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Data mapping tools

Data mapping is a cornerstone of the modern privacy program. The right data mapping tools can help you create a dynamic understanding in your business.
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7 min read
February 6, 2023
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Data mapping tools are at the center of today's privacy programs. They are pivotal projects and artifacts that facilitate data transformation, translation, and understanding. Ideal for complex data ecosystems and relationships, data mapping applications simplify and streamline the otherwise repetitive task of manually converting data between different formats and structures. 

What is data mapping? In many cases, it's the lifeblood of privacy operations, such as understanding the business data footprint, specifically the understanding of persona data locations, flow, and access. It's the output of understanding relationships between data systems. It improves data management and makes data-centric decisions easier by establishing correlations between data fields across various formats and sources. 

Data mapping can: 

* Expedite the data classification and organization process
* Improve data visibility
* Boost efficiency and reduce redundancy

Data mapping simplifies and streamlines the complexities of analyzing privacy risks related to data location and sensitivities. It transforms data to become easily accessible and usable for analysis and business decision-making. A well-constructed data map serves as a strategic way for businesses to understand, manage, and utilize their data better. 

The role of data mapping tools

Successful data mapping relies on sophisticated tools that can process large amounts of information. Data mapping tools make your data more understandable, maintainable, and user-friendly by bridging diverse data elements. They act as navigators in the sea of data and functionally align data sets to ensure easy interpretation. Without these tools, businesses can drown in floods of mismatched, complex data, making it almost impossible to leverage business information to its fullest potential. 

Data mapping tools have revolutionized the way businesses handle their data. They provide a robust view for data understanding. By reducing manual work, these tools have significantly cut down the margin for error and inefficiency. Furthermore, they speed up the process of making future changes to the data schema by delivering a clear and precise road map of the existing data structure.

Data mapping tools are indispensable for any business that wants to leverage data for strategic decision-making.

How to create a data map

The data mapping process is critical for any business trying to understand its data processing activities. It plays a pivotal role in ensuring that data is accurately transported from a source data system to a target data system. 

Organizations incorporate different methodologies in data mapping. While the specifics change, the essence remains the same. This topic opens the gateway to the essence of how to create a data map, data mapping techniques, the process involved, and the best practices to ensure accurate results. 

The process of creating a data map starts with ensuring organizational support, from stakeholder collaboration to leadership buy-in. Data mapping cannot successfully be completed in a legal team silo. Comprehensive output requires participation from every data owner in the organization: marketing, data science, and human resources to name a few.

But how to do data mapping effectively? You need to start by determining your project goals. Are you interested in breadth of data systems knowledge? Depth into one or two specific systems? Let your use cases and challenges guide your approach to tackling and prioritizing tasks within such a big project.

Manual mapping and automated mapping

Data mapping techniques vary depending on the nature of your business and the tools you use.

Manual mapping is one of the most common techniques. It involves a high level of attention to detail and accuracy, and high level of manual labor, usually in tools like Microsoft Excel. While manual data mapping gives you a chance to work directly with all of your group's information, it also introduces opportunities for human error.

There are also automated data mapping software options available that help ease the data mapping process by speeding up the operation while minimizing errors. These tools are often intelligent enough to offer suggestions based on the data, the type, usage, and frequency. 

The data mapping process is meticulous and requires a lot of groundwork before you begin to see the transport of data. While manually managing mappings can be a mammoth task, using a data mapping tool alleviates the process significantly. However, whether manual or automated, a clear goal or requirements are vital to ensure that the end result is of value to the organization.

Data mapping best practices

Data mapping best practices comprise close collaboration with stakeholders to ensure that the mapping process aligns with the business requirements. Refining the mapping process is also crucial for a successful outcome. It includes: 

* Optimization of data quality
* Regular testing of the data flows
* Validation of mappings
* Ensuring the availability of all data

Moreover, documenting the data mapping process can serve as a guide for future mapping activities. It allows teams to understand the nuances and rules associated with different data fields, ensuring consistency and accuracy in future processes. Technology plays a critical role in provisions for accurate data mapping. 

Various data mapping tools offer advanced functionalities to enable quick and accurate mapping. Businesses should align their needs and preferences with the capabilities of these tools to find the most suitable solution for their data mapping requirements. The Ketch Trust by Design Platform, for instance, is a highly efficient platform that aids in simplifying complexities involved in data operations, ensuring accuracy and reliability. 

Data mapping is an integral part of data operations that demands a clear understanding of data, its sources and targets, and a meticulous plan for successful execution. While there are different paths to achieve this, understanding the basics of data mapping, incorporating best practices, and leveraging the power of data mapping tools, businesses can make the most from their data.

Benefits of using data mapping tools

Data mapping tools like the one from Ketch are game changers in today's tech-driven, highly digitized world. These tools offer an array of benefits that can help organizations navigate the complex terrain of digital data handling and analytics. 

Improved data accuracy

One of the key advantages is improved data accuracy that comes from using data mapping tools. This is crucial because accurate data is the foundation of quality data analysis. With poor data, you risk drawing incorrect conclusions, incorrect pattern recognition, and erring in your overall data interpretation. Ketch scrutinizes and validates data to ensure its quality and accuracy. 

Your data's accuracy, however, isn't merely boosted by a one-time scanning or cleaning. Automated data mapping tools ensure that your data stays clean, updated, and accurate on an ongoing basis. Unlike manual efforts, automated systems don't get tired or overlook errors. They're programmed to monitor and refine your data set continuously. 

Greater efficiency

In addition to accuracy, automated data mapping allows for time and cost efficiency. In the absence of these tools, the process of data mapping could be time-consuming and laborious, requiring physical resources and manpower. Automated data mapping tools streamline this process to improve efficiency. Hours of manual work can be mechanized into an automated system, freeing time for employers to focus on other pressing tasks. 

Privacy that meets regulations

Adopting automated data mapping tools also brings privacy benefits. Privacy is more important than ever because, to many, data is the new oil, and any misuse or mishandling could lead to serious repercussions. Here is where data mapping privacy comes in. Through this, a company can track where each element of personal data is stored and processed, knowing precisely where it is used and ensuring that no data slips within reach of cyber threats. Moreover, privacy-conscious consumers are more likely to place their trust in a brand that takes their privacy seriously. 

Additionally, the compliance landscape is constantly changing, and being caught off guard by new regulations can be costly in terms of penalties and reputation damage. This is where data mapping GDPR comes in. GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, is a regulation in EU law focused on data protection and privacy. 

Having a robust data mapping system that helps maintain compliance with GDPR is a huge advantage. Tools with features catering to GDPR requirements can help companies maintain a constant state of readiness and avoid non-compliance. 

Data mapping tools like Ketch offer comprehensive solutions for organizations of all sizes and types to manage their data responsibly. Businesses stand to benefit from improved accuracy and efficiency in their data processes, better privacy protections, and compliance with legal requirements. If you care about your data, invest in automated data mapping tools. It's an investment in your future.

Read time
7 min read
February 6, 2023
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