Data Mapping

What Is Data Mapping?

Data mapping is the process by which your company handles data. From collecting information, cataloging the data, storing it, using it, and transferring it within your organization. Other terms used alternatively for data mapping are data inventory, data flow mapping, Article 30 assessment (using GDPR mapping), and personally identifiable information disclosure (using CCPA mapping).Mapping provides you with an easy way to catalog all information that you gather. That being said, this system inherently involves various procedures requiring the use of a wide variety of data mapping tools. The mapping software you have to use would then depend on what your business needs. It might seem a daunting undertaking, however, it is a necessary procedure for everyone’s safety.

Why Data Mapping Is Important

Now that we’ve discussed what data mapping is, we will talk about why it is essential for businesses to have one. Every company needs a privacy data mapping system to organize and safe-keep information, especially sensitive data.

Smooth migration of data from one source to another

Data is transferred and sorted accordingly when mapped properly. This prevents data loss or miscategorization.

Check data for accuracy

Data mapping cross-checks data for a more accurate curation of information. Automated systems make this process easier.

Collate data and look for trends

Mapping lets you gather information and see patterns in your consumer data. It helps you understand your customers and let you plan for future marketing.

Common Challenges of Data Mapping

Data mapping is a meticulous process composed of numerous procedures. It is only natural that you will encounter some of the common problems in mapping.

Outdated systems

More and more data is being processed these days. Old systems and tools like spreadsheets and PowerPoints simply cannot keep up with the influx and transfer of tons of data. It is imperative that companies upgrade their mapping system to ensure proper data handling. An automated system like ZenData’s privacy mapping tools is the perfect solution for your data management needs.

Data inconsistency

Information comes from many different sources and is transferred to and from various databases. As an example, it is highly possible that information entered by a single customer is not updated correctly in your catalog. The person may have entered a phone number in one form that is a different number than on another form they filled out. This can lead to data inconsistency and confusion in your catalog.To avoid mismatched information in your database, your system has to detect the difference and have an information update feature for the person to confirm which number is being actively used.

Identification of personal data

The GDRP requires the protection of any online identifier. This includes a person’s:
Your mapping system needs to be able to identify each piece of information and sort them into the proper category and make necessary changes at any stage of data handling. This information which is considered sensitive must be handled more securely.

Data processing activity

User data goes through a lot of processes. It needs to be collected, recorded, categorized, sorted, stored, retrieved, transferred, shared, altered, restricted, erased, or destroyed. All these activities need to be identified and recorded in your data mapping, which can be difficult or tedious, especially for larger corporations.


Regulatory compliance is definitely one of the most difficult challenges companies face when data mapping. The laws require an accurate record of processing activities. As we’ve mentioned before, there are numerous activities, and companies need to be on top of everything.Mapping is a methodical job that demands the most efficient tools, and ZenData has it all. Get all the data mapping solutions you need under one brand.

Types of Data Mapping Tools

The types of tools are categorized based on how mapping is done. The two main types are manual mapping and automated mapping. The third type is a hybrid of the two, a semi-automated mapping technique. Read about each type to determine which is suitable for your business’s data needs.


Manual data mapping needs professional cybersecurity coders to set up your system. All the tools and processes are made and executed using code. Manual methods certainly require more technical knowledge but also give you more freedom and control over your data.


No coding skills are required when using automated data mapping tools. ZenData’s Data Privacy Compliance Software and other tools are extremely simple and fast to use. They are mostly drag-and-drop types of tools, which is why they can be run by anyone who has an understanding of data organization.


A semi-automated system means you are shifting between manual and automated mapping software to manage your data. This still requires a bit of coding knowledge to run.
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GDPR Data Mapping

The General Data Protection Regulation, more commonly referred to as GDPR, is put in place to ensure the continued safety of users online. Data mapping for GDPR is a strict process that will elicit fines from companies that fail to comply with its laws. Though there are a lot of intricacies to follow, all of them are reasonable security procedures.One such privacy compliance that businesses need is to offer users access and control over their personal data. Submitting a Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) form will let users know and decide what to do with the data they are providing to the company.This is the common information that you need to provide in a GDPR-compliant data map:

As long as you are diligent in organizing and updating your company’s data mapping, you will most likely be compliant with the GDPR. For easier compliance, companies opt to use data mapping services like ZenData. We have all the tools you need, which are all tested and GDPR-compliant.

CCPA Data Mapping

The California Consumer Privacy Act, CCPA for short, is a law enacted in 2020 to give consumers power over what information companies can collect and how it will be handled. As the name suggests, this is an ordinance meant to protect California residents only.

This law only applies to businesses that are operating in the state of California or offering goods or services to the residents of California even if the company is not physically based in the said state. For companies to continue doing business in the area, they must be CCPA compliant.

CCPA data mapping is greatly similar to GDPR mapping. One major difference is the definition of personal information. CCPA has a looser definition and does not consider the publicly available information from government records, namely property records and professional licenses. Another big difference is that users have the option to say NO to the sale of their personal data under CCPA.

In essence, the data mapping requirements are the same and are meant to let users know and control the use of their personal data.
Your business needs a well-organized and maintained data map to comply with the laws outlined in the CCPA. Doing this would require solutions that ZenData can provide.

Reasons to Use Data Mapping

There are several compelling reasons why you should utilize data mapping in your company.

Privacy compliance

International privacy regulations are getting stricter in their bid to protect consumers online. Privacy data mapping is now a must-have for businesses and enterprises. Without these security measures, you will surely be fined. Be secure knowing that your company will always be in compliance with the laws when you work with ZenData.

Gain consumer trust

People are increasingly concerned about their safety online. Consumers will choose businesses based on safety rather than price. For this reason, using a secure data mapping system will naturally attract more clients to your company.
Make your customers aware that you have security measures in place to protect their data and privacy. Proudly display ZenData’s Badges on your business website and/or apps.

Automation of no code data mapping

ZenData’s mapping solution gives you control over your data even without programming knowledge. With data mapping automation, you spend less time organizing data so you can allot more time analyzing it.

Boost your marketing

Data mapping reveals tons of customer information that you can use to create and launch a successful marketing strategy. Don’t let all these resources go to waste. Take advantage, because knowledge truly is power.
Interested in protecting your data? Talk with our ZenData specialists today! Enter your question in the chat or submit your email address to learn more.