Iubenda logo
Start generating


Table of Contents

GDPR Data Storage: What Businesses Need to Know

You’ve probably already heard of the GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation, a European regulation that governs how personal data should be lawfully processed, collected, used, protected or interacted with in general. You should also know there are some requirements when it comes to GDPR data storage.

👀 We know it can get quite complicated! That’s why we’ve complied a quick guide for you with everything you need to be aware of. Let’s dive in!

gdpr data storage

GDPR Data Storage Requirements

How should GDPR data be stored?

There are a few specific requirements you must follow when you want to store data and be compliant with the GDPR.

First, data storage needs to be in line with the main principles of GDPR, including:

  • data minimization: you should collect the minimum amount of data necessary for the purpose;
  • integrity and confidentiality: keep your users’ data safe, protected from unlawful processing or accidental loss, destruction or damage;
  • storage limitations: set a time limit (the shortest possible!). After that, erase or review the stored data.

💡 Learn more about data security here.

Here are some additional and important guidelines by the European Data Protection Board:

📌 Personal data collected should not be stored if it is not necessary for the purpose of the processing;
📌 Limit the retention period to what is necessary for the purpose;
📌 Delete or anonymize data by default when no longer necessary:
👉 the length of the period of retention depends on the purpose of the processing in question;
👉 the controller should have systematic procedures for data deletion or anonymization embedded in the processing.

How long can data be stored for GDPR?

You should limit the retention period (set duration for which the data is being stored/used) to what is necessary for the purpose, meaning the “why” of the processing. This means the length of the storage depends on how long you’ll need the data.

GDPR Data Storage Checklist

✅ 1. GDPR Data Retention Policy

After having mapped and categorized all the data collected, the data retention policy is an internal assessment that defines for each processing activity what data is stored, for how long, where, and what happens when it’s no longer needed.

It is important to regularly review this policy, as well as update data retention periods.

💡 Find out the best practices for setting up a data retention policy here.

👋 Do you process sensitive data?

🔍 Check out our guide on how to store this type of data

✅ 2. Risk Mitigation

The controller, processor or person in charge of data privacy in your company should evaluate the risks inherent in the processing. For this, publishing a Data Protection Impact Assessment (or DPIA) is recommended.

A Data Protection Impact Assessment is a process that can help you analyze and minimize the risks connected to the processing of personal data.

💡 Take a look at our DPIA template in this guide!

✅ 3. Implementation of Appropriate Measures

Under the GDPR, a main obligation that applies to you as a business is the implementation of appropriate measures and necessary safeguards for respecting data protection principles, and data subjects’ rights.

These measures usually include:

  • Encryption and pseudonymisation – two technical security measures that are specifically recommended by the regulation. With encryption, even if data is compromised, it’s unreadable and unusable;
  • Access controls – this means ensuring that only authorized personnel can access personal data and continuously review access permissions;
  • Employee training – to make sure employees are trained on main data protection and storage practices.
Curious to learn more about GDPR requirements?

Here are 5 things you need to do now to comply with GDPR