What is Data Protection?

Coby McKinley Profile image

Written by:

Updated January 5, 2023

Internet users concerned with consumer privacy rights and data security standards should understand what is data protection and how data protection strategies work. Data protection is critical for corporate networks and public authorities, especially those that deal with sensitive user information, and addresses consumer rights and what companies can do with user data.


  • Data protection is a collection of security and compliance regulations that protect sensitive information from unauthorized access, loss, destruction, or disclosure.
  • Most countries have data protection regulations, but consumer protections vary from territory to territory.
  • Public and private organizations utilize a mix of data protection strategies to prevent privacy breaches and data loss.

Once you’re done here, read more on what the Data Protection Act covers and enterprise data protection.

Insider Tip

Develop a personal data protection plan to protect yourself from hackers and machine failure.

A Guide to Data Protection

The practice of data protection covers the security standards and privacy concerns over consumer and confidential information. Companies employ several data protection programs that protect assets against attacks while maintaining business continuity.

Additionally, most territories have consumer data privacy laws that govern core data protection principles and the level of ownership that individuals have over their data.

Why is Data Protection Important?

Confidential consumer data is flowing through the internet at an unprecedented rate. Without continuous data protection, unauthorized users can access sensitive files like email addresses, credit cards, medical info, and more. Financial institutions, government agencies, and private companies need proper security measures to avoid losing customer info and organizational secrets.

Additionally, data protection is important for consumers and their fundamental rights over who accesses their information. Some data protection laws, like the GDPR data protection measures, limit how much data a company has, how it uses the data, and how long it takes to keep a customer’s data.

Types of Data Protection Methods

Experts advise the use of multiple data protection measures to ensure safe access to storage systems and cloud environments. The most common data protection methods range from software solutions to local security tools. While data-collecting organizations do not use every data protection solution listed below, these are the most common methods.


Encrypting data makes it unreadable to anyone who does not have the appropriate decryption key. This can help protect data from being accessed by unauthorized individuals or systems.

Access Controls

Access controls restrict who can read, alter, or access specific data and resources. This security measure might be a user password, two-factor authentication, or job-specific access codes. Access controls also limit what an actor can do with accessible data.


Never give remote access to your PC because bad actors may access your bank account details, phone numbers, and other sensitive information without your knowledge.

Data Backup

Backup systems are critical for disaster recovery plans and ensuring user data remains safe from damage and destruction. In the event of a storage system failure or cyber attack, a system backup can quickly restore a company’s data collection.

Network and Physical Security

Organizations and individuals should utilize network firewalls and VPNs to keep their data safe from bad actors. Additionally, companies employ locks, cameras, and security personnel to protect sensitive data in a local storage location.

STAT: A 2019 Pew Research Center poll showed that 25% of Americans said they were asked to agree to a privacy policy almost daily. (source)

What is Data Protection FAQs

What is a data protection officer?

Data privacy laws in the UK and European Union require data-collecting companies to hire a data protection officer (DPO). The DPO acts as an independent third party that monitors compliance with GDPR regulations.

What is data lifecycle management?

Data lifecycle management is a data storage strategy that organizes data from collection to deletion. This management cycle ensures that a company optimizes the data they collect before it becomes ineffective or fruitless.

Are cloud services or offline storage safer?

There’s no “best” between local and cloud storage, but they each have clear advantages. Cloud storage keeps your data safe from local threats, but it is inaccessible offline. Meanwhile, local storage is accessible offline, but you can only access it on location.
Coby McKinley Profile image