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What are the differences between data protection, data security and IT security?


Samreen Ashraf

Growth Manager

3 minute read

12 Aug 2022


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What are the differences between data protection, data security and IT security?

Data protection, data security, IT security, information security, cybersecurity or IT security – there is a wide range of terms that are often used interchangeably. But there are differences between these terms, even though a clear uniform definition of these terms does not exist because they are often used contextually. This article aims to clarify these terms with an overview of the respective classic protection goals and threats. 

Data protection

Data protection is generally the protection of an individual's personal data from unauthorized collection, processing and disclosure. The data protection laws of each country legally regulate how this data must be protected. Data protection is therefore about protecting the privacy of every individual and guaranteeing the right to informational self-determination of every citizen. The fundamental question here is whether personal data may be collected and processed at all.

Data security

Data security is concerned with the general protection of data, regardless of whether it is personal or not and whether it is in analog (e.g., paper) or digital form. Data without a personal reference are, for example, construction plans or design instructions. The aim of data security is to protect data of all kinds against threats, manipulation, unauthorized access or disclosure, and loss. The central question of data security relates to the measures that must be taken to ensure the security of data. Various measures can be taken, both analog and digital.

IT security

IT security refers to the protection of electronically stored information as well as IT systems and the functional security of IT systems (error-free functioning, reliability). IT security is a part of information security. Information security refers to protective properties of technical or non-technical systems for information processing and storage. IT security is intended to prevent unauthorized manipulation of data or disclosure of information.

What are the classic protection goals and when are they threatened?

The classic three protection goals include confidentiality, integrity and availability. Protection goals should not and must not be viewed in isolation, as they blend into each other and are mutually dependent.

1. Confidentiality

Confidentiality means that data must only be made accessible to authorized persons. Not only the data itself is threatened, but also e.g. systems, configurations. An attack on confidentiality represents the unauthorized acquisition of information (e.g., through the spying out of login data by an unauthorized person). In the case of confidentiality, security measures must be taken to prevent unauthorized access to stored as well as transmitted data.

2. Integrity

Integrity means that data / systems are correct, unchanged or reliable. An attack on integrity would be, for example, the falsification of data if the recipient receives a different message than the one sent by the sender. However, integrity is also affected if software or hardware works incorrectly and delivers false results (and is thus unreliable). This means that an attack can occur not only intentionally but also accidentally as a result of software or operating errors.

3. Availability

Availability means that data and IT systems are available and can be used by authorized persons when required. An unauthorized interruption, e.g., due to server failure or failure of communications equipment, constitutes an attack on availability.


Information is one of the most important human resources, which means that it is increasingly becoming the target of third parties and at the same time the role and scope of data and information security is growing. Being able to guarantee security is becoming much more complex and difficult in the digital age. This also applies to finding trustworthy business partners. Therefore, onboarding on our platform is only possible after verification by us. Because at WeProfit, we want to ensure that the matches on our platform deliver the best results for our users in all areas.