GDPR Data Mapping: What It Is And How To Comply 

The General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR data mapping, an updated version of the long-standing Data Protection Directive, was adopted by the European Commission in 2016. (GDPR). The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which serves as the foundation for the GDPR, recognizes the protection of personal information as a fundamental human right.

The goal of the GDPR is to guarantee the security of personal data by emphasizing human rights and enabling safe data movement both within and between states. The GDPR is now regarded as one of the world’s greatest data protection and legislative privacy frameworks.

Organizations must have a firm grasp on all of their customers’ data and be able to trace it back to its owner to ensure that all private data is secure. Traditional approaches could make this work nearly difficult. Companies will need to use a tool that will enable them to map existing data assets. Businesses may enhance operations by retracing their information to the consumer.

GDPR Data Mapping

The GDPR’s key component is data mapping. It is regarded as the first step in fulfilling all other legal obligations under the GDPR, including responding to requests from data subjects, carrying out privacy impact assessments, and keeping records of information processing operations. Here are a few instances of data mapping-driven privacy compliance:

Processing Activity Records

The GDPR’s Article 30 mandates controllers and processors to keep a record of their data processing operations (RoPAs). RoPAs provide details on process activity, such as the reason for processing, the legal justification, consent status, cross-border transfers, the DPIA status, and more.

Data mapping, which compiles and keeps track of a list of all business-wide data processing operations, assists firms in complying with GDPR.

Analyses Of The Impact Of Data Protection

Organizations are required by Article 35 of the GDPR to conduct data protection impact assessments (DPIAs) in situations where processing poses a substantial risk to persons. The processing’s nature, extent, context, and aims must all be considered in this DPIA.

Data mapping enables companies to record the information they are gathering, how and when that data has been utilized, where the information is being kept, and how the data moves via different systems and suppliers to do effective DPIAs.

Breach Management

According to Article 33 of the GDPR, enterprises must inform the supervisory authority within 72 hours of becoming aware of any data breaches that threaten the freedoms and rights of data subjects. Organizations must promptly notify affected data subjects of personal data breaches where there is a great danger to their rights and freedoms.

Data mapping enables enterprises to quickly identify the affected data subjects and the compromised data in every security event.

gdpr data mapping

Additionally, it allows companies to evaluate the dangers that a security breach poses to the rights and liberties of data subjects, assisting them in only reporting personal data breaches that exceed a predetermined risk threshold to the relevant stakeholders. They are therefore able to adhere to the GDPR’s notification deadlines.

Consent Management

GDPR’s Article 4 stipulates that the user’s permission must be freely provided, precise, informed, and clear to be a valid legal basis for data processing. Additionally, data subjects must be free to revoke their permission at any moment and without incurring any consequences.

Data mapping enables companies to highlight areas where consent collection methods could be required, identify processing operations that depend on consent on a legal basis, and allow consent withdrawal.

Fulfilling The Rights Of Data Subjects

The GDPR gives subjects various rights regarding their data, including accessing personal data, correcting or deleting personal data, limiting how it is processed, and transferring personal data. Data mapping enables enterprises to locate the location of the data subject’s information and to simplify the data subject demand.

It makes it possible for enterprises to reply to a data subject’s request within the GDPR’s allotted timeframe.

What Is A GDPR Data Mapping Made Of

A detailed data flow chart for privacy compliance displays every piece of information entering the organization and its movement inside and outside. Maps do not have to be exhaustive, though. In exceptionally complex circumstances, they can also be subdivided to track the information of a specific client group or data type.

gdpr data mapping

Where Is Data Gathered

Organizations need to know where the personal data entering their company originates from. Usually, this comes directly from the person (customer) via an online form. To get more data on their customers, many firms, however, are employing external data sources.

Businesses must be aware of the data they are collecting, where it is coming from, and what the GDPR requires of them regarding that data acquisition.

What Information Is Gathered

The personal data (also known as personally identifiable information) that organizations have on people must be fully understood. This PII may include information on their clients, website users, or staff members. Any information about a named or distinguishable natural person is considered personal data under GDPR.

Examples listed in Article 4 have included a name, id number, location information, online identifier, and one or more characteristics of a natural person’s physical, physiological, biological, mental, economic, cultural, or social identity.

Where Is The Information Kept? What Is The Data’s Format

A company must be aware of the location and format of its data to have proper knowledge of its information privacy standards. Though the majority of businesses now store data online, some may still retain old-fashioned paper records, or staff members can print off computer files PII for their personal use.

Even electronic documents require a thorough investigation since they might be kept on local computers, local servers, the cloud, or even the hardware of outside suppliers.

gdpr data mapping

To What End Do The Data Go

Organizations must know where the data is going, whether it is being used inside or sent to outside providers.

Due to the unique implications of transferring personal data outside of the European Union’s borders to other nations, it is also crucial to pay close attention to whether data has been crossing borders once the company obtains it, once it is implicated in a transmission to/from a processor, or even when something is being moved internally.

