Importance Of Privacy Management To Secure Your Critical Data


The recent spate of incidents related to data compromise across global organizations has increased voter/consumer appetite for tighter protective measures. This article takes you through the nuts and bolts of an effective privacy management system to secure data assets.

The ‘Data Privacy/Data Protection Dichotomy’

Though used interchangeably, data privacy and data protection operate in different capacities. Hence, a distinction between both terms is essential to delineating what an effective privacy management system entails. Data privacy involves the governance of how much data is shared, collected, and used, especially with third-parties.

On the other hand, data protection safeguards such information from cases of compromise, corruption, or outright loss. It is the ‘coercive unit’ of data privacy in an organization that spells out the conditions for proper collection, use, or modification of data.

Data Privacy Principles

The principles guiding data privacy include the following:

  1. Transparency: this principle finds the Collector of personal data to provide every information related to the purpose of collection, retention of data,  handling of data, and any other further disclosure.
  2. Quality: Collectors of data are bound to maintain data lifecycle and accuracy by managing it efficiently from collection to destruction stage and having procedures to capture only accurate data and update the data in real-time.
  3. Proportionality: The principle of proportionality is to the effect that data being collected must be required and necessary to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected.
  4. Security: Safety measures must be taken to preserve the data with utmost confidentiality, integrity, and availability, and an appropriate response procedure must be in place in case of any data emergency.
  5. Limitation: The principle of limitation precludes the data collector from collecting more-than-necessary data needed for the purpose which it is collected. Such data may not be processed for any other purpose than that which it was intended.  It also limits the duration within which such data can be held.
Key Data Privacy Risks and Business Threats

Some of the threats to implementing data privacy are reeled out below.

  1. Regulatory compliance: For International corporations, navigating the waters of regulatory compliance across borders might be tricky.
  2. Provision of a clear and transparent message that spells out the motivation of views of individuals’ personal data.
  3. In cases where organizations have a rather complex data flow, especially between multiple data processes, staying on top of data privacy issues.
  4. Cost implications of auditing your organization or partner’s/ processor network may be too much to handle.


Failure to comply with regulations in any part of this network may lead to compliance issues across the supply chain. Hence the need for verification of compliance even after dotted lines have been signed by (and between) these organizations.

ISO 27701 to implement Data Privacy

ISO/IEC 27701 Privacy Information Management System (PIMS) was created to help organizations better navigate their regulatory privacy requirements.

Implemented by Privacy Professionals and Internal/Third-party Auditors, the PMS takes stock of operational controls that take multiple regulatory requirements and the GDPR into consideration. This provides an opportunity for potential certification and evidence of conformity.

Implementation process

The ISO 27001 certification is recommended for organizations irrespective of size and whether such organization is a controller or processor of data. It helps with implementing appropriate controls to safeguard personal data, reducing the risk of a data breach significantly in the following ways:

  1.  ISO 27001 mandates organizations to conduct a thorough risk assessment, identifying vulnerabilities and potential threats that could compromise data in the custody of organizations.
  2. It clearly states controls for reducing data security risks. However, organizations are required to identify what assets are vulnerable or require protection.


Finally, the organization should always strive to evaluate whether they have a genuine need before pursuing ISO 27001+ISO 27701 certifications. In cases where companies deal with vendors or suppliers of data, they should consider requesting ISO 27001+ISO 27701 certification to avoid liabilities arising from potential cases of a data breach.

SGS Solutions

A survey by IBM found that 95% of all security breaches are the result of human error. It is vital that people learn to identify potential threats and the correct procedures for maintaining their critical data.

SGS offers a comprehensive range of services to help organizations efficiently and cost-effectively protect the integrity of their data and systems. Partnering with SGS for your ISO/IEC 27001 information security certification means better-performing processes, increasingly skillful talent and more sustainable customer relationships. We have a history of undertaking and successfully executing large-scale, complex international projects. With a presence in every region around the globe, our people speak the language and understand the culture of your local market.


Learn about SGS ISO 27001 services.



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