A Stress-Free Guide to Big Data Compliance

April 9, 2022

With today’s expansion of workflows and easier access to more significant target markets, businesses now work with a vast collection of data. Big Data typically refers to data sets too complicated and massive to be processed by traditional applications.

According to Statista, the big data analytics market is forecasted to reach $68.09 billion by 2025. Since big data helps companies make informed, data-driven decisions that translate to higher revenue generation, the industry’s growth is understandable.

For example, Netflix uses big data to save $1 billion every year via customer retention. However, all of these hopeful statistics amount to nothing if a business does not adopt big data compliance. When using big data, companies have to comply with several regulations.

Below, we discuss big data compliance in detail.

What Is Data Compliance?

Data compliance is described by an organization’s adherence to regulations that protect sensitive digital information against misuse, theft, and loss. These rules are mainly in place to safeguard financial details and personally identifiable data.

Data compliance rules could be:

  • General Data Protection Regulation by the European Union
  • Federal-level laws
  • Industry standards
  • State laws

These rules spell out the data that must be protected and the processes acceptable by law to protect this information. However, it is essential to note that data security is not synonymous with data compliance.

Data security constitutes all technologies and procedures a business uses to protect data from security breaches. Data compliance is an assurance that the organization meets the minimum legally-mandated data security standards.

Being compliant does not always mean you are fully secure.

Compliance may give you a certain level of legal protection in the instance of a data breach. Still, it will not safeguard against more grave consequences, like tarnished reputation and financial loss.

Relationship Between Big Data and Compliance

Big data directly influences compliance processes as you will be required to account for how the data flows in your organization. Regulatory bodies keenly evaluate the data at every stage, from handling and processing to storage.

Institutions that work with small amounts of data can get away with minimal analytical tools. However, larger organizations require sophisticated tools that are robust enough for big data handling and processing.

You also need personnel on your team that can curate mitigation strategies and identify potential security threats.

Data Minimization in Compliance

Data minimization simply means that you should collect the minimum amount of personal data required for you to accomplish your tasks. Now, this may sound slightly conflicting since the whole point of big data is large reserves of information.

Here’s the thing; there is no point in extensive data collection if you can get insights with minimal data. In simple words, you should filter out unnecessary personal data during the data ingestion and data preparation steps.

How Does Data Compliance Work?

Regulations for data compliance address the following things:

  • The type of data that must be protected
  • The processes needed to protect this data
  • The penalties for a company that is not compliant with these regulations

Data Compliance Standards

Big data compliance standards may differ based on the geographical location and parent industry of an organization. There are some widely recognized standards applicable to most industries worldwide.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

The European Union has formulated GDPR as a standard guide for data privacy and protection in the European Economic Area and the European Union. The GDPR has regulations guiding businesses to collect and process user data legally.

Businesses are also legally required to prevent the exploitation and misuse of this information.

Most importantly, businesses that do not comply with these standards face serious ramifications. In fact, Google and H&M have faced millions of dollars in penalties in past years.

Industries Covered: GDPR applies to all companies that operate in the European Union and gather the personal data of EU residents. These regulations also apply to external organizations that offer services to businesses or customers within the European Union.

Basically, GDPR applies to nearly all major companies in the world.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability33 and Accountability Act)

The U.S. Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in 1996. It applies to the healthcare industry, laying out regulations to protect patients' health records and medical data.

HIPAA gives patients control over how their private information is disclosed and used.

Industries Covered: HIPAA mainly applies to the healthcare industry. The associated entities in this industry include healthcare providers, healthcare clearinghouses, and health plans, such as insurance companies.

The Act does not merely define medical regulations. It also covers the legal, analytical, administrative, and accounting aspects of the healthcare industry.

Three Tips to Reduce Big Data Compliance Risks

Non-compliance can cost you large sums in penalties and lower consumer trust in your organizations. Therefore, you should do your absolute best to prevent it at any cost.

Assess Your Efforts

Local and federal regulations keep changing. Often, it can be hard to accurately know if you are indeed compliant with the set standards.

Analyze your compliance efforts by getting external help, conducting in-organization surveys, monitoring training, and pooling information with assistance from the HR team.

Review Data Security Practices

Sometimes, isolated departments in the organization also have digital records. Some of this data can be highly sensitive, containing financial records or patient history. It may even have information about patent designs and the company’s trade secrets.

In this case, you may need to revisit compliance practices and limit access to sensitive information.

Define New Strategies

If the EU or federal government has amended the existing compliance guidelines for organizations, you need to define new compliance strategies in your workplace.

Alternatively, you can upgrade your existing practices to adhere to new regulations.


To sum up, big data compliance is vital, irrespective of the scale of your business or the size of your organization. In many instances, it becomes tedious to maintain manual checks on data compliance.

That is where Zendata comes in. Zendata automates data risk checks to assist your risk compliance and IT teams in searching for vulnerabilities in the company’s data handling and collection methods.

Zendata’s worldwide availability and multi-language support allow any business to use the platform, irrespective of its geographical location or the compliance standards to which it adheres.