What Purposes Do The Data Serve

Organizations must be aware of their processing actions to satisfy the documentation requirements of Article 30 and provide consumers with proper disclosures. Additionally, businesses must be able to show privacy through design and data reduction. Organizations can collect this data with the aid of data maps.

For How Long Are The Data Kept

Another crucial aspect of privacy through design and data reduction is data retention. Although most data flow mapping focuses on data gathering and exchange, a thorough examination may also cover data deletion by an organization.

Important GPDR Data Mapping Elements

The following are a data map’s essential components:

  • Enables organizations to manage, classify, organize, and organize data for operational requirements
gdpr data mapping
  • Enables enterprises to access and locate pertinent data as needed quickly
  • Increases the effectiveness of data management and protection so that riskier data has stronger security.
  • Tracks the flow of data
  • Keeps accurate records of the actions involved in the data processing.

Important Obstacles To GDPR Data Mapping

With internal & cloud-based application & storage infrastructure, various data gathering and processing components exist, and highly flexible data sharing or processing agreements are in place.

Organizations are having trouble documenting and tracking the information flow inside the cloud architecture of their vendor as more than 80 percent of corporate workloads move to the cloud at this time. The vast network of interrelated interfaces, systems, or processes in most firms is obscured by obsolete spreadsheets, Powerpoint, and Visio diagrams, making it hard to bring clarity.

Additionally, it is normal for such corporate process information to become locked up in the heads of experts in the absence of a collaborative documenting and sharing knowledge environment, making it practically hard to establish and sustain a piece of accurate information and documentation. The PrivacyOps methodology’s data mapping capability aids in overcoming all of these difficulties.

Organizations are given access to a completely automated, centralized, and secure platform that enables them to carry out effective and comprehensive data mapping.

The Framework For PrivacyOps And GDPR Data Mapping

A smart data mapping solution allows businesses to fully understand and handle personal data and collaborate internally and externally. To bring all of your SMEs together and document and monitor the flow of information on a single platform, the PrivacyOps architecture needs a system of record, engagement, knowledge, and automation system.

Under the PrivacyOps methodology, any data mapping solution has the following capabilities:

gdpr data mapping

A Recording System

A record-keeping system safeguards:

  • Information moves both inside and outside of a company (processors, contractors, suppliers), as well as across international borders.
  • A data map contains extensive metadata for each piece, such as the data type, format, location, responsibility, access list, etc.
  • A list of all of the PD attribute types that the data map element supports
  • A record of the reason(s) for data collection, process, or storage, as well as the legal justification(s), such as consent, for those actions
  • Reports for Article 30 (Document of Processing) that are quick to create, disseminate internally, and provide access to auditors immediately

A Framework For Knowledge

  • Offers a flexible, organization-focused icon library
  • Gives customers the ability to design components once and utilize them across several data maps and business process flowcharts
  • Makes the process quick and flexible by enabling users to copy and improve existing data maps.
  • Provides consumers with the ability to explain the flow of information in a visual, understandable artboard.
  • The appropriate users and SMEs produce, collaborate, and offer feedback on information flows.
  • Offers PD characteristics and information flow tracking sophisticated connection choices.
  • Serves as an inventory for all assets used in business flow.
  • Enables users to explain the flow of information in a clear, visual artboard.
  • Captures all the attributes of that flow, such as direction, qualities, constraints, and ownership, acting as the gateway to the central data repository to get insights about data flow.
  • Reduces the requirement for consulting one or more subject area experts regarding business flow risks.
gdpr data mapping
  • Combines business flow records, component information, system ownership, plus system-generated insights, such as data categorization and privacy warnings, to support management and operational decision-making capabilities.

A Framework For Participation And Collaboration

Using an engagement system, you can:

  • Diagramming intricate data flows or business process flows on a collaborative, adjustable artboard
  • Working in a single, collaborative data map with many experts and process/solution owners.
  • Messaging features for inviting and contacting collaborators
  • Collaborating with groups on any gadget across many platforms and locations
  • A cooperative, user-friendly setting that uses automation, notifications, or policy warnings to keep the data map current

An Automation And Insight System

An automated system enables:

  • Development of a data map automatically using metadata
  • Hundreds of sites are automatically scanned and classified to fill attributes for map components.
  • PD properties found by live data scanning being used as component information in data maps
  • Regular re-scans to make sure that the data is constantly current
  • Map components and process flows are automatically checked for compliance issues, such as unauthorized data acquisition and erroneous access rights.
  • Application of breach effect analysis to flow of data and business operations
  • Alerts based on policies to spot ineffective security procedures and violations of legal and regulatory requirements
gdpr data mapping
  • Keeping track of consent at each stage of data flow and highlighting information that could be gathered, kept, or used without permission

Making GDPR Data Mapping Flow Diagrams

Understanding the data flows, describing it, and identifying its essential components are necessary before you can map it effectively.

Recognize How Information Flows

Data movement from one point to another is known as information flow.

  • From within the European Union to outside
  • Alternatively, from suppliers and subsuppliers to customers

Describe The Flow Of Information

  • To find unplanned or unintended data applications, go through the information lifecycle. Additionally, it lessens the amount of data that is gathered.
  • Ensure that the information’s users are consulted on any practical implications.
  • Even if they are not immediately required, think about how the information collected may be used in the future.

