Data Mapping and GDPR – How Are They Related?

Consumer data is a valuable asset for any company. It doesn’t matter whether the business is small or large-scale. Having information about your customers helps make their experience better.

But, here’s the thing. With rapid digitization, companies are handling sheer volumes of data daily. Some of it is asked directly in the form of surveys and account creation, whereas, some are retrieved through hidden means like cookies.

Consumers are at constant risk of data theft and cybercrime whatever the purpose behind this data collection. For example, the company may sell the data and share it with third-party sites. Or, a hacker might attack the company database and use the information for malicious activities.

The EU has become active and has taken strict measures to ensure data security. For example, the famous GDPR legislation recognizes several important consumer data rights and encourages the use of data mapping.

Let’s discuss GDPR data mapping and how they are related!

What Is GDPR Data Mapping?

The term data mapping has several confusions and myths surrounding it. Often, companies comprehend it as a special type of data mapping suggested by the GDPR. But that’s not true!

There’s no such thing as GDPR data mapping. The EU legislation doesn’t even mention data mapping. So, why do people keep worrying about it?
To help you understand better, let’s first look at GDPR and Data Mapping.


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) refers to a relatively new data privacy legislation imposed in the EU and the European Economic Area. It lays down strict rules concerning collecting, handling, and processing consumer data. It also grants several rights, including:

  • Right to be informed
  • Right to access
  • Right to correction and rectification
  • Right to erasure
  • Right to object
  • Right to limit data portability
  • Right to restrict data processing
  • Rights centered around automated data decision-making and profiling

The legislation was put into effect on 25th May 2018. Any business that doesn’t comply with the laws or refuses consumer rights would have to pay heavy fines.

Data Mapping

Data mapping is an integral part of all data management tasks. Or, perhaps, it won’t be wrong to state that it’s the starting point.

The process involves matching the data fields from one database to others. All relevant data is linked and mapped out to make a connection. You can also term it as homogenization of data.

So, how does it help the business?
Data mapping makes life a lot easier for business managers and data specialists. It organizes all the data and provides valuable insights. As a result, the authorities can make the right decisions for the company.

What’s more, data mapping has now become easy through automation tools. This software help produce highly-accurate data maps with real-time technologies. Plus, they’re faster than manual data mapping methods.

How Are They Related?

Now that we’ve discussed the fundamentals. You must be wondering how data mapping and GDPR are related.

To cut the chase, data mapping helps businesses comply with the GDPR much better. So, while data mapping isn’t mandatory for GDPR compliance, it can make things a lot easier for your business. So, let’s check out what ways below!

Article 30: ROPA

The provision of ROPA (Records of Processing Activities) has been made compulsory under article 30. It should contain detailed information about the data processing at the company. Some requirements include:

  • Type of data
  • Data subjects categories
  • Purpose
  • Data controller details
  • Any personal data transfers made to international entities
  • Data security mechanism, etc.

Data mapping helps find much of this information easily. So, the companies can fulfill these legal documents quickly.

Article 33: Breach Management

Data breach refers to illegally accessing, using, and stealing confidential information. Article 33 states that any data breach which may put consumer security at risk must be reported within 72 hours.

Now, 72 hours is a brief timeframe for a company to analyze the complete data breach and report the findings. Having data mapped beforehand can help this process by making information access easy.

Article 35: DPIA

DPIA (Data Protection Impact Assessment) is present under Article 35 of the GDPR. It requires the business to conduct a DPIA whenever dealing with high-risk data processing.

The purpose of this assessment is to ensure that consumer data remains secure. To conduct it, you should know what data is collected and processed. You also need to know its storage, usage, and processing method.

A good understanding of the data is essential to assess and identify potential risks. Data mapping organizes all the information that flows through the company and gives you a clear view of things.

Fulfillment of Consumer Data Requests

The GDPR gives consumers many data protection rights, as discussed above. It means anyone can request anything related to their data from your company. And, you’ll have only a month to respond and fulfill it.

All this can make it difficult to keep the business operations on track. Your staff will have to cater to these requests while completing business milestones. So, to avoid any kind of delay and negative impact on your company, data mapping is crucial.

The availability of organized data will help you identify the person’s data and process it as per the request. You won’t have to do things from scratch, which helps save a lot of valuable time and effort.

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