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Data mapping is an organizational process that helps users visualize how data moves throughout various business systems. It matches fields in one database to the fields in others. This allows the databases (and other third-party systems) to communicate and share information more easily.
Given that compliance relies on a business’s ability to provide up-to-date and accurate reports, data mapping has become a necessary tool to corral data sets and provide the type of compliance reporting that regulators expect.
What Does Data Mapping Software Do?
Data mapping tools help companies inventory the personal data under their purview and ensure that data sets are accurate and digestible for whoever may need them. Tools for data mapping are used during data migrations, system integrations, and high-level business intelligence reviews.
Data mapping software creates a clear picture of how this information travels; it shows where it comes from and its destination. Through source-to-target mapping, connectivity to databases via APIs, and data validation tools (among other strategies), data mapping tools free users from the burdens of manual data management and make goals like regulatory compliance a breeze.
Everything is collected and organized within the mapping data software, and the reports generated through these tools can be presented as evidence of compliance to regulators. As the global community continues to refine and develop user-centric privacy laws, companies will need to maintain agility in their compliance processes to make sure that they always keep pace.
The Best Data Mapping Tools
Let’s look at some of the best data mapping software and review which solutions might interest businesses. Factors like price, feature set, scalability, and integration potential should all be considered.
1. Enzuzo (Best All-Round Tool)
Top among our list of data mapping tools is Enzuzo. The platform is intuitive, easy to use, and offers an affordable price tag. Those familiar with Enzuzo’s GDPR-compliant privacy solutions know its top-notch features, including cookie consent management, data subject access requests, and vendor risk assessments.
In the Enterprise Plan, users can access a cutting-edge data privacy co-pilot program that automatically identifies compliance, governance, and data mapping challenges. Aside from the obvious advantages of leveraging automation for these ongoing tasks, Enzuzo’s data mapping tools allow companies to uplevel their processes in several key ways.
Build Sensitive Data Inventory & Custom Classifications
Enzuzo helps create sensitive data inventories by creating a comprehensive map that specifies the locations of sensitive details that may exist in the system, such as personally identifiable information (PII), financial data, or health records. The platform supports custom classifications of data sets that allow users to customize data maps to different sensitivity levels or other categorizations. This is a type of targeted security measure that allows businesses to take granular control over their compliance programs.
Evaluate Data Against Privacy Regulations
As an essential feature, the best data mapping software allows users to define rules in the system and evaluate data against pre-established compliance requirements. This may involve checks to ensure data is used correctly, stored securely, and processed in ways that safeguard user privacy. Platforms like Enzuzo provide visualizations of these elements and can identify areas that need adjustment. This is a vital feature not often found in free data mapping tools, yet it remains an essential process for compliance management.
Incident Management and Reporting on Request
Users need to be notified immediately when something goes wrong with the compliance programs. Enzuzo’s data mapping software can identify data breaches or incidents and offer a quick notification on the affected area. By tracking data flows throughout the incident and mapping out its potential impacts, users can respond more quickly and view the potential ramifications of every issue before problems escalate. And, of course, the platform supports simple reporting on request for data maps, records of processing activities (ROPAs), and more. This assures compliance stakeholders that they always have immediate access to the necessary details.
Customized Pricing Model
Enzuzo’s customized pricing model gives users a range of options for their solution. With a free option available and paid plans starting as low as $29/month, Enzuzo offers something for everyone. While the platform’s tools for data mapping are available only in the Enterprise Plan, each Enterprise implementation will be personalized to ensure all clients receive the services they need at an affordable price.
Custom Workflows and Integrations
A key aspect of data mapping is integration with other business systems. The data mapping tools must be able to pull and categorize data sets with minimal technical burden and apply that process to multiple systems at once. Enzuzo supports seamless integration with existing business systems; with custom workflows and integrations if required.
Collaboration with Enterprise Clients
While some companies offer free data mapping tools with limited functionality, these solutions often lack the scope and scalability to support enterprise workloads. Enzuzo makes it a priority to collaborate with enterprise clients and develop specific workflows that meet the demands of enterprise-level operations. With Enzuzo, users can rest easy knowing that their compliance partner has the experience to make seamless compliance possible.
Positive Reviews on UX, Customer Support, and Onboarding
Enzuzo regularly receives feedback on the great user experience, responsive customer support, and a fast onboarding process that expedites the compliance timeline. Enzuzo offers a smooth transition away from outmoded compliance practices and facilitates a better, more comprehensive management system.
