Essential Tips for GDPR Compliant Document Storage

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has brought sweeping changes regarding how businesses store and handle personal data. Compliance with this regulation is mandatory and can be quite complex. Document storage and management are two areas where GDPR can have a significant impact.
Personal data can be stored on paper or in electronic form such as emails, databases, and spreadsheets. Hence, it is important to understand the various methods and technologies available that can help your organization remain GDPR compliant and enhance security and accessibility of stored documents.

Below are the essential tips to consider for GDPR compliant document storage.

1. Review and update your data storage policy

A data storage policy is a written document that outlines the rules for how your organization stores and manages electronic and paper documents containing personal data. These policies should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure they are up-to-date and relevant to the current state of your business.

2. Classify your data

A crucial step in storing personal data correctly is to identify the type of data you have. GDPR requires that businesses must classify data types and categorize them according to their level of protection and sensitivity. This way, it is easier to put them in the right category, manage them, and assign appropriate access and security measures.

3. Use secure systems for data storage

GDPR dictates that businesses must use increasingly secure methods of storing personal data—be it paper or electronic. As such, make sure your organization uses modern, secure digital storage systems for electronic data and locked cabinets for paper documents. Remember that only authorized personnel should have access to locked cabinets in your office.

4. Use encryption

GDPR dictates that encryption should be used to provide security to stored personal data. Encryption makes the data unreadable and inaccessible by unauthorized parties in case of a breach or loss.

5. Have a system of access control

A good system of access control requires authorization to access stored personal data. This way, only authorized staff with specific privileges are permitted to access sensitive data. Similarly, define guidelines and policies on how to store and access the data properly.

6. Retention of documents

GDPR also requires businesses to ensure retention periods for personal data are set and adhered to. The retention period should be based on legal and operational requirements, and it should also consider the type of personal data being stored.

7. Data Backup and Disaster Recovery

Ensuring personal data is backed up, and a disaster recovery plan is in place is essential. Data can be lost or corrupted, either due to human errors or systems failures. It is, therefore, necessary to have backup and disaster recovery procedures in place.

8. Document Destruction

Storing data, including sensitive personal information longer than necessary, is not permitted by GDPR. A destruction policy for shredding or deleting documents containing personal data should be in place once the retention period is up.


As organizations begin to respond to GDPR as the new reality, it is crucial to implement new procedures, and review, update, and revise policies, including document management and storage practices. This article provides indispensable tips to ensure that your organization's document storage practices are GDPR compliant and enhance the security of personal data. By following these tips and seeking expert guidance, you can safeguard personal data and comply with GDPR regulations.

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