Pipedrive logo The CRM platform to grow your business
  • Great for entrepreneurs
  • Powerful data analytics
  • Manage sales and data
Rippling logo Manage all your employee data
  • Run in 90 seconds
  • 100% error-free
  • Automatic tx filing
Wix logo Powerful web builder and advanced business tools
  • Great for startups
  • Powerful web page builder
  • E-commerce available
Planable logo Supercharged content planning
  • Great for marketing
  • Better than lists or sheets
  • Manage social media
Webador logo Create a new website in 10 minutes. Easy.
  • Launch your website fast
  • Powerful data intuitive
  • No coding skills needed

Data destruction policy – Everything you need to know and a free template

Updated on 17 June 2022

A data destruction policy is a document that outlines how data will be destroyed when it is no longer needed. This document is often created in accordance with local law requirements, such as GDPR or CCPA, as data destruction is an essential part of protecting the privacy of individuals. In this article, we will discuss what a data destruction policy is, how it should be set up, and the common mistakes that businesses make when creating this document.

Quick, easy, no commitment!

When it comes to data destruction, there are two main methods:

  1. Physical data destruction – the data is physically destroyed so that it can no longer be accessed or used. This can be done by shredding paper documents or destroying hard drives.
  2. Digital data destruction – on the other hand, involves making data unrecoverable by using data erasure software to overwrite data or by encrypting data so that it cannot be accessed without a key.

Understand which laws apply to you

There are a few different laws that data destruction policies need to take into account.

Pipedrive logo The CRM platform to grow your business
  • Great for entrepreneurs
  • Powerful data analytics
  • Manage sales and data
Rippling logo Manage all your employee data
  • Run in 90 seconds
  • 100% error-free
  • Automatic tx filing
Wix logo Powerful web builder and advanced business tools
  • Great for startups
  • Powerful web page builder
  • E-commerce available
Planable logo Supercharged content planning
  • Great for marketing
  • Better than lists or sheets
  • Manage social media
Webador logo Create a new website in 10 minutes. Easy.
  • Launch your website fast
  • Powerful data intuitive
  • No coding skills needed

GDPR

If you are collecting and storing data from individuals in Europe then you must be GDPR compliant. The General Data Protection Regulation is a set of regulations that businesses must follow in order to protect the personal data of individuals. If you are collecting, storing, or using the personal data of individuals, then you need to have a data destruction policy in place that meets the requirements of GDPR.

CCPA

Another law that you may need to take into account is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). This law is similar to GDPR, but it only applies to businesses that operate in California. If you are doing business in California, then you will need to make sure that your policy meets the requirements of CCPA.

HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is another law that data destruction policies need to take into account. This law applies to businesses that handle the personal health information of individuals. If you are handling this type of data, then you will need to have a policy in place that meets the requirements of HIIPA.

Finally, you should also be aware of data retention laws in your country or region. These laws dictate how long businesses must keep data before it can be destroyed. It is important to note that data retention laws take precedence over data destruction policies, so you will need to make sure that your policy complies with data retention laws.

What businesses must take into account when creating their data destruction policy

Firstly, businesses must consider the type of data that is being destroyed. For example, if you are destroying paper documents, you will need to use a shredder that is capable of destroying the data beyond reconstruction. If you are destroying hard drives, you will need to ensure that the data is physically destroyed so that it cannot be accessed or used again.

How to destroy sensitive data
If the data is sensitive, you will need to take extra steps to ensure that it is properly destroyed. For example, you may need to use data erasure software to overwrite the data multiple times or encrypt the data before destroying it.

Also businesses must consider the appropriate disposal method. Once the data has been destroyed, you will need to dispose of it in a secure manner. This means that you will need to choose a disposal method that is approved by the policy. For example, you may need to shred the data and then dispose of it in a secure landfill.

What to include in a data destruction policy

When setting up a policy, there are a few key things that you will need to include. The first is a list of the data that will be destroyed. This should include all data that is no longer needed, including paper documents and hard drives.

