What is Data Protection and How to Protect Data

If we are being objective, we would realize that no matter how many safekeeping measures we exercise on our digital devices, they are still prone to damage, loss, and most especially being stolen. It is this realization that strengthens the need to emphasize the importance of data protection. Noting that data protection is not limited to an umbrella of a general loss of our digital devices, what do we understand by data protection?

Data protection is the process of safeguarding important data from compromise or loss, important data here going beyond our personal data. Basically, the idea of data protection is to store data away quickly by way of encryption to prevent any form of compromise. More than ever, corruption, fraud, and the wake of Covid-19 amongst others have necessitated the need for our data protection.

The aim of data protection is not only to prevent data from falling into the hands of corrupt persons but also to act as insurance against loss. It makes data available upon request. Thus, the purpose of data protection comes under two branches; data availability and data management. The increasing inflow of data every second, however, tends to create intermissions in the speed of data protection processes. 

Data protection can be accessed from the angles of traditional data protection (eg. data backup), data security, and data privacy. Data privacy which is an area of data protection involves the safeguarding of sensitive data such as intellectual property, financial information as well as ones’ personal and confidential data.

Data privacy entails the right to determine who can access your private information. Data privacy ensures that what is private indeed stays private. It creates a reassurance of safety in the midst of a steaming crowd of potential fraudulent people. The assurance that no random person can see through you and analyse your choices and actions based on data collected on you.

Security which is the aim of data protection ensures that your personal data is protected from external and internal interferences and possible threats. It reserves you the right to determine who has access to your data spreading across to the control of the process of how and where such personal information is stored as well as how it is stored thanks to the regulations guiding those processes.

In recent times we have seen the status of privacy rise above an average concept to a recognized fundamental right and an element of liberty. Our mobile devices thanks to accessibility, technology, and mobility have become our one-stop for everything we do and are the primary collector of our data. Thus there is a need to protect it as it, in turn, safeguards our personal information by way of its encryption facilities. Safety here does not imply locking it up in a cupboard or tying it on a string around our necks, that is not realistic.

There are various ways by which the data contained in our primary devices can be protected. Simple steps would include;

1. locking your devices by way of passwords, pins, or patterns.

2. Updating your software.

3. Backing up your data.

4. Be selective of the apps and links you download.

5. Be mindful of the networks you connect to.

6. Creating or setting up remote wiping or finding my device as other devices may indicate.

7. Do not give out your personal information to anyone

8. And most importantly, note your IMEI numbers.

Is your financial information really protected on these devices? If we are to consider data privacy in the true sense of it, even when we succeed to keep our personal data safe from lurking fraudsters and scammers, a large percentage of that data is not exactly kept private.

This data is actually constantly being collected by financial institutions, network providers, software operators, and many of the likes and analysed into information which is in turn used to facilitate the production of their services and products. Although the customers become beneficiaries of these innovations, they are not entirely aware of the parts of themselves being exposed in the process.

It is always easy to click on the ‘Yes I Agree’ icon without reading through what we actually give consent to. It is as a result of this that a burden has been placed on technology corporations and financial institutions alike by way of regulations and guidelines to protect consumer information within their access.

This broadens the scope of consumer protection, especially for financial service providers. Flowing from this, there is a need to strengthen financial literacy and create awareness on the issues arising from the protection of personal data which is the purpose of this article.


About Sophia Udolisa Chinazo

UDOLISA, Sophia Chinazo, a Graduate of the University of Uyo is a Nigerian Writer/Lawyer/Content Creator. She is currently an Associate at Opal Law Office and a member of the Chartered Institute of Conciliators and Mediators. Her areas of interest are in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Commercial/Corporate Practice, Labour, and Fintech. She is passionate about creating awareness on legal issues and questions that people may have thus her drive in creating content for that purpose".