Historical data retention

As websites grow many years old, the data volume increases. Learn how we deal with historical and stale data. 

Our terms have been updated with the following statement: "Web Widgets Ltd reserves the right to permanently delete historical data including, but not limited to, stale customer records and transaction history more than 7 years old. "

Customer Data Retention

Customer data that is now being deleted includes stale member records that are more than 7 years old. These records have the status of "Blocked/Spam", "Deleted/merged", "Opt out" , "Email Failure" or "Inactive or Stale". All of these member records are typically spam/robot posts to your subscription forms, or enquiry forms. We cannot detect all spam. Often robots will post a reasonable looking email address, that passes all spam filter tests, and thereafter, the member record resides in our database (potentially for ever). After 2 years we will mark all non active "general" and "opt in unconfirmed" members as "Inactive or stale". The activity is based on future form posts, purchases, reading newsletters or logging in. We are very confident, that once 2 years has elapsed, that these records are truly stale and not important for your business. 
Stale records reside for a further 5 years. If these stale customers come back to your website and perform any real world activity (like purchasing, logging in, reading a newsletter, or making an enquiry), then their timeline and status will be reset, and it will take another 7 years before the data is considered ready for deletion. 
The expectation of opt out customers is that in the long term that there will be no retention of their data. However, in the short term, we need to record their intention to be opted out. Therefore, we will wait 7 years before deleting their data. 
We do not delete customers who have an order history, where that order was finalised, and not cancelled. If the order was cancelled or incomplete, then we will delete that data first. 
When we delete a customer permanently, we also delete any associated data such as their enquiry history. Remember, that we only delete members who have not enquired for 7 years. 
We also delete associated member data more urgently if they are specifically marked as spam.

Order and Transactional Data Retention

Currently we do not delete any finalised sales, irrespective of time, as we have some use cases that require customer to be able to view all purchases of all time. 
We do however delete any failed payment attempts after 90 days, as only the successful payment record is important in the long term. 
We will delete any orders that are not finalised within a few days, where there is no customer data included. These records are often created by robots in very large volumes. Our empty cart clean up routine ensures that the database remains uncluttered with robot spam. 
If there is customer data associated with an open cart (incomplete/draft order), then we will keep those draft orders retrievable for at least 180 days, as this covers many real world use cases.
Cancelled orders that did not have any payment data associated will be deleted after 180 days.

Activity Logs

We keep activity logs for as long as we think is useful. Depending on the log type, this data might last for shorter or longer periods of time. For example, we like to remember very important data for a long time. Whereas we only want to remember what changes are made to pages for a short time. 

Backup Retention

Every time you make changes to a page and save it, we keep a copy of the last version of the page. Our retention policy is to keep the most recent 5 versions of the page, plus the last saved version from the 5 most recent dates historically. This provides a useful ability to restore data, without permanently keeping a copy of every single version. 
In addition to our online backups, we also have offline backups. Data is potentially retrievable from offline backups, but requires a system administrator to perform your data restoration for you. There is a fee for this service, and it is usually adviseable to very targeted in what data is restored. We don't like to perform whole site restorations, as you would lose your most recent transactional data.

Posted: Monday 25 March 2024