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Understanding Data Retention Policies for Regulatory Compliance Practices

May 17, 2023

data rentention

Depending on your industry and the nature of your business, you may be obligated to comply with some fairly serious data retention requirements. This is particularly crucial for IT teams, as the loss of data resulting from ransomware attacks, accidental deletions, or other unforeseen incidents can lead to significant fines. To ensure compliance, it is essential to understand the specific duration for which data must be retained. Here is a breakdown of key regulatory compliance standards with an explanation of respective guidelines regarding the duration of data retention.

HIPAA – Data Retention Guidelines and the 6-Year Rule for Healthcare

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) focuses on protecting personally identifiable information (PII) in the healthcare and health insurance sectors. While medical record retention policies vary by individual US state, HIPAA outlines specific guidelines for the retention of other HIPAA-related documents. According to HIPAA, these documents must be retained for a period of 6 years from their creation date or from the date a policy was last modified.

GDPR – Guidelines Set by Data Retention Policy

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive set of rules governing the protection of personal information for citizens of the European Union.

While GDPR does not provide a specific timeframe for retaining personal data, it emphasizes that data cannot be kept indefinitely. To comply with GDPR requirements, companies must establish a data retention policy that defines the duration for which personal information will be retained.

CCPA – Data Retention Guidelines Based on Necessity

The California Privacy Rights Act (CCPA) is a significant privacy regulation that grants California residents enhanced control over their personal information. Under CCPA, businesses are required to implement measures to protect consumer data and provide transparency regarding data collection and usage. CCPA imposes obligations on businesses to avoid retaining unnecessary data and to implement reasonable security measures to safeguard the collected information. Complying with CCPA data retention guidelines is crucial for businesses operating in California, as non-compliance can result in substantial fines and reputational damage.

GLBA – Guidelines for Financial Institutions and the 6-Year Rule 

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) is a crucial regulatory framework designed to protect private data collected by financial institutions. To meet GLBA compliance requirements, financial institutions must maintain a data retention period of six years. Adhering to GLBA guidelines demonstrates a commitment to data protection, regulatory compliance, and maintaining the trust of customers in the financial industry. Safeguarding data for the specified duration is vital for fulfilling GLBA’s data retention obligations.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) –  Data Retention Guidelines and the 7 Years or 5 Years Rule

Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), the retention period for financial records depends on the type of information being stored. However, certain requirements are in place to ensure compliance. According to SOX, receivable or payable ledgers and tax returns must be retained for 7 years, while customer invoices should be kept for 5 years. Payroll records and bank statements are required to be retained indefinitely.

PCI-DSS – Guidelines for Audit Logs and the 1-Year Rule

In accordance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), specific rules govern the retention of system and audit logs that document access to stored data. These logs must be retained. However, for a minimum of 1 year to ensure compliance. However, when it comes to credit card data, it must not be retained if not needed to maintain the security of sensitive cardholder information.

Empower your Business with highly compliant solutions 

Take control of your data retention and compliance needs by implementing robust data retention policies and leveraging secure storage solutions offered by Nexsan. Our innovative technologies empower organizations to efficiently manage data, and enhance protection, scalability, and availability. Prepare your business for any situation and gain peace of mind with Nexsan. Explore our comprehensive range of compliant data storage solutions and take charge of your data retention strategy. Contact Nexsan today to empower your business with highly compliant solutions.

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