provide their service, they can sometimes lack transparency on what data is being collected and who it is being shared with.
Why is data privacy important?
Privacy is a fundamental value of most individuals and democratic societies. When personal data gets into the wrong hands, bad things can happen such as:
- Criminal activities that defraud, exploit, or harass individuals or organizations.
- The surveillance and control of individuals by oppressive states through tracking.
- The selling of personal information to advertising companies leading to individuals receiving unwanted marketing and advertisements.
These types of crimes are rising exponentially as technology enters every corner of our lives.
Data privacy vs. data security: What’s the difference?
Although data privacy and data security are sometimes used interchangeably, they’re not the same thing. Both, however, are crucial for complying with data privacy laws.
Data privacy focuses on how data is collected, stored, deleted, and used for the profit of any given company. It focuses on the individual providing the data, prioritizing their consent so the company will use the personal data to provide them with services they might find useful.
Data security, on the other hand, aims to protect data from hacking and other cybercrimes — it’s the measures companies and organizations take to prevent unauthorized access to the data they have collected in order to provide their services.
As new technologies emerge, data privacy and security must constantly redefine themselves and evolve in order to effectively face the current technological landscape. Companies and organizations that fail to adapt face the risk of data breaches, putting their reputation at stake.
What are today’s challenges to protecting online privacy?
As we’ve already established: ensuring data protection is not an easy task for companies and individuals today. Here’s why:
Ever-evolving cybercrime techniques: Online criminals are constantly finding new ways to steal data from both individual users and organizations that collect and store data about individual users. Plus, as technology is used more and more in business practices, the likelihood of a cyber attack happening also increases.
Organizational and communication issues: Organizations sometimes face difficulties in communicating to their users what personal data they’re collecting and how they use it. This lack of transparency oftentimes leads to breaches in data privacy.
Internal threats: Employees or contractors might wrongfully access and distribute data either purposefully or as a result of not having been adequately trained on how to protect data privacy.
Companies are dealing with more and more data: Because of the sheer volume of data in our technology-driven world, it has become overwhelming to handle millions of data records, and many companies are simply not equipped with the right tools to ensure their data is fully protected.
The high cost of maintaining data privacy: Even when companies do choose to outsource a specialized team to help them secure their data, these services are often extremely expensive. Plus, security technologies such as data archiving, backup, and redundant infrastructure are usually in themselves pricey. But if companies do not have the correct safeguards in place, they risk fines from governmental organizations, causing more strain on their purse strings.
Which technologies are crucial for ensuring data privacy?
Governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) software are becoming popular amongst businesses since they focus on the management of documentation as well as the prevention of data breaches within the company. Using state-of-the-art AI technology, they also speed up automated responses to threats, reducing the risk time.
If you’re looking to learn more about GRC technologies along with other data privacy solutions available to your organization, speak with an expert at Amedia. With years of experience in training solutions, Amedia offers a personal data privacy course to ensure your business is not at risk of data breaches, protecting its reputation and livelihood in the digital age.