Confidential VS Sensitive Information: How Are They Different?

Usually, we mention confidential and sensitive information in the same context. Any data that we cannot share – like bank details, passwords and client details (in case of business and professionals), we call it either sensitive or confidential. However, if you observe carefully, between confidential vs sensitive information, we use the former for organizations. On the other hand, we use the term “sensitive” more at an individual level.

What Do You Mean by Sensitive Information?

We use the term “sensitive” for any data that identifies an individual or an organization. At a personal level, sensitive information would include the following about you: 

  • Legal identities like passport details
  • Health data 
  • Biometric data 
  • Credentials of your debit or credit cards 
  • Information about your education
  • Other details about you like race, ethnicity and religion

When you keep this data in soft copy, you should protect it with a password or encryption. This is because unauthorized access can lead to data breach, which may even pose a threat for you. 

What Comprises Confidential Information?

While sensitive information is more closely related to personal identity, confidential data focuses on organizations only. Including identification details, it consists of everything else that a business organization must keep with itself. In other words, confidential information includes sensitive data about individuals in the organization along with other trade secrets too.

Here’s what you include in confidential information:

  • Personal identities of owners and employees
  • Details about suppliers and clients
  • Bank account information of the organization as well as its stakeholders
  • Health & biometric records of employees
  • Contact information of employees and their families
  • Marketing & sales strategies 
  • Pricing strategies – including actual costing
  • Copyrights and patents
  • Plans of upcoming projects
  • Certain address details 

Sensitive & Confidential Information: How Does Their Breach Affect You? 

When sensitive data is breached, it is misused and sold in the dark web, thus encouraging crime. In most cases, it is likely to harm you at a financial level.

On the other hand, when confidential business information is leaked, it can drastically harm the organization and its brand in many ways. At the same time, confidential information does contain sensitive information of many individuals along with yours. 

So, between confidential vs sensitive information, you may say that the former contains a lot more data than the latter. While the breach of sensitive data harms one individual, the breach of confidential information harms an entire organization and many other individuals associated with it.

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