Data privacy is the branch of data management that deals with handling data in compliance with data protection laws and regulations and general privacy best practices.

Practically speaking, data privacy involves setting access controls to protect information from unauthorized parties, getting consent from data subjects when necessary, and maintaining data integrity

Data privacy needs to be a top priority for businesses. Failure to comply with data privacy regulations can lead to legal action, financial penalties, and loss of brand reputation.

Ensuring data privacy is part of the larger topic of data governance, a process that requires organizations to know what data they have, where it’s stored, how it flows through their IT systems, and how it’s used. Data governance best practices allow organizations to maintain data integrity, which in turn helps them have trust in their data.

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Personal data protection

Any data may be sensitive — a company’s earnings information, for instance, or sales figures. Among the most sensitive data is information about people — personal data about any identified or identifiable individual. Personally identifiable information (PII) can include something as obvious as a name or Social Security number, or another identifier such as an IP address or cookie information. If it’s possible to identify an individual based on a data field or record, that data is considered personal data.

All personal data is subject to data privacy laws in more than 90 countries worldwide.

GDPR and other data regulations

Data privacy laws specify how data should be collected, stored, and shared with third parties. The most widely discussed data privacy laws include:

GDPR: The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most comprehensive data privacy law in effect. It applies to European Union citizens and all companies that do business with them, including countries not based in Europe. It gives individuals the right to determine what data organizations store, request they delete data, and receive notifications of data breaches. Noncompliance may result in hefty fines and legal action.

CCPA: Designed to protect the personal data of California residents, the California Consumer Privacy Act (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.

You can read more about data privacy laws worldwide in the white paper GDPR, CCPA, and beyond: 16 practical steps to global data privacy compliance with Talend.

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Data privacy vs. data security

Data privacy is related to, but not the same as, data security. To be sure, they have some overlapping obligations:

  • Access control: Authorized access to and use of data is the cornerstone of privacy, and possible only through security.
  • Accuracy and integrity of the data: Making sure that data is accurate and not altered is both a privacy and a security concern.
  • Accountability: Company policies relating to data should document both privacy and security

But privacy and security have different emphases. Data security is concerned with assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. Security professionals are tasked with implementing cybersecurity measures such as authorization, data encryption, preventing data breaches, and defending against malicious attacks.

Data privacy, by contrast, focuses on how and to what extent businesses may collect and process information about individuals. Privacy rules determine what types of PII may be collected, about whom, and what can be done with it. Businesses must ensure that only the appropriate access rights are granted to people in the organization, to partners with which they share data, and to the general public. Data privacy officers can also preserve data privacy by anonymizing personally identifiable data for those who lack the need or rights to view it.

Privacy encompasses a wider set of obligations than security, which include awareness of the purpose, collection, and storage of data, and awareness of transparency, openness, lawfulness, fairness, and even accuracy.

But security goes beyond privacy, in that it applies to all type of information, including PII. And the question of whether data is PII is relevant from a security standpoint, as it determines the level of security applicable; PII requires the highest security standard.

One could say that privacy needs security — there is no privacy without security — but security doesn’t need privacy.

How Talend facilitates data privacy

Talend Data Fabric is an important tool for businesses who want a software platform for managing data privacy. It lets companies securely administer data regardless of whether the data is in the cloud or on premises. Talend Data Fabric enables businesses to keep their data in compliance with data privacy, data security, and data governance best practices, laws, and regulations. It lets organizations classify data as PII and secure and restrict its access. Try it for free and see how Talend Data Fabric can aid your data privacy practices.