Data protection

What is data protection?

What is data protection?

Protection of data encompasses the actions and measures implemented to ensure the security, confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. Its primary aim is to reduce the risks of unauthorized access, manipulation, theft, loss, or damage to data.

Organizations are obligated to perpetually enhance the quality of their personal data protection processes, as well as safeguard other types of information (e.g., financial data of a company), adapting to evolving threats and regulatory demands.

What constitutes personal data?

Personal data encompasses information relating to either an identified or potentially identifiable living person. This category not only includes direct identifiers but also aggregates of information that, when pieced together, can reveal the identity of an individual.

Examples of personal data include:

  • Identification data (full name, residential address, identification numbers, passport number, or ID card number, etc.);
  • Demographic data (gender, marital status, nationality);
  • Financial data (bank account number, credit card number, financial transaction history);
  • Professional data (job position, employment history);
  • Medical data (medical history);
  • Biometric data (fingerprints, retina pattern, voice);
  • Geolocation data (history of mobile device locations, etc.).

Please note:

  • Encrypted or pseudonymized data that can lead to the re-identification of an individual still qualifies as personal data.
  • Irreversibly anonymized data that effectively prevents the identification of an individual does not constitute personal data.

Personal data protection and GDPR

Within the realm of personal data, a particular subset known as sensitive or confidential data stands out. As defined by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this subset includes:

  • Fingerprints and characteristics of the retina;
  • Handwritten signatures;
  • Medical records and genetic information;
  • Preferences regarding alcohol consumption;
  • Information on sexual orientation;
  • Details of union membership;
  • Political beliefs;
  • Religious convictions and philosophical views;
  • Information concerning racial or ethnic origin.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires both private and public organizations that handle personal data to adhere to its standards across various processing activities. Consequently, Human Resources (HR) departments need to meticulously ensure that their personal data processing practices are in full compliance with legal requirements. Failure to do so could result in severe financial penalties for the company.

What are the data protection processes and regulations in a company?

Company data protection processes encompass measures to safeguard the security and confidentiality of personal data, among other types, that are collected, processed, and stored. These measures cover a range of actions, including:

  • Encrypting data to make it unreadable to unauthorized individuals using mathematical algorithms;
  • Managing access, i.e., controlling who has access to data by establishing a data administrator and checking what resources are shared;
  • Security audits, i.e., analyzing logs and confirming compliance with security policies and legal regulations;
  • Training employees on data security, including cybersecurity;
  • Controlling and responding to security incidents (hacking attempts, data leaks, ransomware attacks);
  • Adapting company processes to legal (GDPR) and industry security standards.

What is cybersecurity in data protection?

Cybersecurity involves various forms of protecting infrastructure, networks, IoT, cloud, and applications from cyberattacks. Since both individuals and organizations can be targets of cyberattacks, numerous protective measures have been developed, from simple password management to the use of advanced security tools supported by AI and ML.

Cybersecurity enables:

  • Safe Internet use, such as shopping or banking transactions;
  • Smooth provision of public sector services (medical services, rail transport, electricity transmission, etc.);
  • Defense of internal networks in companies against hacker or hacktivist attacks;
  • Protection of smart gadgets, production machines, routers, etc., against hacker attacks;
  • Data protection in the cloud;
  • Safe use of various types of software on different end devices.

Tools for ensuring cybersecurity include firewalls, antivirus and anti-malware software, encryption tools, Single Sign-On (SSO) systems, and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).


Maintaining accurate data processing and secure storage presents a significant challenge for all organizations, where protecting personal data is critically important. The security of candidate and employee information significantly influences a company's reputation. Legal violations or security breaches can tarnish this reputation, potentially complicating efforts to attract and retain top talent. To mitigate these risks, HR professionals should employ various security-enhancing tools and features, such as two-factor authentication and role-based access control, to bolster data protection.

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