How to Ensure GDPR Compliance with Document Storage

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that seeks to protect the personal data of European Union (EU) citizens. It affects companies that handle personal data of individuals in the EU, regardless of whether they are EU-based or not. The regulation came into force in May 2018 and has significant implications for businesses that store personally identifiable information (PII) of EU citizens. One of the primary areas of concern for GDPR compliance is document storage. In this article, we will explore the measures businesses can take to ensure GDPR compliance with document storage.

What is GDPR?

The GDPR has a broad scope that covers all organizations that process personal data of EU citizens, regardless of their physical location. The regulation seeks to harmonize the existing data protection laws in the EU, improve the rights of individuals, and enforce the obligations of businesses that handle personal data. GDPR requires businesses to obtain and document the consent of individuals before processing their data. The regulation also gives individuals the right to access, rectify, and erase their personal data.

Why is GDPR compliance with document storage important?

Businesses that store personal data must comply with GDPR to avoid severe penalties. The regulation empowers EU supervisory authorities to impose fines of up to €20 million or 4% of the company's global annual revenue, whichever is greater. The penalties are not limited to data breaches; supervisory authorities may also impose penalties for non-compliance with GDPR's principles, such as insufficient technical and organizational measures to protect personal data.

Tips for ensuring GDPR compliance with document storage

1. Conduct a data audit

Conducting a data audit is the first step towards GDPR compliance. The audit should identify all the types of personal data held by the business, where it is stored, and who has access to it. The audit should also identify all the data processors and sub-processors that handle personal data on behalf of the business.

2. Implement access controls

GDPR requires businesses to implement access controls that restrict access to personal data based on the user's role and authorization level. Access controls should be implemented to ensure that only authorized personnel can access personal data. The controls should also be configured to record and monitor access to personal data to detect any unauthorized access or misuse.

3. Encrypt personal data

Personal data must be encrypted when stored to ensure its confidentiality and integrity. Encryption is a process of encoding data to render it unreadable without the encryption key. Encrypted data is considered unreadable and unintelligible, and therefore, even if the data is accessed by unauthorized personnel, they will not be able to read it.

4. Implement a data retention policy

GDPR requires businesses to adopt a data retention policy that sets out how long personal data will be retained and when it will be deleted. Companies that store personal data beyond the retention period risk incurring significant fines. The data retention policy should consider the business's legal and regulatory requirements, as well as the need to store data for historical, scientific, or statistical purposes.

5. Implement data backup and disaster recovery procedures

Data backup and disaster recovery procedures are essential to ensure that personal data is not lost or compromised in the event of an accident, disaster, or cyber attack. The backup and recovery procedures should ensure the integrity and confidentiality of personal data and should be regularly tested to ensure their effectiveness.


GDPR compliance with document storage is critical for businesses that store personal data. Companies must implement measures to protect personal data from unauthorized access, preserve its confidentiality and integrity, and ensure its correct and lawful use. Failure to comply with GDPR can result in severe penalties, including fines and reputational damage. Therefore, businesses must understand their responsibilities under GDPR and implement adequate measures to ensure compliance.

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