Staying Safe with GDPR: 7 Principles to Make Sure Your Business is Covered

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If you’re a business owner, you must ensure your business is GDPR compliant by understanding and enforcing the key principles of GDPR within your business.


The short answer is because if you don’t, your business will be exposed to lawsuits. GDPR is administered in the regions of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). If your business collects, processes, or stores the personal data of the citizens of the EU, your business must adhere to the principles stated in the GDPR.

But you must understand them first, right?

Let’s get to know the principles of the General Data Protection Regulation.

General Data Protection Regulation

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most important data privacy regulation in the 21st century. It introduces rules and regulations regarding the collection, processing, and management of personal information data.

General Data Protection Regulation came into effect on 25th May 2018 in the EU and revokes and replaces the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. The regulation applies to the personal information data of the citizens of the EU.

7 Key Principles of the GDPR Compliance

Article 5 of the GDPR lists out seven key principles that work at the core of this data protection regime for regulating personal data of the citizens of the EU.

1. Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency

The first principle of the GDPR asks you to process the personal data in a fair, lawful, and transparent manner. Of course, it’s more complex than what can be explained in a single sentence. So, let’s understand each of them separately.

1.1 Lawfulness

The idea of lawfulness means that all the processes in your organization related to handling the personal data of the citizens of the EU must adhere to the rules and regulations mentioned in the GDPR. The legislation mentions rules and regulations for every step of your data collection and management policy.

That means the complete process of collecting, processing, and storing the personal information data must meet the requirements given in the GDPR.

1.2 Fairness

The concept of fairness states that you shall be fair to the clients whose data you’re managing in your organization. Your actions and processes must equate to the notice you provided to your clients regarding managing their data.

Simply put, you must keep the promise made to the clients while collecting their data. You shall only collect personal data for the purpose, process it in the manner, and store them for the time period you promised to the clients.

1.3 Transparency

The notion of transparency is pretty clear — you shall not hide details from the subject clients about managing their personal data. You must inform them about the purposes and the time period of processing and storing their data.

The clients must know everything about their data — what you’re going to do with their data, who all will have access to your data and why, what processes will you put in place to protect their data, etc. Moreover, you must inform them in advance if you’re going to change one of your promises in the future.

2. Purpose Limitation

The second principle of the GDPR limits you to collect personal data for a “specific, explicit, and legitimate purpose”, as directly stated in the legislation. You must explain the purpose of data collection and then store the clients’ data for the least amount of time necessary to fulfill the declared purpose.

So, you shall not collect the data for one purpose, then process or store them for some other purpose. Simply put, it limits you to collect, process, and store data just for the purpose you stated to the clients while collecting their data.

3. Data Minimization

The third principle of the GDPR asks you to collect the minimum amount of personal data that is adequate, limited, and relevant for fulfilling the purpose of the data. For example, you shall not ask more data from the clients in the hope of making use of the extra data in the future but ask just the required data.

4. Accuracy

The fourth principle of the GDPR directs you to take every possible action to update or remove inaccurate or incomplete data. Moreover, the clients have the right to request you to delete or update their incorrect data, and you must adhere to their requests. Also, you must fulfill such requests in a month.

5. Storage Limitation

The fifth principle of the GDPR asks you to delete personal information data after its purpose is fulfilled. The legislation doesn’t enforce any deadlines or timescales for storing the data. That said, the timescales will be determined by your business’ processes and the key purpose of collecting personal data.

6. Integrity and Confidentiality (Security)

The sixth principle of the GDPR directs you to handle the clients’ personal data in a safe and secure manner. So, you must protect your GDPR data from unauthorized or unlawful processing or storage, accidental loss, destruction, or damage using the required organizational and technical data integrity or safety procedures.

Moreover, the term “confidentiality” in this principle means you must maintain proper anonymization or pseudonymization systems to safeguard the identity of your clients. It’s a good practice to get some official certification as well, say ISO 270001, to demonstrate your commitment towards cybersecurity.

7. Accountability

The seventh and the last principle of the GDPR talks about your business’s accountability under the regime of the GDPR. It’s a new principle that focuses on two elements: your and your business’s responsibility to adhere to the GDPR and your capacity to demonstrate compliance for the principles of the GDPR.

The legislation requires you to document all the policies and procedures held in your organization regarding the collection, processing, and storage of personal data. Also, you must prepare and justify every step of your data management policy in the official document proving the compliance with the GDPR.

That’s all about the key principles administered by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Did you find it helpful? Please write a comment below.

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Itai Elizur is the COO at Inbound Junction, a content marketing agency specializing in helping startups and business increase their online visibility. Prior to joining the Inbound Junction team, Itai worked as a Creative Manager at, and as the Director of Marketing at Infolinks, the 3rd largest website network in the world.