You've probably heard the expression "data is the new oil." Well, data today is fueling an increasing number of businesses. Personalized customer experiences, automated marketing messaging, and science-driven insights all depend on the quality and volume of your information. Companies are eager to gather data, and understandably so. Legislators, on the other hand, are keen to protect the privacy and safety of individuals.

Businesses often face challenges as they aim to comply with data privacy regulations like Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). These regulations demand strict access controls to protect sensitive personal data. 

In this article, we look closer at what data privacy is and why it is vital to stay on top of it.

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Table of Contents

  1. What is Data Privacy?
  2. The Importance of Data Privacy
  3. Data Privacy Laws and GDPR
  4. Data Privacy vs. Data Security
  5. Data Breaches and Sensitive Data
  6. How Xplenty Helps You Comply with Data Privacy Regulations

What is Data Privacy?

"Data privacy" usually refers to the handling of critical personal information, also called "personally identifiable information" (PII) and "personal health information" (PHI). This information can include social security numbers, health records, and financial data, including bank account and credit card numbers.

In a business context, data privacy goes beyond the PII of employees and customers. Data privacy also concerns the information that helps the company operate. This could involve things like proprietary research, development data, or financial information.

The Importance of Data Privacy

Keeping private data and sensitive information safe is paramount. If items like financial data, healthcare information, and other personal consumer or user data get into the wrong hands, it can create a dangerous situation. The lack of access control regarding personal information can put individuals at risk for fraud and identity theft.

Additionally, a data breach at the government level may risk the security of entire countries. And if one occurs within your company, it could make your proprietary data accessible to a competitor.

This is where data protection laws come into play. As an increasingly large portion of our lives and activities occur online, cybersecurity is an ever-growing concern.

Data Privacy Laws and GDPR

GDPR is a data protection and information privacy law in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA).

The GDPR contains regulations related to the processing of personal data of individuals (formally referred to as data subjects in the GDPR) located in the EEA. GDPR applies to all enterprises — regardless of the location and size of the company or the citizenship and residence of the consumer.

Noncompliance with GDPR can result in heavy fines of up to €20 million or 4% of total annual turnover, whichever is greater.

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Data Privacy vs. Data Security

Companies may use the terms "data privacy" and "data security" interchangeably, but they're not the same thing. Data privacy is a branch of data security mainly concerned with the handling of data. It revolves around matters such as consent, data collection, and regulatory compliance. Data privacy focuses on:

  1. The manner in which an entity protects data when sharing with third parties.
  2. Regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, GLBA, or CCPA.

Data Security concentrates on keeping data safe from attacks from hackers. It refers to the processes and actions that protect data from unauthorized access and corruption throughout the data life cycle.

The threat of malicious hacking can be external or internal. An IT team may use a wide arsenal of tactics, such as encryption, tokenization, hashing, and other practices, to protect data across applications and platforms. 

Data Breaches and Sensitive Data

A data breach is an intentional or unintentional release of confidential data that exposes it to an untrusted environment. Other common terms for this include "unintentional information disclosure," "information leakage," "data leak" and "data spill." 

Data breaches can occur in a variety of ways and contexts, from malicious attacks by criminal hackers, political activists, or foreign governments, to careless processing when disposing of computer equipment or other data storage media.

Most jurisdictions have implemented data breach notification laws that require organizations who've experienced data breaches to inform the people affected by the breach. The GDPR, the California Consumer Privacy Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act are examples of laws meant to regulate data privacy and prevent data breaches. 

How XPlenty Helps You Comply with Data Privacy Regulations

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Xplenty is a cloud-based ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) solution with visualized data pipelines that enable automated data flows across a wide range of sources and destinations. This allows you to transform, normalize and clean your data while adhering to compliance best practices.

We use SSL/TLS encryption on all our websites and microservices to maintain the highest security and data protection level, and we regularly verify all security certificates and encryption algorithms to keep your data safe.

We use firewalls to restrict system access to systems, and each system belongs to a specific firewall security group based on the system's function. No one beyond Xplenty's staff has access to the operating system, which requires a username and key authentication. You can read about the measures we take to ensure data privacy here

Interested in how Xplenty can help you with data privacy and data management? Find out more by scheduling a conversation, and try the Xplenty solution for yourself for 14 days.