Data Privacy vs. Data Security: An In-Depth Look at the Differences

Oct 18, 2022

Data privacy and security have been a top priority for organizations of all sizes for a long time. May 25th, 2018, marked the day the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced in the European Union, setting a new universal standard for data privacy laws.

California followed suit with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and more regions are expected to introduce similar regulations soon.

With all this attention on data privacy and security, it’s important to understand the difference between the two concepts. This way, you can ensure that your organization complies with all applicable laws and best practices.

What Is Data Privacy and What Is Data Security?

At its core, data privacy and security are two sides of the same coin. Both aim to protect information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. However, there are strong distinctions between the two that are worth exploring.

Data privacy concerns how data is collected, used, and shared. It encompasses the legal and ethical principles governing personal information handling.

Data security, on the other hand, is focused on protecting data from unauthorized access or disclosure. It includes technical measures like encryption and access control.

North Dakota was among the first U.S. states to pass a data privacy law. The law mandates that businesses take reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and security of personal information.

South Dakota passed a similar law in 2018. The South Dakota law is notable because it applies to any business that collects, stores, or processes the personal information of South Dakota residents, regardless of whether the company is located in the state.

These data privacy laws follow standards set by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The NAIC’s model law was designed to give states a starting point for creating data privacy legislation.

Differences Between Data Privacy and Data Security

In general, data privacy focuses on how data is stored, accessed, and shared. Data security refers to the technology and other processes that protect that data. Although these concepts are similar, there are some important differences.

Data Ownership

One key difference between data privacy and security is who owns the data. With data privacy, the individual owns their data. With data security, the organization that collects and stores the data is responsible for protecting it.

Data Protection

Data privacy laws typically give individuals control over their data, while data security laws focus on safeguarding information from unauthorized access or disclosure.


Compliance with data privacy laws is typically voluntary, while keeping up with data security laws is often mandatory.

Understanding data privacy and security is essential for ensuring that your organization complies with all applicable laws and best practices. Educating yourself on the matter could help keep your organization’s information safe and secure.

Protect Your Data with the Right Solutions

Data is growing increasingly important in today’s world. As a result, data privacy and security are more vital than ever.

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