By Mike Koclanes

There’s been a lot of discussion in the press, in blog posts, in government debates and around the proverbial “water cooler” about Internet Security and cyber security. With all the public disclosures of data breaches, it’s no wonder there is an increased focus on securing our data and personal information.

All this information might leave you wondering—is there a difference between Internet Security and privacy? Does Internet Security ensure my privacy? The reality is that Internet Security measures are necessary but not always sufficient when it comes to protecting your privacy with Internet messaging and you might not be as well covered in this area as you think.

What does Internet Security mean?

It’s no surprise that Internet Security is a catch-all term for a very broad issue covering security for transactions made over the Internet. Generally, Internet Security encompasses web browser security, the security of data entered through a web form, and overall authentication and protection of data sent via Internet Protocol.

Internet Security relies on specific resources and standards for protecting data that gets sent through the Internet. This includes various kinds of encryption. Other aspects of a secure Web setup includes firewalls, which block unwanted traffic, anti-malware, anti-spyware, and anti-virus programs that work from specific networks or devices to monitor Internet traffic for dangerous attachments.

Internet Security can be defined as measures that protect the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of data transmitted over the internet.

These Internet Security solutions use encryption to prevent the unwanted interception of your information while in transit across the Internet. Firewalls, encryption, access controls, and passwords prevent unwanted or malicious access to your servers and devices. All of these solutions are necessary to safeguard your information and transactions. But does this ensure that the information you send through the internet remains private?

What does Privacy really mean?

Too many people feel that privacy is freedom from unauthorized intrusion and observation. The reality is that just because the word privacy is used on the internet it does not guarantee that information is not being shared. True Privacy means that you know with whom your information is shared, and that it can be assured that it’s the only person(s) with whom it’s shared. Furthermore, you make the assumption and trust that the person(s) with whom you shared information will not distribute or use that information without your authorization. If the information is retained, it’s retained privately and securely behind firewalls by the sender, and not on unsecure and vulnerable external devices. The Enterprise sender knows where it’s stored and to whom it’s accessible.

When it comes to Internet messaging and communications, things like email and text messaging may very well be secured and yet they don’t cover the more rigid requirements for privacy.

How many times have you sent something marked confidential via email (even encrypted email) and had it reappear out of context from another source? What about the times the text messages you sent were intended for one person who later, perhaps unknowingly, forwarded the message to someone who you never intended to see it? Your organization may have excellent mobile device management and Internet Security to protect your messages sent on your phones and servers but you must consider the recipient of those messages outside of your control. Your application choice for private communications must not only encrypt the messages in transit and at rest, but prevent the message from being printed, propagated or stored on devices and servers outside of your control.

Not all messaging applications are alike so you must be careful that you actually select a private and secure messaging platform that’s architected for the highest level of privacy management and sender control. Most secure messaging applications and encrypted email only prevent the interception of the message. The content of the message isn’t safe from privacy issues of unintended forwarding, copying and printing without applications architected to ensure privacy. Your search for messaging solutions needs to expand its requirements beyond encryption to ensure your confidential communications are truly private.