9 Challenges to Data Compliance Strategies
Today, data is everywhere. With ecosystems and infrastructures going digital, access to personal and sensitive data has proliferated across the board, giving rise to the need for adherence to data compliance standards.
What is data compliance? In simple terms, it means managing your data in a manner that keeps you in line with regulations that safeguard the security and integrity of the data you handle. With the introduction of GDPR, data compliance did get a lot tougher, but being compliant is a priority that your business cannot afford to go slow on, especially in an era defined by data-based interactions.
Nevertheless, be it GDPR compliance or CCPA compliance, every data compliance officer will agree that rummaging through awfully long and dense legal prose is one thing, implementing a framework to ensure compliance standards across an organization is quite another! The challenges are varied, manifold, and unrelenting.
Here are 9 challenges to data compliance strategies commonly faced by organizations.
In the last decade itself, the sheer volume of data churned out and consumed by the industry has been incredible. Data is growing exponentially. Moreover, with tranches of the population in developing countries still taking to digital interactions there is reason to believe that this upswing hasn’t peaked. Further, with the increase in online modes due to the pandemic, companies who weren’t handling data are now doing so.
Data, today, is like the air you breathe, permeating everything, giving life to smartphones, appliances, watches, and other gadgets. IDC projects that by 2025 the global data sphere will grow to 175ZB (1021), from 45 ZB in 2019. What’s plain in all of this is that the data compliance protocols of today may be outdated as soon as tomorrow and that’s a big challenge, especially to companies with limited resources.
...and more devices
As the Internet of Things (IoT) weeds its way into the fabric of every business, you no longer have just an Achilles’ heel to watch out for—you have many points of vulnerability to heed to. While the IoT market is slated to be worth $ 1.1 trillion by 2026, as per a statistic, IoT devices experience over 5,000 attacks per month. Another statistic indicates that 6 in 10 companies have experienced an IoT security incident.
The challenges for data compliance are manifold and include:
- Privacy violations
- Legal complications
- Vulnerability management
Can’t say ‘No’
Less is often more when it comes to data. Big data has its place in the industry, yes, but clinging to every bit of data that comes your way is also a problem. That’s because you have compliance, privacy, and security concerns to attend to when gathering and processing the data you receive. In other words, customer data compliance becomes more of a balancing act if you haven’t drawn the line between what data is desirable and what is not.
Here, you’re not looking at just GDPR compliance, but every other law that you are liable to. A simple internal decision on data management can reduce the compliance requirements for your business by a lot. Yet is data your key to growth or is it a risk? That’s the major challenge!
Dark data refers to data you have, but are not aware of. And if dark matter is a metaphor to go with – 85% of the universe is supposedly dark matter – your organization could be sitting on an iceberg of data, part of which is useful, much of which is worthless, but all of which is a risk.
Dark data raises serious compliance issues, but also ethical issues in data collection. How do you keep data free from harm, private, and confidential, when you are unaware of the data you possess? The challenge is also one of cost, because to bring data into the light, you’d probably need better systems in place.
Lack of board foresight
If you’ve keenly observed the last few challenges, you’ll note that they don't necessarily ask that you draw out a GDPR requirements list. However, they do point to the need for clear organizational policy. The internal signal not the external mandate is often where data governance, and compliance, should start.
This means that the board needs to own responsibility for the data you store, process, analyze, and even sell. In times past, data privacy and compliance may not have been a priority at board meetings, but in today’s digital era, boards must set the tone for risks in data management throughout the organization.
For many boards, however, the big challenge is that there are just too many compliance standards to juggle with at the same time. You’ve got a ton of yardsticks to play with such as:
- PCI DSS
What’s more, compliance standards like GDPR can tend to erase geographical boundaries and with the mass adoption of digital technologies amid the pandemic, you can expect several countries to draw out their own GDPR-like standards. The result is compliance fatigue, which can be broken down into:
- More time spent
- More money spent
With ample legislation comes the difficulty of enforcing policies and applying them to real-world contingencies. A prime example is the issue of confidentiality associated with the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend.
To abide by data compliance rules, you want to have keen oversight over customer data, right from when you first acquire it, to the time you process it, and how you do so as well. This poses a challenge because over the course of time your data is going to migrate from physical servers to the cloud and across boundaries and secondly, because data lives on. Connected with this is the fact that you may recognize organizational silos within your fabric, and with data lost within silos the issue of compliance gets murkier.
Damage is costly
With data compliance damage is costly, extremely costly. That’s because you’re dealing with:
Think about it. Even the slightest slip up can cause you to lose customer trust, which can have more of a long-term impact on your business than the hefty fines associated with data breaches.
According to IBM , in 2020, the global average total cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, and in the US, this cost rises to $8.64 million. In 2019, big players already shelled out in hundreds of millions for data breaches and security incidents. IBM also points out that with remote work going mainstream, the cost of a data breach could potentially increase.
Whether it is setting controls in place for vulnerability management or preparing data for regulators seeking to know your compliance position, data compliance managers have their plate full. Without real-time monitoring and automated data analytics, mitigating risks can be a challenge. Further, companies across the board find themselves struggling to report data breaches in time.
To cope with ongoing data compliance requirements, it makes sense to arm your organization with a tool like VComply, an integrated governance, risk, and compliance management platform. It is multifaceted, powering compliance management, policy management, risk management, audit and assurance, and more, all through an agile, online platform.
Being prepared for a digital-first future with the tools to handle data compliance is a way you can make the hurdles that come across your way smaller and go from being compliant to secure effortlessly!
About the author
VComply Editorial Team