GDPR and Document Backup Storage: What You Need to Know

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has a significant impact on how organizations manage data. One crucial aspect that most businesses overlook is backup storage. In this article, we’ll explore how GDPR impacts backup storage, what businesses need to know, and how they can comply.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation is a set of data protection laws that came into effect in May 2018. It replaces the Data Protection Act 1998 in the UK, taking into account the increased use of data in the digital age.
The primary aim of GDPR is to protect the personal data of EU citizens. It sets out a range of obligations for businesses that process personal data and provides new rights to individuals with regards to their data.

What is backup storage?

Backup storage is the process of copying data from one location to another for the purposes of disaster recovery or archiving. It usually involves storing data on an external device, such as a hard drive or cloud storage.

Why is backup storage important?

A backup storage system is crucial for businesses because it ensures data is protected in the event of an outage, natural disaster, or cyber-attack. Without backups, businesses risk losing valuable data and causing significant damage to their reputation.

How does GDPR impact backup storage?

Under GDPR, businesses are required to follow several key principles when processing personal data. These include:

- Data must be processed fairly, lawfully, and transparently.

- Data must be collected for a specific purpose and not used for anything else.

- Data must be accurate and kept up to date.

- Data must be kept for no longer than necessary.

- Data must be processed in a secure manner.

- People must have the right to access their data, have it corrected, and have it deleted.

With regards to backup storage, GDPR has several implications for businesses:

1. Data breach notification

Under GDPR, businesses must notify the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of a data breach within 72 hours. If a backup contains personal data, businesses must ensure they can access it quickly to identify the extent of the breach and take any necessary action.

2. Data retention

Under GDPR, personal data must not be kept for any longer than necessary. If a business is backing up personal data, they must ensure that backups are regularly reviewed and deleted if they contain information that is no longer required.

3. Consent

Under GDPR, businesses must obtain explicit consent from individuals before processing their data. If backups contain personal data, businesses must ensure that the necessary consent has been obtained before taking backups.

4. Security measures

Under GDPR, businesses must ensure that personal data is processed in a secure manner. This includes backup storage. Businesses must ensure that backup storage is secure and cannot be accessed by unauthorized individuals.

How can businesses comply with GDPR when using backup storage?

There are several steps businesses can take to ensure they comply with GDPR when using backup storage:
- Be transparent – when obtaining consent, businesses must explain what data will be backed up and how it will be used.
- Encrypt backups – businesses must ensure that backups are encrypted and cannot be accessed by unauthorized individuals.
- Implement a retention policy – backups must be regularly reviewed and deleted if no longer required.
- Conduct regular security audits – businesses should regularly conduct security audits to ensure that backup storage is secure and up to date.


Backup storage is a crucial aspect of data management for businesses. However, it’s often overlooked when it comes to GDPR compliance. Businesses must ensure that they follow GDPR principles when conducting backups, including data protection, transparency, retention, and security. This will help protect personal data and avoid any penalties that might arise from GDPR non-compliance.

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