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How to do data mapping

Data mapping is a crucial process for organizations seeking to understand the locations and flow of sensitive personal data. Learn how to do data mapping.
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5 min read
November 25, 2022
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How to do data mapping

Data mapping is a crucial process for organizations seeking to understand the locations and flow of sensitive and personal data throughout the business data ecosystem. It involves defining and charting the relationships, equivalences, or transformations existing between data systems.

What is the purpose of data mapping? It serves many objectives. For one, it provides an essential foundation for data privacy initiatives, acting as a blueprint that enables privacy program leaders to identify personal data locations and risks.

Different types of data mapping are used to tackle various business needs. For instance, the schema mapping commonly used in database management handles the relationships between the schema in the source and target data models. On the other hand, transform mapping is often deployed in ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes where data from the source model is modified or enriched before being moved to the target. Regardless of its type, data mapping is crucial in steering the course of an organization's data lifecycle. It promotes effective data management, maintains data quality, and provides opportunities for data optimization. 

To illustrate the process better, here is a simplified data mapping example. 

Imagine an online retailer who wants to migrate data from a customer data system to a new data warehouse. Part of the customer details in the system include the names of states where customers reside. In the old system, states were represented as full names. (For example, "New York.") But in the new system, states are displayed as abbreviations like "NY." Data mapping, in this case, would involve creating a translation table or formula that correctly converts "New York" into "NY" in the new system.

Doing data mapping can seem complicated, but with the right tools and techniques, it needn't be. For privacy use cases, a great data mapping software can help with:

* Automated discovery of personal data locations and flow
* Reducing manual effort, risks, and inaccuracies tied to manual accounting of data locations

A product like Ketch can help advance your understanding of data flows, informing your understanding of how to prioritize different data sets and systems for further evaluation of privacy risks. Leveraging a solution like Ketch for data mapping is a necessity to scale a privacy program beyond elementary, repetitive manual activity to true privacy risk analysis.

Data mapping process

Data mapping is an integral part of the data management process. Employing sophisticated techniques and leveraging automated mapping tools can significantly enhance data privacy operations and drive growth by enabling deeper customer engagement. 

The process of data mapping involves creating a data map, which serves as a template or blueprint. The data map outlines the relationship between different data points and entities across disparate systems. This helps businesses understand the origin, use, and endpoint of their data, which is essential in maintaining data integrity and consistency. Moreover, the process plays a pivotal role in regulatory compliance with regulations like GDPR.

Using automated data mapping techniques makes it easier to streamline the process. Automation eradicates the possibility of human error while accelerating the process of data transfer. A data mapping template can provide a predefined format that guides the process, ensuring consistency across different projects. Using such templates, organizations can standardize their data management operations while ensuring efficient use of resources. 

Data automation, including automated data mapping, has truly revolutionized data management. By leveraging technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence, automated data mapping can analyze and decipher complex data models, effectively identifying data sources, flow, and access. Tools like Ketch offer automated data mapping solutions, allowing businesses to reduce operational costs and complexity. 

So, how to create a data map? Well, the process begins with intentional planning and strategy. Start by understanding the data landscape of your organization and identifying key data entities. Key questions include:

- What stakeholders need to be involved?
- Do you have leadership buy-in for the project?
- What are the key problems you wish to solve with a data map?  

To sum up, the data mapping process is integral in the age of ever-growing information, especially for privacy program owners. With automation and the right techniques and templates, managing immense volumes of data becomes much more bearable. Through accurate mapping, businesses can manage information responsibly, ensuring data integrity while complying with regulations. Remember, data mapping is more than mere exercise. It's a strategic endeavor.

Data mapping best practices

Data mapping plays a pivotal role in various business processes, such as:

* Data integration
* Data migration
* Data warehousing

It is the cornerstone for many complex tasks involving data usage, privacy, and compliance with data protection laws like GDPR

Privacy data mapping involves mapping out the flow of personal and sensitive data within a business environment. It helps companies understand where and how data is collected, how it is processed, who has access to it, and where it is stored. 

Privacy data mapping enhances compliance with today's data protection laws, such as GDPR and CCPA. A noteworthy aspect of GDPR data mapping is ensuring that data processing activities are transparent and meet all privacy responsibilities. This is essential as the law requires organizations handling the personal data of EU citizens to document their data processing activities. GDPR data mapping allows businesses to visually represent this data flow, making it easier for businesses to demonstrate compliance. 

The diverse array of data mapping tools available significantly streamline and automate the process. The best data mapping tools offer a wide range of features, such as:

* Data discovery
* Data classification
* Metadata management

They provide clear insights into your data landscape and help you create a more proactive approach to data management. 

For businesses wanting to drive growth through responsibly gathered data, Ketch is a superior solution. The Ketch Trust by Design Platform offers an integrated set of applications, infrastructure, and APIs that reduce the cost and complexity of privacy operations. 

Embracing data mapping best practices results in numerous benefits. It ensures data security by identifying potential risk areas in the handling and storage of data. It promotes compliance with data protection regulations by enhancing visibility and control over data processing activities. Additionally, it maintains the accuracy of data by identifying and correcting errors in the data mapping process. 

In conclusion, effective data mapping is a must in today's data-driven environment. Adhering to data mapping best practices, using the right tools, and embracing diligent privacy data mapping can help companies secure customer trust, comply with data protection laws, and harness data effectively for business growth.

Read time
5 min read
November 25, 2022
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