9.3.2 Offboarding

The offboarding process is equally important as the onboarding process in a FDS. It ensures that the participant’s data and rights are protected even after they leave the framework.


Offboarding begins when a participant decides to leave the FDS or when their membership is terminated by the administration entity. The process involves several steps, including notification of departure, data transfer or deletion, and legal closure.

Notification of departure

The participant must formally notify the administration entity of their intention to leave the framework. This can be done through an official communication channel, such as an email or a form on the framework’s website.

Data Retention and Deletion

Data retention and deletion are critical aspects of the offboarding process. They involve several challenges and considerations:

  • Data transfer: If the data sharing agreement allows for it, the data may be transferred back to the participant. This process must be done securely to protect the data during transit. It’s important to ensure that all copies of the data in the framework’s systems are accounted for during this process.
  • Data deletion: If data transfer is not possible or desired, the data must be deleted. However, simply deleting data from active systems is not enough. The data may still reside in backups or logs, so these must also be purged.
  • Proof of deletion: Providing proof of deletion can be challenging. While it’s technically possible to generate logs or certificates of data deletion, these do not guarantee that all copies of the data have been deleted. For example, data could still exist in offline backups or could have been copied prior to deletion.
  • Legal requirements: Data protection laws, such as the GDPR, have strict requirements for data deletion. For example, under GDPR, individuals have a “right to be forgotten,” which means that their data must be permanently deleted upon request. Failure to comply with these laws can result in heavy fines.
  • Technical challenges: From a technical perspective, secure data deletion is a complex task. Simply deleting a file does not remove it from a storage device; rather, it marks the space as available for reuse. Until that space is overwritten by new data, the original file can potentially be recovered. Therefore, secure deletion often involves overwriting the data with random information to prevent recovery.

In conclusion, while there are many challenges associated with data retention and deletion during offboarding, they can be addressed through careful planning, robust technical processes, and strict adherence to legal requirements.

Legal closure

The offboarding process also involves legal closure, which includes terminating the data sharing agreement and ensuring that all legal obligations have been met. This may involve a final audit or review.

Technical requirements for Offboarding

Finally, there are technical requirements for offboarding, which may include securely deleting the participant’s account and any associated data from the framework’s systems. In conclusion, offboarding is a complex process that requires careful attention to both legal and technical details. By following a clear and thorough offboarding process, both participants and administration entities can ensure that they meet their legal obligations and protect their rights.