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How can you Maximize the Benefits of your Data Map?

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was a turning point in the world of data and privacy. It brought more accountability on the part of the data controllers and processors while empowering individuals with the introduction of data subject rights.

In the US, we saw the CCPA generating similar reactions around compliance and scrutiny. Organizations needed to keep track of what data was being collected and how it was being processed. It was necessary to maintain a record of all processing activities and how they impacted the business and consumers.

The data map offers a single, definite solution, with multiple use cases apart from just privacy. A data map not only ensures compliance but is a representation of how data is transmitted within and outside the organization. The data map can be as basic or as comprehensive as you want- it can be developed for risk assessment and remediation efforts, which can offer added benefits and simplify collaboration among the different business units.

Today, a data map is a necessity for any organization dealing with a considerable amount of consumer data. With new regulations being introduced across the globe, businesses need to be equipped with the knowledge of what data they have, its storage, and processing. The data map can make all this information available at a single source and help you with your compliance efforts in several ways.

Let’s discuss the best ways to maximize the benefits of the data map while optimizing its costs in the best interest of your company’s objectives.

Maximizing the benefits of the Data Maps A comprehensive data map can go beyond compliance and bring significant benefits to the organization:

1. Proof of good privacy practices

A data map acts as proof of the practices that are being followed within the organization. It can be used to identify lapses along with the good practices that show results. A data map should be reflective of any changes made to the data flow or processing, allowing more control and transparency. An extensive data map can serve as a document for studying and reviewing the data-related processes. It can also be used during audits and investigations by internal stakeholders.

2. Data maps for remediation

Data maps can be used to size and scope the privacy program and plan its scalability. With five new upcoming privacy laws to take effect in the US, it is important that businesses plan and prepares for scaling their programs with the evolving regulatory landscape. Having a precise idea about your data processing activities can help in developing a good privacy strategy that is adaptable and sustainable.

3. Data maps for privacy requirements

A data map can meet all your privacy requirements by linking it with your privacy processes and leveraging the information gathered from it.

  • Data map can be useful for responding to data access requests by identifying the source and location of data

  • Data map can be used as a guideline for framing privacy notices and consent forms

  • Information available from data maps can be used for conducting impact and risk assessments

4. Data maps for risk management

Adding a risk component to the data map can help assess the risks and implement the necessary risk control measures.

  • Create metrics to analyze your risks against thresholds and measure your tolerance

  • Identify the activities most exposed to risks

  • Run risk scenarios to estimate the impact of upcoming laws and regulations

5. Gain insights

Data maps can provide in-depth insights into business operations by studying process efficiencies and customer experience. These can be analyzed to drive process change or gain business advantage. The maturity of your data map relates to your privacy strategy- insights from the data map can be used to improve the company’s privacy posture and learn about process gaps.

Tips for building an effective and current Data Map Building and maintaining a data map that is rich and comprehensive does require capital and resources. However, the key is to ensure that the data map stays current and useful without overrunning the budget and going beyond the value it brings.

1. Keep it simple

While creating an extensive data map, it is possible to get lost in the granularity that doesn’t add much value to the business. An efficient data map is one that is easy to maintain and navigate and enables collaboration across teams. A data map that fulfills the requirements of a particular business unit and is not much useful to the others is not effective.

2. Automate

It is not humanely possible to keep up with the data that we process on a regular basis. Automating your data map will ensure it stays relevant and up to date with minimal effort. While it is not advisable to employ automation blindly throughout the process, focusing on the important areas can show real benefits to the organization.

3. Ownership and accountability

Granting ownership and assigning accountability can enrich the data map and open new rooms for opportunities. Training employees and promoting data maps within the organization can bring cross-functional collaboration and alignment within teams.

4. Optimize resources

A data map can reveal areas that need special attention and added controls. You can optimize your resources based on the availability to safeguard high-risk processes while ensuring others also have the necessary controls in place.


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