Data Privacy vs Data Security

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Updated January 5, 2023

If you are new to the world of online privacy, you may look to compare data privacy vs data security. After all, many websites and online shopping platforms, after all, have adopted various practices that impact consumer privacy, which is where distinctions between types of data come into play. So what are the differences between data security and data privacy, and what does this mean for average online consumers? Keep reading to find out.


  • Data privacy refers to the notion of keeping personal data like social security numbers safe from unauthorized access and unauthorized users. This addresses privacy concerns.
  • Data security is the various mechanisms by which this data is kept safe from hackers and the like via regulatory requirements.
  • Think of data privacy as your prized possessions and data security as the lockbox you place them in.

Differences Between Data Privacy and Data Security

Before learning the differences between sensitive data and personal data, it can be helpful to understand the contrasts between data privacy and data security. The answer is not quite as simple as learning if Internet cookies are bad. Simply put, data privacy refers to when and if personal data is shared with third parties, and there are many looking to learn how to protect customer data privacy.

Insider Tip

Data privacy laws vary greatly from state to state and even from country to country. Check with local regulatory agencies.

Data security, however, refers to the suite of tools used to enforce the aforementioned when and how of personal data collection. Look at it this way. Data privacy is the stuff you want to be protected, and data security is how it is protected. This is true even when comparing Microsoft AIP vs DLP. Here are more contrasts between data privacy and data security.


When it comes to complying with regulatory agencies such as California’s CCPA or Europe’s GDPR, these concepts take on a life of their own. The statutes involved with this collection of online privacy laws are meant to protect data privacy, so the actual details of what constitutes online privacy are thoroughly described. At the same time, three security measures are in place to protect data privacy. Remember, data privacy is the stuff you want to be protected, and data security is, essentially, the safe it’s kept in.

Solution Types

Different types of private data demand unique types of data security. This dance of online privacy has been ongoing since the Internet first popped its head out of the sand in the 1990s. As nefarious actors look to reduce data privacy, programmers must constantly update data security tools. No one side ever truly has an edge as technology continues to advance. For every third-party cookie that tracks private data, another type of technology tracks the cookie.

STAT: Regulations and laws addressing data privacy can vary by state and country in terms of how stringent they are and how they are enforced. (source)

Privacy vs Security FAQs

How does data security affect data privacy?

Data security is the engine that enables protection regulations and security controls over your online data. This helps protect from various insider threats.

Why is it important to understand the differences?

You need all the tools available to protect your online data from unauthorized access by unauthorized parties. Understanding the difference allows you to fully comprehend privacy controls, regulatory compliance, privacy policies, protection solutions, and more.

What is data protection?

These are third-party management controls that institute unique privacy guidelines to protect from internal threats. They offer a variety of access controls and the like.
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