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The Complete Compliance Monitoring Guide for 2024

by Aware

Every company handles some forms of sensitive data. Names, addresses, payment details and more all move through the cloud-based technology and collaboration tools that make up the digital workplace.

Regulations protect these types of sensitive data from being shared, accessed, or stored without the proper authorizations or outside reasonable boundaries. Compliance monitoring is critical for ensuring the safe storage and preservation of this data.



What kind of data is protected?

An organization doesn’t have to be in a highly regulated industry, such as healthcare or finance, to be subject to regulations that require compliance monitoring. Any company that holds personal information on their customers, for example, could be required to follow regulations that protect personal data such as the GDPR.

What kinds of personal data are protected?

  • PII­–Personally identifiable information is data that can pinpoint an individual, such as full name, address, biometric data, or SSN.
  • PCI–Payment card industry data revolves around the data necessary to process payments, such as bank account numbers or card details.
  • PHI–Protected health information, including billing details, test results, medical records, conversations, appointment records, and more.

Simply having a client’s name and contact information is enough for a company to fall under a regulatory requirement, especially if the organization conducts business internationally.

Compliance monitoring helps organizations to comply with a multitude of regulations. Examples include:

  • GDPR

Why is compliance monitoring important?

Data is one of the most valuable commodities handled by businesses of all sizes. Consumers also recognize the value of their data and take seriously the threat of identity theft and cybersecurity breaches. Companies that don’t take appropriate precautions to safeguard data will find customers reluctant to do business with them.

Compliance monitoring is a key component of developing trust with customers. Not only do companies perform compliance monitoring to reassure clients their data is safe, but also to ensure they don’t run afoul of the regulatory bodies that oversee their industries.

It’s in a business’s best interests to quickly identify security and compliance risks and maintain regulatory compliance to reduce the risk of lawsuits and avoid potential sanctions for regulation violations.

How to create a compliance monitoring plan

Having a comprehensive compliance monitoring action plan ensures an organization mitigates the risk of regulatory violations or lawsuits. A successful compliance monitoring plan is designed as a proactive measure to minimize the possible misuse of protected information or data breaches.

6 steps to creating a compliance monitoring plan:

  1. Conduct audits—Comprehensive compliance audits assess the current state of your organization’s compliance program and regulatory adherence. Review compliance policies, procedures, systems, and workforce practices for any non-compliant gaps.
  2. Locate high-risk factors—Use the audit to identify areas of high risk that pose the greatest threat to your company’s compliance posture.
  3. Create reporting and acceptable use policies—Develop acceptable-use policies for how the data in your company’s care will be handled, and the standards of conduct of your workforce. Once those are in place, you can build monitoring report protocols to gather, organize, store, and access how appropriate usage is enforced, and determine who is responsible for overseeing those reports and the monitoring process.
  4. Provide compliance training—Build training programs and continuing education initiatives to update your employees as new regulations and best practices evolve. Tailor them to staff roles and address common risk factors that can lead to noncompliance.
  5. Establish reviewing cycles—Regularly review policies, procedures, compliance reporting, and compliance management to determine where they’re effective and where revisions are necessary. Develop key performance indicators such as employee training completion rates, violations, and corrective actions to determine how well your compliance monitoring efforts are performing.
  6. Identify tools for automated monitoring systems—Once your procedures for compliance monitoring are set, research automated programs that can detect compliance mistakes, outline violations, and track updates. A tool like Aware enables real-time compliance monitoring with granular rules customized for your workplace.

How does automated compliance monitoring work?

However necessary, compliance monitoring can drain resources and be labor intensive, particularly for large organizations with many thousands of employees. Using an automated platform to assist can improve the quality of the monitoring as well as its efficiency.


These tools function continuously, providing alerts and notifying relevant departments if and when there are compliance concerns or deviations. The right tools collect data from multiple sources and analyze them using machine learning and AI to identify compliance gaps and violations against applicable regulations for the organization.

Many of these platforms offer features such as automated risk assessments, control testing, corrective action planning, and evidence collection to streamline compliance workflows.


Compliance monitoring platforms should also perform investigation functions when required. When 1,000 employees can generate more than 430,000 messages a month, wading through the data is daunting. With the right automated tools, companies can speed up labor-intensive searches, contextualize the results, and contain the situation quickly

Information governance

Information governance deals with how companies manage the data they collect. Proper records retention means developing and executing policies that treat the data like the valuable asset it is. A good information governance records retention strategy secures data while also allowing the workforce access and simultaneously keeping in compliance with regulations.

Common challenges with compliance monitoring

With regulations continually updating, the value of data increasing every day, and the constant challenge of security versus accessibility, compliance monitoring is a complex and multi-dimensional undertaking. Challenges of compliance monitoring must be understood to be addressed.

  • Regulatory complexity will only increase as technology, finance, and healthcare converge with sensitive data flowing between them. HIPAA, FINRA, GDPR, PCI-DSS, and other regulation standards will evolve as more consumer protections are required.
  • Data volume and alert overload are real threats to compliance monitoring programs. Vast amounts of data produce large datasets that are difficult to interpret and analyze, resulting in increasing false positives if rules are not properly managed.
  • Siloed functions and disconnected systems keep departments from talking to each other or working as partnerships. This may result in processes lacking internal controls, where employees must decide between two conflicting instructions, and compliance requirements are difficult to maintain.
  • Manual processes complicate the data extraction process in monitoring review. The methodology to analyze them is time-consuming, error-prone, and often doesn’t get updated as regulations change because there is no review process.
  • Incomplete or nonexistent metrics are born out of manual processes. Lack of visibility makes identifying metrics difficult to integrate and report, so tracking and measuring compliance and pinpointing gaps is that much harder.
  • Lack of resources is a challenge many organizations face with effective compliance monitoring because it requires dedicated personnel for a compliance team, tools, and budgets, and often produces large datasets that take days and weeks to analyze.
  • The growing threat landscape contains new cyber threats and attack vectors that require more stringent security standards and more vigilant compliance monitoring.

How Aware supports continuous compliance monitoring

The Aware platform was purpose-built to identify non-compliant data sharing and regulations violations in real time using machine learning algorithms and AI-powered workflows.

Aware can identify noncompliant use of protected information through using regular expression (regex) and keyword detection, screenshot and photo analysis, and file notifications with near-human accuracy. The Aware platform performs fast, federated searches during compliance investigations and identifies unauthorized data usage before it evolves into a regulatory violation, enabling its removal and remediation.

With granular rules settings, role-based access controls (RBAC), and real-time alerts on data collected throughout an organization’s whole ecosystem of technologies, Aware supports regulatory compliance and continuous compliance monitoring across the enterprise. Request a demo today.

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Topics:Compliance Adherence