Cybersecurity and data privacy are not the same thing

Cybersecurity and data privacy are two parts of a whole discipline, but they are not the same thing. From corporate and individual perspectives it’s worth knowing the difference.

Simply put, cybersecurity is the responsibility of the entire organization. Management needs to decide what hardware, software, and best practices are used to secure the organization. That used to only apply to information Technology (IT) companies, but now it includes operational technology, governments, small businesses, and even homes..

What is Data Privacy?

Data privacy is also a responsibility of an organization’s management. A primary goal of any good cybersecurity infrastructure is to protect the private data of employees and customers. At its core is a personal responsibility. Outside of management, all the employees, contractors, and customers are responsible for becoming knowledgeable about what has been set up and not being the weak link by deviating from the program.

Data privacy involves the proper handling of sensitive user data. The decision of when and how data will be shared with a third party is the realm of data privacy. It ensures the user’s data collection, storage, and usage adheres to all regulatory standards such as GDPR, CCPA, or HIPAA. Let’s consider some of the basics.
Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) secures data by requiring users to provide at least two forms of identification. MFA is critical to ensuring data privacy. It prevents hackers from accessing your user’s data. A hacker’s success can cause an irreparable breach in trust between you and others, not just customers and companies, but between you and the people you care about.

Wear the mask, darn it

It’s not unlike wearing a mask during the COVID epidemic. If you choose not to use MFA because it is inconvenient, you could be setting up a friend our family member for fraud when a criminal impersonates you.

Data masking is an industry term that most people don’t really understand. It involves encrypting data so unauthorized viewers cannot determine the value. Data masking is a critical component of data privacy, but for the common person it may seem too technical to even attempt. Let’s simplify it.

Related:   Video Byte: Why you need Hardware Security

It’s not rocket science

You don’t need to be a computer whiz kid to encrypt your computer. You just need to use the tools your computer operating system has already come with. For example, there are eight simple steps to encrypt a Windows OS computer. Apple computers and most mobile devices are even easier with four or fewer steps. Whenever you get a new computer or device, you are usually prompted during set-up whether you want to encrypt the device. Just say yes.

This is an oversimplified description of the two disciplines, but it’s helpful as a starting place. Remember, your data is your data. Don’t make it someone else’s
To go a bit deeper into the problems that arise when you aren’t paying attention, listen to our most recent podcast at Crucial Tech above.

Lou Covey is the Chief Editor for Cyber Protection Magazine. In 50 years as a journalist he covered American politics, education, religious history, women’s fashion, music, marketing technology, renewable energy, semiconductors, avionics. He is currently focused on cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. He published a book on renewable energy policy in 2020 and is writing a second one on technology aptitude. He hosts the Crucial Tech podcast.

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