Oct 05, 2022

Difference Between Data Protection and Data Security

Data lies at the core of every business. It drives decision-making, identifies opportunities, and pinpoints underperforming areas. At the same time, companies accumulate enormous information that can easily become a target point for cyber-criminals.

However, when it comes to security, many confuse data protection and data privacy, thinking that they are the same, which in reality, is far from the truth. This article aims to focus on the data protection and data security difference and provide companies with real insights on how they can manage information security in their organizations.


  • What is Data Protection?
  • What is Data Security?
  • Difference Between Data Protection & Data Security
  • How to Manage Data Protection & Data Security
  • Solutions for Data Protection
  • Solutions for Data Security
  • Conclusion

What is Data Protection? 

Data protection is a process of safeguarding personal or private information from damage, loss, or misuse and is concerned with its proper managing, processing, and storage. It also means that the protected data must belong to the natural person. 

The main objective of data privacy, which is another term for data protection, is to ensure the physical person’s right to access their information and know how their data is used and for what purposes. In essence, it protects the rights of individuals relating to their personal information.

Governmentally-regulated policies, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the Data Protection Act (DPA), are prime examples of data protection frameworks. 

What is Data Security?

Data security refers to protecting all information, not just personal data, from unauthorized access, corruption, or theft. The information can be digital or analog and belong to the natural person, the corporation, or other legal entities. 

The CIA triad is the primary data security model that guides a company’s safety procedures and policies.

The CIA triad consists of three major components or three principles of information security: 

  • Confidentiality. It indicates that the information is only available to authorized partakers and has not been compromised by other parties. In addition, it must not be disclosed to people who don’t have access to the data.  
  • Integrity. Data integrity guarantees that the information is not deliberately modified, changed, edited, destroyed, or tampered with. 
  • Availability. This component means that the data is available to authorized users when required.

Difference Between Data Protection & Data Security

So, what is the difference between data protection and data security? Although many sources can use these terms alternately, they are entirely different processes in practice and can be easily explained: 

The primary goal of data protection is to secure the private information of the natural person, while the main concern of data security is to protect the data in general, regardless of its origin, whether it is personal or not, analog or digital. 

Data protection deals with data compliance laws and regulations and focuses more on how to gather, manage, share, and delete data. 

Data security takes appropriate measures to stop unapproved third parties from accessing the data. It also takes necessary steps to protect information systems and other digital assets from human and technical errors, hackers, hacktivists, cybercriminals, and other malicious individuals or organizations. 

Data Protection vs. Data Security

Data ProtectionData Security

Secures data that belongs to the natural person
Secures data in general, not only of the natural person

Focuses on how to manage, store, and process information, as well as
secure it from damage, loss, and misuse 
Focuses on protecting all data
from unauthorized access, corruption, or theft
Complies with data protection standards such as GDPR and DPA
Complies with information security standards such as ISO/IEC 27001

How to Manage Data Protection & Data Security

Increasing penalties under the GDPR have made data security and data protection even more of a concern for companies. To handle data privacy and safety effectively, organizations must implement information security and data protection management systems. 

A DPMS or data protection management system is a collection of regulations, processes, and measures that can be used systematically to supervise and monitor how personal data is handled inside a company in compliance with data protection laws.

Such laws include BDSG or the Federal Data Protection Act and regulations such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). They help companies determine what happens to personal data once people pass it on to businesses or government agencies.

The most common examples of personal data are: 

  • names and surnames
  • dates of birth
  • phone numbers
  • address and email 
  • account details
  • license plates

Companies can also appoint an internal or external data protection officer under certain conditions. This officer will ensure that there are no excessive over-regulations and that various business processes are not unnecessarily restrained for fear of data protection penalties.

An information security management system (ISMS) denotes a collection of principles, procedures, and controls that safeguard data confidentiality, availability, and integrity from threats and vulnerabilities. It is also used to identify risks and define measures to mitigate them. ISMS ensures that companies systematically take steps to keep data and information secure. 

The ISMS controls are designed to lessen business data and information asset risks. Many of them are initiated by ISO/IEC 27001, the international standard that deals with information security holistically, but other requirements, regulatory requirements, or contracts may also be driving factors. Here are a few well-known control examples:

  • The use of a VPN requirement
  • Security access cards for entering a building
  • The usage of antivirus software

Solutions for Data Protection

One of the best solutions that a company can implement for data protection is the GRC or Governance, Risk, and Compliance methodology: 

  • To ensure compliance and data protection, governance promotes organizational controls and policies.
  • An organization must be prepared for potential cyber threats and assess their associated risks.
  • Compliance ensures the organization meets regulatory and industry standards when processing, accessing and using data.

Infopulse Standards Compliance Management is an example of an efficient GRC solution for organizations. The tool helps companies to: 

  • implement and maintain compliance standards, including GDPR
  • manage the entire cycle of compliance processes from planning, and implementation, to review and reporting
  • save time by reusing technical and organizational measures (TOMs) when implementing DPMS and ISMS
  • comply with multiple standards, such as BSI IT-Grundschutz, ISO 14001, ISO 27001, and many others
  • Identify risks to certain assets and enforce proper measures to those threats
  • handle reporting and data protection documentation
  • customize and configure Infopulse SCM to a company’s specific needs and requirements
  • safely integrate the solution with CMDB (configuration management database) and asset management software

Nevertheless, many companies still use office tools, such as Excel, to manage their data protection. Why it’s not the best choice for handling such a critical process is shown in detail in this article.

Solutions for Data Security

Luckily, there are quite a few alternatives to data security solutions provided by multiple vendors to improve it in an organization. Here are a few important types of such tools: 

  • Data encryption

Such solutions will ask for a password when an employee wants to access data stored on an encrypted drive or partition. Encryption can be done on specific files and folders. In addition, some solutions require a master password to access files on a device. 

  • Firewalls

A firewall aims to prevent unauthorized remote access to a company’s network, and monitor as well as investigate network traffic for fishy packets. 

  • Anti-Virus

Antivirus software scans documents, emails, and other files for viruses. In addition, some tools can identify and block dubious incoming messages, such as attachments containing sensitive information.

  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Data Loss Prevention or DPL solutions stop susceptible data from leaving the corporate network. By using business rules, DLPs identify and block suspicious outbound traffic, such as emails containing sensitive information sent to third parties.


Even though these terms are often used alternatively, there is a difference between data protection and data security. 

While data protection deals solely with personal data, data security is directed to protect all sorts of information, regardless of whether it’s digital or analog, comes from the natural person or not. And to guarantee the highest possible safety, companies must introduce effective measures. 

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