All enterprises now know the power that lies in data-driven decision-making. The ability to accurately predict future trends, understand historical data, and act based on pure statistics rather than a hunch has empowered businesses to act smarter, faster, and with more precision. It’s no wonder that, with all these benefits, data has become a resource that all businesses work to capture, process, and extrapolate for their own benefits.
The global big data and analytics market is expanding every year, currently sitting just below $300 billion USD. Yet, just having access to the data architecture that enables you to collect and process data doesn’t mean that a business does so in an efficient or compliant way. Data compliance is one of the leading issues in modern business, with the fast scaling required by some businesses leading them to bad data management habits.
In order to store and utilize huge quantities of data, businesses need to take an active and proactive approach to data compliance. In this article, we’ll dive into the core issues that businesses encounter with compliance and point toward leading strategies to fix them.
Let’s dive right in.
What Is Data Compliance?
Data compliance is an intersectional field that balances between operational data use and legal requirements. When using data, especially for analytics or business operations, it’s important to establish clear guidelines about how you are using that data and how you protect it. Data privacy, availability, and integrity are all considerations in data compliance.
Another pillar of compliance that is important to recognize is that, depending on the region that your business operates from, you may also have regulatory compliance issues to overcome. For example, Europe has strict privacy laws when it comes to handling customer data, which you must comply with or face fines.
Data compliance protects both your company and your customers, keeping all of your data, your customer data, and your private records safe. As the rising cyber threat continues to focus on the enterprise sector, expert control of data compliance and privacy is more needed than ever before.
How To Streamline Data Compliance
Data compliance may seem staggeringly complex at first glance, but is really only a representation of the very best laws, ideas, and data protection strategies to keep your business safe. As a deeply methodical process, it’s a good idea to get started with data compliance from day one.
There are a number of ways you can streamline data compliance in your organization.
Establish a Workflow
The single biggest factor that will lead to breaches in data compliance is your own employees. If they don’t know how to stay on the side of compliance, you’ve probably not made your processes obvious enough for them.
Be sure to establish a comprehensive workflow of how you should handle data when it enters your business. Create detailed guides about the use and distribution of data that you then teach to all new employees during their onboarding.
Every staff member should understand the importance of data compliance, what it means, and how to use data in a compliant manner.
Audit, Audit, Audit
Even for businesses that already have comprehensive data compliance workflows and frameworks set out, it’s a good idea to audit your business frequently. Not only does a regular audit ensure that all of your processes are being upheld and followed to the correct standard, but it also helps to create a permanent record of your work.
Audit Trails are required by many regulatory bodies, with proof of your regular system audits and the systems logged in the process acting as evidence in this regard. Depending on your geographical location, the specific audit laws you have to work to may vary. Some states in the USA are much more strict than others.
To air on the side of caution, we recommend that you audit your internal processes at least once a year. However, if you’ve experienced a data breach or are incorporating new data technologies, then you should conduct an audit much more frequently.
Automate Where Possible
Once you have a data governance scheme in place, you’re now in a position to automate much of the initial contact points with data. There are numerous data compliance automation tools and strategies that you can put to use. Not only do these save tremendous amounts of time, especially those that focus on granular data monitoring, but they will also save your business capital in the long run.
There are several areas where you can use automation to streamline the data compliance process:
- Incident Management – Around 40% of all businesses will experience a data disaster event at least once a year. This staggeringly high figure reminds us that creating an incident management system will allow you to respond to any events much more rapidly.
- Recovery and Backup – One core area that you can optimize with automation is any recovery and backup processes. When creating a catalog of historical data, it’s always a good idea to create failsafe backup systems. If needed, you can use these backups to resort to an earlier version of your data systems before a compliance breach occured.
- Schema and Management – Once you have a specific schema of data that you want to collect, you can then create safeguards that flag any data that does not strictly follow this format. Any breaches or inconsistencies will alert a developer, allowing them to take a look at any strange data instead of monitoring every single dataset that you ingest.
The ability to successfully automate aspects of data compliance will only grow in the coming years. With advancements in AI, ML, and other emerging technologies, we’ll be able to spend more time focusing on the mission-critical aspects of compliance and less on the day-to-day monotonous tasks.
The importance of the use of data cannot be overstated. As a leading tool that guides us toward better strategies, more effective use of resources, and more precise future planning, data is essential in modern business. Yet, without a comprehensive understanding of data compliance, businesses are unable to make the most of the data they have at their disposal.
By investigating your current data practices, including how you store and interact with data in your cloud data warehouse, businesses will be ready to take a more effective position on data compliance. By utilizing the strategies, examples, and systems we’ve suggested in this article, you’ll be able to construct a rigorous compliance program that secures your data while passing regulations.