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Best Practices For Effective Data Mapping

Best Practices for Effective Data Mapping

Companies and organizations nowadays collect a huge volume of data from a variety of sources. Such entities often process this data: the data could be analyzed, grouped, transformed, sold, or shared. privacy laws like GDPR, CCPA, and others set strict rules on the processing of this type of data. To comply with privacy laws, companies and organizations first need to catalogize the data collected by them through the process known as data mapping.

Read the blog about data mapping and best practices for effective data mapping to achieve data privacy compliance.

What Is Data Mapping?

Entities collect a huge volume of consumers’ data, like email subscriptions, browsing their websites, items bought or added to shopping carts, cookies used on the website, Cookie Consent, and others. To understand this complex data, a good data map is a necessary element of data management, data migration, and data integration.

Data mapping is a system of cataloging and record-keeping of the data collected by the company or organization, which helps to identify how that data is collected, used, stored, processed, and sold or shared.

Data mapping helps to understand how that data travels within and beyond the company or organization. Without taking on this activity, entities would not be able to keep track of the personal information they collect from their consumers, which is essential for privacy compliance. Mapping also allows compliance with privacy laws.  

Why Is Data Mapping Important for GDPR and CCPA Compliance?

Data mapping is important for privacy control and compliance with privacy laws, and also takes part in other data management processes:

Privacy control and compliance with privacy laws. The prime intention behind implementing privacy laws is to protect consumers’ personal data. Entities, collecting consumers’ personal data, need to comply with GDPR, CCPA, or any other data privacy laws. Compliance with privacy laws and fair treatment of consumers’ data helps to avoid penalties and increases consumers’ trust in your company or organization. 

Articles 30 and 36 of GDPR requires entities to document their data collection and processing and conduct periodic data protection impact assessments (DPIA). Without a comprehensive data map, entities can't comply with these requirements. By mapping the data and establishing what data and how entities collect, use, store, or share data, they can comply with privacy laws and implement better privacy controls.

Data integration. Companies and organizations usually have many data sources. Data mapping tools could be very helpful to connect distinct applications and to make transformations between the source and destination.

Data migration. With the changes in technologies, companies need to transfer data from one IT storage system to another. An efficient data mapping tool can automate the process, which saves time and allows successful data migration.

Personal data

One of the basic concepts in the process of data mapping is personal data.

The GDPR defines personal data as “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (which is called “data subject”); such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural, or social identity of that natural person”.

Under the CCPA, “Personal information is information that identifies, relates to, or could reasonably be linked with you or your household.”

Other privacy laws define personal data, or Personally Identifiable Information (PII), in a similar way. The basic definition of PII defines it as information that, on its own or combined with other data, can be used to identify, contact, or locate a single person, or to identify a person in context.

There are some examples of personal data:

  • full name, maiden name, or alias
  • contact information, like home address, email address, or telephone number
  • passport number
  • driver’s license number
  • Social Security Number
  • online identifiers, like Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, cookie identifiers, or browser fingerprinting
  • date and place of birth
  • ethnicity, race, or religion
  • photo of a face
  • credit card number
  • account username
  • financial records
  • medical or health records
  • biometric data (e.g. fingerprints or DNA)
  • online profiles and social media accounts
  • employment information, employment applications, and background checks
  • education information
  • personally owned property, like vehicle registration number, house registration number, etc.

Sensitive personal information must be treated with particular care since the protection of this type of data is protected more strictly by GDPR, CCPA, and other data privacy laws.

Personal data mapping guidelines

A comprehensive data mapping should include the following sections about the personal data:

  • Purpose of collecting and processing personal data. For collecting and processing personal data, you must have a “legitimate interest” to do it. You could get a “legitimate interest” by identifying the purpose of such activity.
  • Source of personal data. Personal data, collected through your website, and publicly available personal data could be treated differently by some privacy laws.
  • Storage of personal data. Personal data must be stored securely. Companies should also disclose to their users how long they will store the data.
  • Protection of personal data inside the company or organization. Protection of data against data breaches should be of topmost priority.
  • Selling and sharing of personal data to third parties. Third parties like Google, Facebook, and others need personal data for advertising purposes. If third parties collect or use data on your behalf, they need to get user consent first.
  • International transfer of personal data. Any cross-border transfer of data must be duly recorded since other countries could have different privacy laws.