The second is the destruction method that will be used. As we mentioned above, there are two main methods of data destruction: physical and digital. You will need to choose the method that you will be using to destroy the data.

The third is the disposal method. This is how you will dispose of the data once it has been destroyed. You will also need to choose a disposal method that is approved by the policy.

This checklist will help when creating your data destruction policy:

  • Developed by a team of data destruction experts
  • Takes into account the type of data being destroyed
  • Sensitive data is given extra protection
  • Data is disposed of in a secure manner
  • What data is to be destroyed
  • The destruction method that will be used
  • The disposal method that will be used

Creating a policy is an important part of data security. By taking the time to create a policy, you can ensure that your data is properly protected and that you are compliant with data protection laws.

Common mistakes when creating a data destruction policy

There are a few common mistakes that businesses make when creating their policy. The first is not including all data that needs to be destroyed. This can lead to data being left behind that could be accessed or used without the business’s knowledge.

The second is not using a destruction method that is approved by the policy. This can lead to data being improperly destroyed, which could put the business at risk.

The third is not disposing of the data in a secure manner. This can lead to data being accessed or used after it has been destroyed, which could put the business at risk.

Data destruction policy template

This is a template of a data destruction policy. This policy should be customised to fit the specific needs of your business.

Data destruction policy
The data destruction policy applies to all data that is to be destroyed, including but not limited to the following:
– Personal data
– Confidential data
– Trade secrets
– Proprietary information
Definitions:
– “Data” refers to any information that is stored electronically.
– “Destruction” refers to the process of making data unreadable and unusable.
– “Disposal” refers to the process of discarding data in a way
Purpose:
The data destruction policy is designed to protect data that is to be destroyed by specifying the destruction method and disposal method that will be used.
Authority:
– The data destruction policy is authorised by ____________.
– The data destruction policy shall be reviewed and updated as needed by ____________.
Policy:
All data that is to be destroyed must be destroyed using an approved destruction method. The data must then be disposed of in a secure manner.
Roles and Responsibilities:
– It is the responsibility of ____________ to ensure that data is destroyed in accordance with this policy.
– It is the responsibility of ____________ to dispose of data in a secure manner.
Retention and Disposal schedule:
– Data shall be destroyed ____________ after it is no longer needed.
– Data shall be disposed of in a secure manner ____________.
Compliance:
All employees who have access to data that is to be destroyed must comply with this policy.
Destruction Method:
The data destruction policy requires the use of an approved destruction method. The following are approved destruction methods:
– Physical destruction
– Erasure
– Overwriting
Disposal Method:
Disposal Method:
The data disposal method must be secure. The following are acceptable disposal methods:
– Shredding
– Burning
– Pulping
Exceptions:
Policy Responsibilities:
– The data owner is responsible for ensuring that data is destroyed using an approved destruction method.
– The data custodian is responsible for ensuring that data is disposed of in a secure manner.
Enforcement:
This policy will be enforced by the data owner.
Policy review:
This policy will be reviewed every ____.
Date of last review:
Approved by:
Name ______________________
Title ______________________
Date ______________________

FAQ

What is a data destruction policy?

A data destruction policy is a document that outlines how data will be destroyed. This policy should include all data that needs to be destroyed, the destruction method that will be used, and the disposal method that will be used.

Why do I need a data destruction policy?

If you are collecting personal data, you may be required to have a data destruction policy in place. This is because the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires businesses to take measures to protect the data they collect. A data destruction policy is one way to protect the data that you collect.

How do I set up a data destruction policy?

To set up a data destruction policy, you will need to choose a destruction method and a disposal method. You will also need to include all data that needs to be destroyed in the policy.

What are the common mistakes when creating a data destruction policy?

The three most common mistakes when creating a data destruction policy are not including all data that needs to be destroyed, not using an approved destruction method, and not disposing of data in a secure manner.

Reviewed by , Managing Director

Compare ⓘ