Data security definition - What is it anyway?

The definition of data security is quickly clarified: The term data security is about the general protection of all data of a person or a company. This does not only have to be the classic data such as name, date of birth or similar, but also includes data without personal reference, such as construction plans.

The goal of data security is to take appropriate measures to ensure the protection of all data against manipulation, loss and other threats. These measures can be either technical or organizational in nature.

What is the difference between data protection and data security?

In everyday life, the terms data protection and data security are often used interchangeably. But as is the case in everyday language, there are subtle differences that distinguish the two terms.

By definition, data protection is a right of every citizen. Unlike data security, data privacy is about protecting personal data such as names, e-mail addresses or telephone numbers. If this right is disregarded, people's personal rights and fundamental rights are also violated. Nevertheless, data security and data protection cannot exist without each other, as they are mutually dependent.

At the latest with the entry into force of the new General Data Protection Regulation in 2018, better known as DSGVO, the topic of data protection is on everyone's lips again. With the GDPR, data protection in the EU has been completely revamped.

Why is data security so important?

Thanks to the examples in the introduction, you probably have an idea by now why data security is so important. The data we leave behind while using the Internet says a lot about us and our lives. And let's be honest: Who would want it to fall into the wrong hands and for strangers to know (sometimes intimate) details about our lives? On the street you wouldn't tell just anyone your bank account details or your address, so why on the Internet?

Therefore, always keep in mind: As a rule, there is always a risk with communication technologies that data is not secure due to technical deficiencies or one's own carelessness. No one is perfect, not even a system. And the more deeply digitization is rooted in our lives, the greater the risk of data theft. That's why data security has never been more important. Because once damage has been done, it is often too late. The motto here is clearly: better safe than sorry.

How can I ensure my personal data security?

You're probably wondering how you can ensure your personal data security. The good news is that each of us can significantly increase the security of our data on the Internet with just a few simple steps. And you don't need extensive IT know-how to do this, you just need to follow a few rules, which we will present to you in more detail below.

Cost-benefit analysis
Let's start with the obvious: Every time you enter personal data on the Internet, ask yourself: Is this really necessary? At what cost am I giving my details to a company? Is the effort and benefit really worth it, or can I not do without the product after all for the sake of the security of my data?

A good example here are the baby programs offered by large German drugstore chains. Before you sign yourself and your child up for them, listen to yourself for a moment and ask yourself whether your sensitive data is really worth exchanging for a few cream and diaper samples, which are often only worth a few euros. And honestly, most of it ends up in the trash afterwards anyway. What remains, however, is your data, which the company in question can use from now on until you explicitly object to the use of the data. There are many examples like this in everyday life - and if you think twice about it, you often come to the conclusion that the cost-benefit ratio is not given.

If you enter your data somewhere, it is best to enter only the mandatory information, which is usually marked with an asterisk. Everything else just leave out. Because where no data has been entered, it cannot be stolen.

Look for security certificates when surfing the net
Better safe than sorry. This also applies to surfing the Internet. You can significantly reduce the risk of data theft by being vigilant and keeping your eyes open when surfing the web. Always check whether the sites you visit have a security certificate, because smaller sites without such a certificate are particularly vulnerable to hacker attacks. You can usually recognize this by a small symbol next to the address bar in your browser. You can also visit websites with a https:// in front of the web address without hesitation. Especially with downloads, you should check carefully beforehand whether the source of the download seems reputable to you.

In general, you should remember: If something seems strange to you, it's best to listen to your gut feeling and never enter sensitive data on a site that makes your alarm bells go "CAUTION" - the first feeling is usually confirmed on closer inspection.

Especially when traveling, you should keep this in mind, because then the security of your data is often particularly at risk. Whether on the train, in many hotels or in restaurants, free WLAN is available everywhere. This is convenient, but unfortunately not entirely safe. These networks are often unprotected, which means that unauthorized persons can easily access the transmitted data. A little tip: If you travel a lot, our self-study course "Data security while traveling" could be something for you.