GDPR involves an important set of regulations that should be abided by all companies and organisations to give people more control over their personal data and how it is handled.

As a business, it is crucial to understand what the 7 principles of GDPR are so that you are staying compliant with regulations and respecting the personal data of your customers.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU regulation that became effective in 2018. GDPR replaced the 1995 Data Protection Directive as a stronger data protection structure.

GDPR is a set of rules designed to give citizens more control over their personal data. It aims to simplify rules and regulations

Who Does GDPR Apply To?

GDPR applies to any organisation that operates within the EU, as well as any organisations outside of the EU that offer goods or services to customers or businesses in the EU.

This rule applies to almost every major corporation in the world, meaning that all of the biggest companies need to be compliant with GDPR. GDPR aims to simplify the regulations 

The 7 Principles of GDPR

Below are the 7 principles of GDPR that must be abided by.

Lawfulness, Fairness and Transparency

When processing personal data there needs to be lawfulness and a reason for doing so.

Reasons for processing personal data can include:

  • The person has given you consent to do so
  • The personal data is needed for a contract
  • The data is for legal reasons
  • For the protection of the interests of the person

Fairness tends to go hand-in-hand with lawfulness. This means not withholding your reason for needing and processing personal data and being transparent about why such data is needed. 

Fairness alludes to not mishandling, misusing or abusing the trust of the person whose data you are processing.

Transparency is also important when it comes to personal data, it is important you are clear and honest with the people whose personal data you are processing. Another example of transparency is to clearly explain how personal data is handled and processed, to ensure you act fairly with people.

Purpose Limitation

The second principle sets boundaries around using data only for specific purposes. Purpose limitation refers to data that is “collected for specific and legitimate purposes”. 

The purpose for needing personal data must be clearly identified and communicated to the parties involved. Data must be limited to only the purposes stated.

If at any point you want to use the data collected for a different purpose than originally specified, you must ask for consent again unless there is a lawful reason for doing so.

Data Minimisation

When processing personal data, only collect the information you need and keep the amount of data you are acquiring to a minimum.

An example of this is email newsletters. When asking people to subscribe to an email newsletter you should only ask them for the information that is necessary for them to receive the emails. Always avoid gathering more personal information than is needed.


When collecting personal data, it is important that the data that is collected and stored is accurate. 

This can be maintained with regular audits on stored data and removing any data that is inaccurate.

Storage Limitation

When acquiring personal data, the length of time you’re holding the data must be justified.

Data retention policies are good to establish this storage limitation policy. It’s advised to create a set time period in which data will be removed or anonymised after it’s not being used.

Integrity and Confidentiality

GDPR requires you to maintain the integrity and confidentiality of the data you collect, keeping it secure from any external or internal threats. 

This takes planning and often includes a compliance management system or external cyber security services. Protecting data is vital for keeping your business compliant and lawful.


It is incredibly easy for businesses to say they’re following GDPR without following up on it and because of this, any business processing personal data must be held accountable.

Appropriate measures and records must be in place as proof of compliance with GDPR principles. Higher authorities can ask for proof of compliance at any time so it is important to have systemised audits and logs to prove compliance. 

Why Are These Principles Important?

These 7 principles are the heart and soul of GDPR. They ensure that a business is effective and efficient in its data protection regime. 

Compliance with and knowing what the 7 principles of GDPR are is a fundamental building block within a healthy data protection system.

Failure to comply with these principles may leave your business open to data breaches and eventually, substantial fines. 

Compliance Management Software to Keep GDPR Compliance

At Compliance Pod we offer a variety of compliance management service applications to keep your business compliant and secure. 

We offer service applications such as policy and procedure management and an internal communication system to assist your business in staying GDPR compliant.

If you’re unsure as to which service application would best suit your business’s needs, book a demo with us and we’ll get in touch.