Guide to Data Protection
5 min

A Comprehensive Guide on Data Protection

Posted by: TÜV SÜD Expert

A Comprehensive Guide on Data Protection

In today's world, data is the most valuable asset for individuals and organisations alike. Therefore, it is a top priority to protect it from theft, damage, or loss. Data protection, simply put, involves shielding data from potential harm or loss.

Since data lies at the heart of every business, it is natural that every organisation strives to secure it against breaches or security threats. Data protection refers to preventing critical data from being compromised, corrupted, or lost and ensuring that it can be restored to a usable state in case of unavailability or inaccessibility.

Data protection ensures that data remains unaltered and accessible only to authorised personnel while complying with relevant legal requirements. Moreover, protected data must remain accessible when needed and function appropriately for its intended purpose.

Why is Data Protection important?

Data protection is critical for any organisation as every decision the management makes is based on the vast databases the company creates and maintains. From an individual’s perspective, data in the wrong hands can lead to a breach of privacy and even financial fraud.

Businesses establish data protection methodologies to prevent their valuable data, including business information, client information, and decision-making policies, from any compromise or loss, which can lead to heavy reputational and financial loss. It also tries to stay one step ahead by establishing processes that will help recover the data in case of data loss or theft.

Businesses are also required by law to protect data.

Types of Data Protection

Some of the most fundamental types of data protection are mentioned below:

  1. Encryption of Data: Data encryption makes it almost impossible for potential hackers to decipher the data and helps secure the data from chances of theft and corruption.
  2. Protection via Password: A password is the shield wall between potential misusers of data and sensitive data stored in the network system; hence, password protection is essential to safeguard the data. Business passwords need to be complex alphanumeric, and if they are customer-facing, customers should also be educated to create strong passwords. Passwords should also be changed regularly. 
  3. Backup of Data: Back-ups not only help in easy accessibility but can also help recover data that might have been lost due to corruption or data breach in the network systems. Essential data should be backed up on the cloud frequently to ensure any organisation's smooth functioning.
  4. Identity and Access Management: Too many users with access to sensitive information increase the chances of data loss. Every user should be pre-specified, and only those who require to access the data should be allowed to use it. Control points should be established to ensure access is given only until needed and terminated by applying the principle of least privilege.
  5. Detection of Intruders and Prevention Software: It is essential to monitor the traffic in the network system to identify network threats and intruders quickly. The intrusion detection and prevention software continuously scans network traffic for known threats. These programmes can be set up to execute a wide range of operations to counteract any known network dangers.

Given the vast array of available applications and techniques, safeguarding data and protecting it from intrusive network systems is a crucial goal for any organisation seeking to thrive.  

Data Protection Principles and Regulations to keep in mind

As the volume of data generated and stored continues to increase, the importance of data protection also grows. To operate efficiently, any organisation must devise a data protection strategy to ensure the security of its information. 

Data Protection Principles 

To ensure that protection methods and mechanisms yield maximum benefit, data protection methods must comply with the data protection principles of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as mentioned below:

 Data Protection Principle  Application
 Lawfulness, fairness and transparency Data must be processed in a lawful, fair and transparent way
 Purpose limitation The data should only be used for the purpose originally intended and there should be no deviation to other purposes
 Data minimisation Only the required amount of data to deliver the service should be kept and unnecessary data should not be stored.
 Accuracy Stored data should be accurate, current and up-to-date.
 Storage limitations  Non-required data should be deleted or discarded.
 Integrity and confidentiality Data should be correct and cannot be manipulated by others. Confidentiality is about the access of data to only authorized personnel for use.
 Accountability The user should be accountable for the data used and should also be accountable for the processes to be in compliance with regulations.

Data Protection Regulations and Certification

There are several global regulations and certification that aim to minimise data security breaches and ensure that firms adhere to laws. Some of the globally recognised data protection regulations and certification are mentioned below:

  1. Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA): In Singapore, a minimum level of security for personal data is provided under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). It includes a number of regulations controlling the acquisition, processing, disclosure, and maintenance of personal data in Singapore. The PDPA applies to both electronic and non-electronic storage of personal data. 

    Additionally, it enables the creation of a nationwide Do Not Call (DNC) Registry. Singapore phone numbers can be registered with the DNC Registry by people who do not want to receive telemarketing calls from businesses. 
  2. Data Protection Trustmark (DPTM) Certification: The DPTM helps companies gain a competitive edge and foster trust with their stakeholders.

    A DPTM certification means that a business has implemented appropriate data protection policies, is less likely to encounter a data breach, and is better equipped to handle personal data.
  3. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): This is applicable in the European Union. When it comes to the protection, collection, and privacy of personal data, these rules are regarded as the strictest in the world. Every business that operates in a member state of the European Union is subject to GDPR. 

    The GDPR makes sure that all personal data is collected legally, securely, and with the user’s informed consent. 

Data Protection Trends

The data protection landscape is evolving rapidly, and every organisation must adapt to stay ahead of technological advancements.

  1. Data Localisation: A multi-country business strategy drives a need for a new approach for the acquisition of cloud data, and this makes data localisation planning a top priority for businesses. 
  2. Hyper-Convergence: Hyper-converged infrastructure's integrated data protection capabilities are replacing various equipment in data centres. These capabilities enable backup and recovery for a mix of physical and virtual environments, including both hyper-converged and non-hyper-converged systems.
  3. AI Governance: As businesses increasingly incorporate AI models into their operations, the risk of data privacy breaches and misuse of information is becoming more apparent. This underscores the critical need for the proper implementation of regulatory requirements.
  4. Privacy-Enhancing Computation Techniques: Multiparty data-sharing platforms and public clouds are widely used for data processing in organisations, which raises privacy concerns. To mitigate these risks, large businesses must implement privacy-enhancing computation techniques to protect data from privacy breaches.
  5. Ransomware: As malicious elements up their game and come up with more powerful ransomware, businesses have to develop methodologies and adapt backup and recovery products to neutralise this threat.

Data Protection v/s Data Privacy 

Although often used interchangeably, data protection and data privacy have distinct purposes. Data protection concerns policies and methodologies to safeguard information from loss or potential threats through prevention, backup, and recovery mechanisms. In contrast, data privacy focuses on controlling data access points, both internal and external.

Regulations such as PDPA and GDPR govern data protection, while data privacy is primarily guided by standards such as ISO 27701, a Privacy Information Management System (PIMS) standard that is an extension of the ISO 27001 Information Security Management System (ISMS) standard.


Data protection and data security should be a top priority for all businesses, given that data is their most valuable asset. To comply with global guidelines, organisations must adhere to global compliance requirements and policies that align with international standards. Implementing and certifying to these standards may require expertise from professionals to ensure maximum effectiveness and efficiency.

As an internationally recognised assessment and certification body, TÜV SÜD can support organisations in their journey to protect and safeguard its data through our comprehensive portfolio of data protection and data privacy solutions, including:

These services enable businesses to grow and expand with minimal fear of data disruptions.


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