List Its Essential Components

  • Data elements: What information is being handled, and which classification does it belong to?
  • Formats: What kind of data do you store—hard copies, digital files, databases, bring your device (BYOD), mobile devices, etc.?
  • Transfer strategy: How do you gather and distribute data with internal and external parties?
  • Location: What sites (offices, third parties, the Cloud, etc.) are involved in the data flow?
gdpr data mapping
  • Accountability: Who is liable for the personal information? As the data travels around the organization, this frequently changes.
  • Access: Who has access to the contested data?
  • Legal foundation: Determine the legal justification for the processing of personal data.

Automatic Vs. Manual GDPR Data Mapping

An organization has two choices for data flow mapping. The first choice is to carry out a manual search for information. Informational interviews and questionnaires are frequently used. Before being acquired, the data is obtained via paper questionnaires. The alternative is to conduct a technology-assisted search to compile the relevant details on the organization’s data flow.

This information can be acquired through online electronic surveys or scanners that track data gathering and movement within an organization’s electronic systems. Both human and automated procedures will provide the same outcome if the procedures are carried out appropriately.

However, each technique has advantages and disadvantages. Thus the outcome of two independent attempts may differ.

Benefits Of Privacy GDPR Data Mapping

Data mapping is a useful visualization technique as well. Additionally, it offers many advantages that might help you better protect your client’s privacy and comply with the GDPR. The following are among the most important advantages of data mapping:

Maintaining Compliance With The GDPR

One of the world’s most significant data privacy legislation is the GDPR. By keeping track of how effectively you are adhering to the GDPR’s obligations for openness and fairness, a strong data map makes it simple to stay in compliance.

gdpr data mapping

Creating Reports Under Article 30

Article 30 of the GDPR is one of its most important provisions. Organizations must submit frequent Reports of Processing Activity (ROPA) to analyze the results of their data collection and usage to comply with this provision. Making a data map makes it simple to submit ROPA reports on demand since all the data you want is already in one location.

Identifying And Addressing Privacy Threats

When you zoom in, data maps provide a unique level of insight into how well you safeguard your visitors’ personal information. With that knowledge, you can correct problems before they do damage. You must investigate every area of your data processing to create a reliable data map, highlighting any privacy threats.

Making A Note Of Security Possibilities

Your data map provides insights into the areas where you may make your data operations safer once you’ve addressed any threats. Consequently, you can prioritize the most significant security possibilities rather than only responding to risks and threats.

Responding To Requests For Privacy

Consumers have the right to ask you to remove all of their personal information under the GDPR. To accomplish this, you must be aware of the data you’ve gathered and its storage location. A data map provides a clear path for locating all of a person’s data, regardless of where it was kept and how it was put to use.

That makes it possible for you to remove the data properly without worrying about forgetting anything.

A Thorough Understanding Of Your Data Processing

Data is the lifeblood of modern enterprises. You’ll have a clear grasp of everything you know, don’t know, and need to learn once you’ve created an accurate data map. After that, you may apply this information to develop data processes that are better and safer for both internal and external stakeholders.

gdpr data mapping

GDPR Data Mapping Guidelines

It is possible to easily lose sight of the wider picture when handling the mapping process. You can keep on top of the process and reduce the number of updates you need to make by following certain data mapping best practices.

Select Your Tools

Determine how you’re going to organize the data before you start gathering any information. It is simpler to plan out your data operations efficiently when your tools are set up in advance. The solution you select will rely on the volume and type of data your firm collects and processes.

However, if you’re mapping a huge business or you know you gather a wide range of data, you may start by utilizing a straightforward spreadsheet. It could be preferable to begin using a specific data mapping tool in that situation.

Define Your Data Sources Clearly

Data mapping is used to identify every component of your data processing properly. That entails being up about the source of your data and the nature of the information it contains. Your data mapping should provide answers to issues like:

  • Did you obtain the data directly from the client or a third party?
  • Is the client aware that you will have gathered their information?
  • What sort of information have you gathered? Is it, for instance, a name, an IP address, an email address, a phone number, a physical address, or any other identifying information?

Your total data map will become more accurate the more exact you can be.

Secure The Mapping Process

When undertaking data mapping, you frequently come into contact with the sensitive information you are trying to safeguard. As a result, the mapping process must be kept safe like any other information processing activity. After all, the data map outlines how you safeguard customer data, which can provide bad actors with the knowledge they need to bypass your security precautions.

The level of security for your data tools should match that of your most sensitive data. To keep the map secure from prying eyes, for instance, only authorized users should be allowed to view or change the map in every way.

Final Thoughts

Given the extra time, money, and resources required, not to add the possibility of data expansion and human mistakes, GDPR data mapping using manual approaches just won’t cut it. Companies must embrace the PrivacyOps architecture to utilize a solid data mapping structure.

Any firm that invests in such a structure will reap enormous rewards since it will be prepared to abide by all data privacy requirements, both present and future.

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