IT DefinitionSecurity

IT Security & Data Protection: Similarities and Differences

At first sight, “IT security” and “data protection” appear like synonymous terms and the same thing. In fact, there is some overlap between the two concepts – which does not change the fact that they are two very different things. However, the great importance of digital data and its protection makes it impossible to consider IT security and data protection separately.

Difference between IT Security and Data Protection

Without question, security has become one of the greatest challenges in the digital age. The reasons for this development are numerous, as well as the possible consequences should data be inadequately protected.

At the same time, however, a distinction must be made between what can already be recognized from different terms. For consumers or users without a professional background, however, the associated separation is often less apparent. This is simply due to the fact that, despite all the different criteria, there is a close connection between IT Security and Data Protection.

  • Data protection. This relates to personal data, it also includes the right of every individual to informational self-determination. How personal data is used or passed on is always decided by the respective person – this is also anchored in basic law, although the practice often looks different.
  • IT security. Also known as IT security management, this includes all technical aspects and measures with the help of which all data and the functionality of IT systems are secured.

Information Security

A distinction is made between personal data and company data. The definitive difficulty now consists of the following: On the one hand, it is quite common to use the different terms synonymously. On the other hand, data protection within information security, namely, the sum of all measures that protect all information of a company, forms a sub-area.

The intersection is therefore unavoidable, at the latest, since the GDPR came into force – as is a clear separation. After all, within a company, there is not only personal data from customers and business partners but also from employees.

Links between data protection and IT security

On the one hand, the term is misleading, but on the other hand, it is clear from the way it is used: Data protection is only superficially about protecting the information itself – ultimately it is about protecting people. This in turn distinguishes data protection from IT security, in which the focus is mainly on process-related data.

The two areas are linked, not only in the manner described above but also via the legally defined protection goals, which are explained in more detail below.

In fact, as will be shown in the following, the mechanisms and procedures in both areas do not differ that much from each other – which is largely due to the fact that data protection is an elementary component of IT security and cannot be imagined without the protection of personal data.

Data protection: To protect personal data

At least since the GDPR, data protection has become a widely present topic that not only affects the digital space. How far-reaching the topic really is, however, probably only very few people can assess.

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