The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is one of the most challenging data privacy regulations to comply with for domestic organizations. It requires organizations to know exactly what data they have about consumers, and where it is, at almost all times. Although its penalties are not quite as harsh as those of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), many consider it a U.S. version of this Europe Data Privacy Law. Both of these mandates relevance and importance illustrate how crucial data privacy has become for legal and regulatory requirements.

In this article, we’ll explain just what data privacy is, its challenges and advantages, and current data privacy laws in effect.

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What is data privacy?

Data privacy is the branch of data management dealing with sharing data with third parties. It is generally based on protecting consumer information and giving consumers the right to keep their information from other organizations without consent or knowledge of this fact. Ultimately, data privacy is about setting different levels of controls to protect this information from third parties, getting consent from data subjects when necessary, and maintaining data integrity

Since data privacy is an important aspect of consumer relations, it’s become a top priority for many businesses. Several regulations are either in place or being finalized to protect the privacy of personally identifiable data. Failure to comply can lead to legal action and stiff financial penalties. Many organizations are adding data privacy officers to their compliance departments to address this growing concern.

Ensuring data privacy is one of the results of an effective data governance program. It requires organizations to know what data they have about whom, where it’s stored, how it flows through their IT systems, and how it’s ultimately disposed. Maintaining the integrity of consumer data is one of the goals of successful data governance, and a necessary requirement for data privacy in today’s business climate.

Data privacy vs. data security

Unfortunately, many people frequently confuse data privacy with data security. Even with the right data security methods (like encryption, masking, or tokenization) organizations can still have data privacy issues if they don’t keep track of where their data goes and who has the proper access to it. Although data breaches can compromise data privacy, data privacy can also be compromised by simply not making personally identifiable data anonymous, or not controlling which vendors access organizations’ data and how.

Data security is about safeguarding data from threats. These threats may include cyber security attacks, exfiltration attempts, and others. Data privacy, in contrast, is more about preserving data integrity by making personally identifiable data anonymous, dictating who has access to data (inside and outside organizations), and determining if that data is used consistently with regulations.

Data privacy vs. data protection

Data protection is best thought of as a requisite for data privacy. The first thing organizations have to do to ensure data privacy is safeguard it. If data is exposed to everyone inside or outside an organization, it’s not very private. Data protection keeps data safe from unauthorized users like hackers. Data privacy, however, keeps data from being unnecessarily exposed to unauthorized users like third parties. Data protection is the initial stepping stone for data privacy, but additional privacy measures involving data governance and regulatory compliance are necessary for data privacy.   

Data privacy laws

Today, businesses have more data privacy laws than ever to follow. Some of these are the results of the rash of data breaches, while others are designed to give consumers more control over their data. The most widely discussed data privacy laws include:

  • GDPR: GDPR is the most comprehensive data privacy law in existence. It applies to European Union citizens and all companies doing business with them, even American ones. It allows the individual whose personal information an organization has the right to determine what data organizations store, request to delete data, and notifications of  data breaches. Non-compliance results in hefty fines and legal action.
  • GLBA: The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) was created to protect the privacy of nonpublic personal info accessible to financial organizations. It requires such institutions to disclose their privacy policies to consumers and follow specific steps before giving personal info to third parties, such as notifying customers and providing an opt out option. This act also provides multiple regulations to enforce these measures.
  • CCPA: The CCPA will not be enforced until 2020, and is still subject to change by state legislation. Designed to protect the personal data of California residents, the CCPA enables residents to ask organizations what personal data they have stored on them, delete it on request, and find out what data has been given to third parties. These measures apply to data gathered within the state.

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Data privacy challenges and solutions

There are several challenges to implementing data privacy. Businesses have to deal with data security issues and external parties (hackers) trying to access personal data. They also have to watch for internal attempts by unauthorized personnel. Either one of these types of breaches can result in significant penalties.

It’s also challenging to know the various places data is stored, and how that data will move throughout the organization. Depending on the data pipeline process, businesses need to put controls in place to ensure it’s not accessed by the wrong party. These are some of the many data security measures organizations can use to prevent data breaches:

  • Encryption: By encrypting data in motion as it moves through an organization and at rest where it’s stored, organizations can minimize the effects of potential breaches.
  • Access control lists: These lists identify who can rightfully access data, where, and how, to give the proper privileges only to the correct people for data access.
  • Masking: Masking techniques alter specific data (like personally identifiable information) with similar-looking replacements that preserve data integrity and maintain operational efficiency.
  • Data Lineage: Data lineage capabilities trace data’s journey throughout the enterprise, including any changes made to data from ingestion to output. Lineage serves as a blueprint for putting controls in place to protect data during its journey.
  • Loss Prevention: Data loss prevention provides real-time monitoring of data throughout its lifecycle to thwart attacks, unauthorized data access, and data theft.
  • User Tracking: This security measure maps the end user of web applications to the application’s database user, as well as to the actual data accessed. It helps organizations see who is able to access what data.  

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How Talend can help ensure data privacy

As a suite of apps, Talend Data Fabric is a single source for securely accessing data throughout an organization, regardless of where data assets are located: in the cloud or on-premises. Serving as a central control point, Talend Data Fabric enables users to easily manage the different forms of data security, data governance, and regulatory compliance required to maintain data privacy.

Offering real-time monitoring and notifications of data’s movement throughout an organization for proactive detection capabilities, Talend Data Fabric enables organizations to classify personally identifiable data and secure and restrict its access. Try it today and see how it can help simplify your data privacy efforts.