Best Practices for Effective Data Mapping to Achieve Privacy Compliance

To help ensure your data is collected, stored, and processed with good practice, consider these best practices for effective data mapping:

  1. Choose the right tools. Find the right tools for data mapping depending on the type and volume of data you collect. There is both free and paid data mapping software that can help you to perform data mapping. Many data mapping tools comply with all GDPR and CCPA requirements and can save you time and work. The data mapping system should also be able to conduct periodic data protection impact assessments (DPIA). One more advantage of such tools is that you can schedule periodic updates, so you do not miss changes in privacy laws. If you use any automated tools for data mapping, choose ones that offer security features to protect the data. The right data mapping tool should include the following factors:  diverse set of data sources; automation and scheduling; personal data identification; track changes; and easy-to-use user interface.
  2. Identify and map personal data. Privacy laws apply and bring strict responsibilities to companies and organizations that collect and process personal data. All personal data once collected must be identified. Special care should be taken for sensitive personal data.
  3. Keep a record of the data. You should always know where to find certain information.
  4. Automate the process. Data collected constantly changes, so you must update the data map recurringly. An automated data mapping process will save you much time.
  5. Ensure data security. You must ensure that the data collected is secure and protected against any unauthorized access, loss, theft, misuse, damage, or unlawful disclosure.
  6. Third-party integration. If you sell or share data with third parties, all this activity must be duly integrated into the data mapping process to avoid any data mismanagement.
  7. Assign a responsible person or team. Assign a person to implement data mapping. If you collect a huge volume of data, you can assign a dedicated team to manage the data mapping.
  8. Document data mapping process. Data mapping is a persistent process: entities are constantly removing old data and adding new data. You must keep a record of all data mapping processes to avoid any inconsistencies.

CookieScript- the Best Compliance Solution

CookieScript is a Consent Management Platform, that provides responsive and highly customizable Cookie Consent popups, a user-friendly interface, geo-targeting, Privacy Policy Generator, a consent manager, a script manager, Google Tag Manager integration with templates, and much more. CookieScript consent management tool records and stores users' Cookie Consents for proof of compliance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Data Mapping?

Data mapping is a system of cataloging and record-keeping of the data collected by the company or organization, which helps to identify how that data is collected, used, stored, processed, and sold or shared. It helps to understand how that data travels within and beyond the company or organization, and compliance with privacy laws. Use CookieScript- the best privacy laws compliance tool.

Why is data mapping important?

Data mapping allows to achieve privacy control and compliance with privacy laws and could be very helpful for data integration and data migration. Use CookieScript- the best compliance solution with privacy laws.

How to choose the data mapping system?

The right data mapping system should include the following factors: a diverse set of data sources, automation and scheduling, personal data identification, tracking changes, and an easy-to-use user interface. Privacy laws compliance could be achieved with CookieScript.

Is data mapping required under GDPR?

Data mapping is not required by the GDPR. However, data mapping helps a lot to achieve GDPR compliance since it allows for identifying personal information, creating records of the processing activity, identifying security threats and risky data processing, and fulfilling privacy requests. GDPR and other privacy laws compliance could be achieved with CookieScript.

Is data mapping mandatory?

No, data mapping is not required by the GDPR or CCPA. However, data privacy laws require identifying personal information, creating records of the processing activity, identifying security threats and risky data processing, fulfilling privacy requests, and others. Data mapping helps to perform these tasks and to achieve GDPR compliance. Privacy laws compliance could be achieved with CookieScript.

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