AWS Security Blog

Privacy video: Innovating securely

I’m pleased to share a video of a conversation about privacy I had with my colleague Laura Dawson, the North American Lead at the AWS Institute. Privacy is becoming more of a strategic issue for our customers, similar to how security is today. We discussed how, while the two topics are similar in some ways, they also have important differences. We also talked about the importance of building a strong privacy program, and how AWS helps customers safeguard privacy while still taking advantage of digital modernization opportunities.

The differences between security and privacy aren’t fully understood in some industries. Security principles are better known in the industry – security involves considering the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information. It’s about keeping unauthorized parties away from your data, and about making sure access to your systems and data is appropriate. Similarly, privacy is about control of data through its entire lifecycle, specifically personal identifiable information (PII). That includes the collection, use, transmission, and deletion of that data. Properly managing the privacy of PII is like security when you consider the “access control” aspect, but privacy is about making sure you always have granular control of what is happening to that PII from formation/gathering through to deletion.

Unlike security, which is now commonly recognized as a core business function, privacy practices and principles are still in the early stages of being widely accepted. This is why AWS advocates for organizations to follow the principles of Privacy by Design, to ensure that privacy processes and controls are baked into everything you do.

I also discussed with Laura some of the privacy trends I see happening in the tech industry right now, such as homomorphic encryption, anonymization, and PII discovery tools. The privacy challenges organizations face today, however, aren’t just technology challenges; they’re also business challenges, of how to get value from the data you control, in a way that meets privacy best practices and accounts for your customers’ interests.

For more about these and other privacy topics, check out the video of my conversation with Laura. To learn more about privacy at AWS, check out the Data Privacy Center and Data Protection at AWS.


Chad Woolf

Chad joined Amazon in 2010 and built the AWS compliance functions from the ground up, including audit and certifications, privacy, contract compliance, control automation engineering and security process monitoring. Chad’s work also includes enabling public sector and regulated industry adoption of the AWS cloud and leads the AWS trade and product compliance team.