How long should you keep confidential documents before disposal

Data privacy regulations are constantly evolving, and keeping up with best practices for confidential document disposal is crucial. While the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laid a strong foundation, many regions have since implemented their own data privacy laws, adding complexity to information management.


This blog post explores essential considerations for secure document disposal in the current regulatory environment.

Records & Information Management


Understanding what constitutes confidential information and its appropriate retention period is vital. Data controllers and processors, regardless of storage format (digital or physical), must ensure robust measures for sensitive data storage and destruction.

Why is Confidential Document Disposal Important?



Improper record management exposes organizations to legal repercussions, financial penalties, and reputational damage. A well-defined strategy for managing a record’s lifecycle, from creation to storage and disposal, offers significant benefits:

Cost savings
Improved efficiency
Increased control
Enhanced reputation
Boosted customer and staff satisfaction


What to Keep and When: Navigating Data Privacy Regulations


Data privacy regulations vary by region. Here are some key considerations:

  • Identify the Applicable Regulations:¬†Research the specific data privacy regulations that govern your organization’s location and the type of data you handle.
  • Classify Your Data:¬†Categorize your data based on its sensitivity and the regulations that apply to it. This will help determine retention periods.
  • Develop a Retention Schedule:¬†Create a clear policy outlining how long different types of data should be retained before secure disposal.


What Should Be Kept and When Should It Be Destroyed?


Retention periods vary depending on the data type and regulations. Common categories include:

  • Financial records (often 7-10 years)
  • Customer information (adhere to specific regulatory requirements)
  • Employee records (follow local labor laws)
  • Legal documents (retain as per legal advice)
Checklist for Confidential Document Disposal


Senior management buy-in is essential for secure disposal practices. Here’s a checklist to ensure compliance:

  • Where is information currently stored?
  • What’s the value of this information?
  • How long should it be retained based on regulations?
  • Are relevant personnel aware of retention periods?
  • What triggers record disposal?
  • Is disposal integrated into digital systems?
  • Do you have a data deletion policy?
  • Is there a regular review process for your data retention schedule?


By understanding your data privacy obligations and implementing secure disposal methods, you minimize the risk of data breaches and protect your reputation.

For secure and compliant confidential document disposal, contact Restore Datashred today!
0800 376 4422