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IT Security and data privacy: is there a difference?

Mark Colaluca is the Vice President of the Global Support Delivery (GSD) Americas Organization, which includes Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the MCA (Multi-Country Area), and the United States, within HP’s Technology Services (TS) business unit. The GSD Americas team delivers support services to HP customers; supporting warranty, break/fix, Proactive and Datacenter care services, while maintaining high quality and Total Customer Experience (TCE) standards. Since joining HP in 1984, Mark has held numerous management and executive positions within customer support services and supply chain operations. Prior to HP, Mark served in the United States Air Force. Mark currently lives in Dallas, Texas.

IT Security is where the action is. It’s definitely what gets all the headlines. The most recent examples were the data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus that exposed the credit card numbers and other personal, private data for millions of customers. The list of other companies who were hacked in 2013 reads like a Who’s Who of IT leaders:  Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Skype. So it’s no wonder that IT Security also gets the most attention from everyone from individual users to the largest enterprises.  

In creating a secure IT environment, the assumption is often made that security solutions will also address data privacy concerns. However, this is not always the case. There are subtle differences between the two areas that enterprises need to keep in mind if they wish to maintain an environment that ensures both security and privacy.  

Four key areas of difference
Data Privacy can be seen as a specialized subset of IT Security requiring additional approaches and solutions. The specialization is seen in four key areas:   

  1. Type of threat - Security is most often compromised by extraordinary external attacks – hacking, phishing, malware, etc. The enterprise’s security program seeks to deflect those attacks via anti-virus software, firewalls, etc., as well as via training that makes employees aware of threats. On the other hand, privacy can be compromised through everyday activities performed by a company’s employees with no external threat being present. For example, simply faxing an employment record or a medical history to a fax machine in a semi-public area compromises private information.
  2. Type of information involved - IT Security typically seeks to protect the financial information or intellectual property of a company, its partners, and its customers. Privacy encompasses other document types, especially in medical and other personal areas.
  3. Type of solutions available - While there are many security applications and approaches to choose from, such as anti-virus software, few take the extra steps to address the full range of privacy concerns. Standard security training for employees (e.g., don’t open attachments in emails from unknown senders) also does not typically discuss measures to protect private information.
  4. Consequences - The consequences for security breaches are severe, but are not impacted by government or industry regulations. Legislation such as the Health Information Portability and Affordability Act (HIPAA) sets up stringent requirements for the protection of medical information and provides severe civil and criminal penalties for willful privacy violations.  

The bottom line is that true protection requires the implementation of approaches that address both security and privacy.

Start with the basics: the “3 Rs” of data privacy
An excellent first step in creating an overall data privacy solution is to establish a process for dealing with the data stored in all the multiple IT assets in your environment. Note that these have expanded significantly in the past few years and now include everything from printers and scanners to laptops and tablets.The list continues to expand with the growing popularity of Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD). This is all in addition to the enterprise’s storage infrastructure. The “3 R” process lets you establish greater control over stored data and reduces the risk of compromise. It allows you to: 

  1. Retain disks and other components capable of retaining data
  2. Remove data from IT assets before you dispose of them
  3. Recover remaining value from retired IT assets

HP offers services that will help you effectively implement the “3 Rs.” These services help you create a comprehensive data privacy approach that will ensure compliance with regulations such as HIPAA/HITECH, SOX, DoD and more, while they also complement and strengthen your enterprise’s overall IT security programs. HP can also help you ensure privacy as you implement new approaches such as Cloud and BYOD.    

 For more information, check out the Data Privacy page on HP’s web site.  

- Mark Colaluca

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  • I’m a Global Strategist, a certified (PMI) Project Manager, specializing in business to IT alignment, agility consulting, Infrastructure Transformation and Strategic Architecture for Big Data, Mobility, Private Cloud, Unified Communications and Collaboration. I drive the strategy, vision and content of strategic consulting services in the Big Data IT Infrastructure services area at HP. As part of this, I meet with senior level customers to understand their challenges, conduct workshops to determine future vision and roadmaps as well as presenting at industry and analyst events.
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  • Working for EMEA TS Consulting, I am a Specialist in end to end management of customer data, from creation through consumption, to protection and preservation and ultimately (controlled) destruction. This includes, host, connectivity, storage, data protection and backup and archive, from a technical and more importantly, operational perspective. I have worked in the storage and data management industry for over 15 years, on both sides of the desk, as a customer and now as a consultant.
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  • Tari is a Distinguished Technologist with 30 years of IT and cyber security experience. He is dual board certified in information security/business continuity and is responsible for a wide range of management and technology consulting services encompassing information security, disaster recovery, privacy, and risk management. His problem-solving skills, knowledge of various technology platforms, compliance statutes, industries, as well as his experience in deploying defense-in-depth and InfoSec Program solution architectures is commonly applied when advising CIOs/CISOs as well as leveraged in numerous HP client engagements throughout the world. Tari has designed, built, and managed some of the world’s largest InfoSec programs allowing them to defend against even the most aggressive attackers.
  • I provide technical consulting services at all phases including analysis, planning, design and implementation. I have a wide range of experience in WAN and LAN technologies, as well as providing security solutions and deploying operating system infrastructure. Besides working directly with clients to deploy technology in their data centers, I also find myself architecting or discussing solutions with a business’s chief information officer, helping to lay out a roadmap for the coming years.
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