What is data minimization?
Data minimization refers to the practice of limiting the collection, storage, and processing of data to only what is strictly necessary for business operations. Multiple regulatory bodies, including the GDPR, have mandated organizations to embrace data minimization as a best practice to ensure data integrity and privacy.
Benefits of data minimization
Organizations with free reign to store and process customer data without limitations threaten the privacy and security of that data. Listed below are the top benefits of embracing data minimization in an organization.
1. Reduces data storage costs
Managing unwanted data within data stores helps organizations cope with explosive data growth. Periodically scan and manage data with no business value and clear up your tier 1 storage for business-critical information.
2. Strengthens data security posture
Storing vast quantities of unneeded personally identifiable information and electronic protected health information across multiple data repositories can leave your organization vulnerable to targeted attacks. Moreover, protecting data from unwanted exposure, theft, and loss is easier with less data to secure.
3. Fortifies data privacy measures
Unlimited harvesting of personal data has yielded far too many repercussions like targeted advertising and invasive consumer behavior modeling. Deleting personal data at the end of its lawful usage ensures data privacy.
4. Smooths business operations
Optimizing data debris is vital when users need to find and process critical business information from data stores. It is easier to maintain data integrity and manage data availability with less data to go through.
5. Maintains compliance with data regulations
Multiple regulatory bodies, including the GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, and more, mandate that organizations can collect and retain only the data necessary to provide relevant products and services. Practicing data minimization helps organizations meet these compliance standards.
GDPR and data minimization principle
The GDPR applies to all EU residents. It is designed to provide them with more visibility and control over the way their personal data is collected and processed by businesses.
Article 5(1)(c) of the GDPR states:
"Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed ('data minimisation')."
The GDPR helped reinforce the concept of data minimization and made organizations more conscientious about what data is being collected, for what purposes, how long it can be retained, and more.
Data minimization techniques
Reduce your data footprint using the various data minimization techniques listed below:
- Restrict the data collection process to only what is necessary and sufficient.
- Collect data only from data subjects who have given their consent explicitly.
- Locate and manage junk data with no business value.
- Track and restrict data hoarding attempts by employees.
- Conduct periodic assessments to evaluate the necessity of storing each instance of personal data.
- Archive or delete data that has lived past its usefulness.