The Difference Between Data Compliance, Privacy, and Protection

As businesses increasingly rely on data to drive revenue and growth, there is a growing need for better data security. Data compliance, privacy, and protection are all key factors in protecting against hacks, identity theft and fraud — but what is the difference between the three? 

Data Compliance 

Data compliance is the process of following regulations set in place by governing bodies to aid in preventing information from unauthorized collection and access. A few examples of this are the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). 

Despite the strict laws on data security, many industries still struggle to maintain data compliance — particularly in healthcare. Researchers from the University of Cork explain that this may be because of massive blind spots in record databases, poor security measures on clinical communication platforms, and an increase in targeted cybercrimes. 

Some important things to consider when trying to achieve data compliance are:

  • Complying with a data subject request (such as deleting their information)
  • Assessing possible cybersecurity risks
  • Establishing what level of information needs to be collected

Data Privacy

Data privacy is the control that an individual has over their personal information. Luckily for consumers, much of this responsibility falls on organizations; businesses are required to ensure their customers know what information of theirs is being collected, and whether or not consent has been given. Data privacy regulations like the CCPA even go so far as to require organizations to provide an opt-out option when selling information to third-party entities. 

A write-up by Maryville University on data science skills notes that there exists an ethical dilemma in managing and using data responsibly. Data privacy laws like the GDPR are in place to ensure that data is used in a beneficial and ethical manner — and while data can certainly be used for practical purposes such as research and prediction, the danger lies with the possibility of user information being sold or used in ways they didn’t consent to. 

Data Protection 

Data protection is defined by TechTarget as a procedure behind ensuring information is not corrupted, compromised, or lost. This usually comes in the form of safeguards and contingencies that make information continuously available. To make this possible, many organizations have a team of people backing up data into a recovery database both online and offline. 

Data protection is vital to ensuring that technology and information can be passed on securely and immediately — without it, your data is at risk. 

The Bottom Line

Data compliance, privacy and protection may seem like similar concepts — but when dissecting their meanings and functions, it becomes apparent that they are quite different. That being said, they are deeply interconnected and help information remain private and safe. 

Contributed by Brie Jameson for 


Download the Salesforce Data Security Checklist


Need a quick refresher on the basic components of Salesforce security? Download your free copy of our Salesforce Data Security Checklist using the form below.