9 data challenges compliance leaders face in 2024

Managing compliance data amid changing regulations, tech advances, and varied needs poses complex challenges for global businesses in 2024.

Managing large volumes of compliance data has become a herculean task for businesses worldwide. The dynamic nature of regulatory environments, coupled with rapid technological advancements and diverse organisational needs, presents a complex set of challenges.

Some of these challenges, like ever-evolving regulations, are eternal for compliance leaders, others, like dealing with remote working, are relatively new. All can only really be addressed through strategic foresight, good data governance, adaptability, new skills, and a judicious dose of new technology. 

Challenge 1: 234 daily regulatory updates 

22,000 new and amended regulations came into force in 2022 alone, which is why perhaps the most formidable challenge for compliance leaders in 2024 is keeping pace with regulatory changes, as it has been for many years.  

Regulatory frameworks are in a state of constant flux, meaning compliance teams face a formidable triple threat – change, data storage and data minimisation. They're required to stay vigilant, continuously monitoring and adapting their compliance data management practices to meet both global and local regulatory requirements across different jurisdictions, all whilst maintaining data in an orderly, cost-effective way that also minimises data stored as per the requirements of, you guessed it, regulation.  

The necessity to remain compliant whilst minimising data adds a layer of complexity to the already arduous task of data management, making it crucial for organizations to deploy robust mechanisms for tracking regulatory updates and ensuring their practices are in alignment. 

Challenge 2: The deluge of data 

Screenshot 2024-02-21 at 14.06.44

(Source – Exploding topics) 

It’s not news to say that the volume and complexity of data that organizations must manage has seen an exponential increase. However, this deluge is causing an ever-bigger headache for compliance leaders, because this surge encompasses both structured data, such as financial transactions, and unstructured data, including emails and social media communications. And new technology like AI is only adding to the problem.  

Whilst businesses may aspire to pristine data lakes, the reality is much murkier. Transforming data puddles into useable pools of clean data requires sophisticated data management, capture and analysis tools capable of handling the intricacies and scale of this information. A challenge made even harder when those data puddles are really data siloes dotted around the business... 

Challenge 3: Those good ol’ data siloes are still around 

Siloes hinder the ability to achieve the unified view necessary for comprehensive compliance management. Data lakes were supposed to break them down but for many businesses, data is still dispersed across various departments, stored in siloed systems. The challenge of integrating these disparate systems and ensuring consistent data quality and accessibility is significant. It requires a concerted effort to bridge gaps between departments and facilitate seamless data flows. 

Challenge 4: Safeguarding data 

The rise in data breaches and cyber-attacks isn’t fading, in fact most analysts agree that 2023 was the worst year yet, but this at least has heightened the importance of cybersecurity. For compliance teams, protecting sensitive compliance-related data against unauthorised access while ensuring privacy is paramount. Adhering to data protection regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) introduces an additional layer of complexity to data management practices, requiring stringent security measures and constant vigilance. 

Challenge 5: The double-edged sword of technology 

Change for change's sake is not an option for compliance teams. While the judicious adoption of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and blockchain offers the potential for enhanced analytics and storage efficiency, it also presents challenges. Integration with existing systems, maintaining data quality, and the training required for staff to adeptly use these technologies are significant hurdles that organisations must overcome to fully leverage the benefits of technological advancements.   

Challenge 6: Balancing the books 

For many organizations, the cost of ensuring compliance can be daunting, particularly the potentially dizzying costs of retaining data for the long term. Balancing the investment in the right technology and processes with the management of operational costs such as storage requires a strategic approach to resource allocation and cost control. 

Challenge 7: The analytics and reporting conundrum 

Getting a regulator quick answers and proof is essential for compliance teams. However, the task of analysing large datasets, activity logs and other data sources, to identify potential compliance issues demands advanced analytics capabilities and of course access to data. Even when that capability exists time is never on the side of compliance teams. Generating accurate and timely reports for regulatory bodies is generally either impossible or consumes considerable resources, underscoring the need for efficient data storage, analysis and reporting tools. 

Challenge 8: Bridging the skills gap 

Data skills are in high-demand with significant skills gaps creating challenges for business. Compliance is not immune. A notable gap often exists in the skills necessary to manage and analyse compliance data effectively. Finding or developing talent with the requisite expertise in data analytics, regulatory knowledge, and technology poses a significant challenge for many organizations. 

Challenge 9: Adapting to remote work and digital transformation 

The shift towards remote work introduced new challenges for compliance data management. Ensuring secure access to data and maintaining compliance across digital channels have become critical concerns that compliance organisations must address to adapt to the changing work environment. 

Charting a course through these challenges 

In my work with Microsoft MVPs and members of these community it’s become clear that addressing these myriad challenges requires a strategic approach - one that emphasises investment in technology, enhancement of data governance practices, continuous training for staff, and a proactive stance towards regulatory compliance and cybersecurity.  

This means that compliance organisations will need to cultivate a culture of adaptability and innovation, leveraging the latest technological advancements while ensuring the robustness and security of their compliance data management practices. 

In navigating the complex seas of compliance data management, the path forward involves embracing change, fostering collaboration across departments, and continuously refining strategies to stay ahead of the curve. By doing so, compliance leaders can not only meet the demands of regulations but also harness the power of their data to drive growth and success in an increasingly regulated and digital world. 

Turning challenge into opportunity 

As I wrap up this exploration into the tumultuous waters of compliance data management in 2024, it's clear that the journey is both challenging and critical.  

The hurdles highlighted reflect the delicate balancing act compliance teams face daily: adapting to regulatory shifts, managing vast data landscapes, safeguarding sensitive information, and embracing technology wisely—all while keeping an eye on costs and skill sets. 

But let's not forget, within these challenges lie immense opportunities.  

Opportunities to streamline processes, to enhance data security, and to turn compliance into a competitive advantage abound. By fostering a culture of innovation, adaptability, and continuous learning, compliance leaders can navigate these challenges with greater ease and confidence. 

Remember, the goal isn't just to manage compliance data but to master it. To turn it into actionable insights that not only ensure regulatory compliance but also drive strategic decisions and foster growth. So, let's move forward with optimism, collaboration, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. The path may be complex, but the rewards for those prepared to navigate it are significant. 



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