Learn more about how Enzuzo can meet your data mapping needs. Book 1-1 time with Mate Prgin, CEO 👇
2. OneTrust (Best for Fortune 500s)
OneTrust is our choice for companies with large budgets and resources to match. Those familiar with OneTrust understand its role in the data privacy landscape: It’s a powerful, comprehensive solution for privacy management with a great brand under its belt. However, it’s not without its drawbacks.
First, let’s cover what OneTrust does well. Like Enzuzo, OneTrust's data mapping tools empower organizations with automated workflows that streamline manual compliance processes. The software helps users improve their understanding of their company’s data with tools that identify and catalog data sets used across the enterprise.
OneTrust’s feature set is its biggest strength. The data mapping solution can connect to various systems through pre-built connectors, bulk import tools, and questionnaires. This ensures that a system the size of OneTrust can fulfill its niche without taking on substantial technical burden. After implementation, OneTrust makes it easy to identify personal data, outline the compliance regulations in question, and maintain ongoing inventories of all data assets.
In terms of drawbacks, OneTrust may be prohibitively expensive for many companies. It offers three pricing tiers across large, growing, and special industries, although users must contact the company directly for quotes. In our experience, OneTrust implementations come with long contractual commitments and high costs that usually run into the hundreds of thousands—and costs increase as new modules are added.
It's also worth pointing out that the company, for all its brand recognition, falls short on customer service. Users have reported many challenges with the technical nature of the platform, and response teams aren’t always able to provide a resolution. We advise users to consider whether the full spectrum of OneTrust services is truly necessary for their needs, as partnering with OneTrust means locking into a long-term commitment.
Ketch is another provider of programmatic privacy solutions. It offers a unique platform known as Ketch Trust by Design. This platform boasts a dynamic data discovery and classification toolset that streamlines data mapping challenges, much like OneTrust or Enzuzo.
Like other data privacy platforms at this level, Ketch connects easily with external systems to create clear, comprehensive rundowns of a company’s data footprint. This is one of the main features of all data mapping platforms, and Ketch excels at mitigating these challenges with its advanced discovery tools. Among these tools are machine learning models that can continually automate and provide ongoing assessments of a company’s data landscape. Ketch runs its deep data discovery processes at a granular level, giving users full control over their data mapping strategy.
Regarding drawbacks, Ketch’s user base may struggle to get the most out of this complex platform. The best data mapping tools feature strong usability, eliminating roadblocks rather than creating them. At the same time, Ketch has great features, and users report challenges with the UX to set up its advanced features.
In addition, like OneTrust, Ketch comes with long contractual commitments across its plans, which may give some users pause. It’s worth mentioning that Ketch has a Free Plan option that lets buyers test basic functionality before they commit, but the data mapping features are available only in the paid plans.
Transcend is another powerhouse platform focused on data governance, visibility, and privacy. Unlike other entries in this list, Transcend focuses exclusively on data management products. Some of the features included are tools for data inventory, data lineage, discovery, classification, and autonomous privacy operations.
The platform offers several avenues for data discovery, including tools for structured data that create connections across silos, as well as tools for unstructured datasets that may exist in complex formats. These discovery tools form the foundation for Transcend’s inventory and lineage tools, which catalogue and track data points across the entire ecosystem. It’s a robust feature set that companies will appreciate.
Unique for platforms of this scale, Transcend bills itself as serving companies of all sizes, from Fortune 100s to startups. However, pricing information isn’t available without direct contact, so budget-conscious companies will have plenty of research to do before they decide. Expect that solutions on this scale will run on the higher end of pricing. Additionally, some users report difficulties getting the platform up and running, so as with many technical platforms, users should decide if the upfront technical effort will justify the expected returns.
Ethyca is another great option for data mapping software. As a relatively new entry in the data privacy game, Ethyca doesn’t have the name recognition of, say, OneTtrust or Osano, but they boast an impressive range of solutions. Ethyca’s features include automated data discovery, data mapping, user consent preference management, reporting, and more.
Ethyca claims to offer a higher degree of process automation than its competitors, and its impressive feature set brings some validity to the idea. Nearly all services here are built to provide hands-off data management. Ethyca claims to automate 90% of complex data privacy requirements through its impressive features.
Even more impressive is how Ethyca has managed to bring these solutions to the table with a relatively small team. As a growing company, Ethyca isn’t as established as its competitors, but it makes up for its lack of experience with a strong customer focus and cutting-edge technology.
However, this lack of experience is a drawback worth noting, particularly for more risk-averse buyers. Some users have reported challenges with Ethyca’s deployment; they cite the need to perform custom development to integrate Ethyca correctly. These types of technical challenges are common with new solutions and companies. However, to Ethyca's credit, users report many positive experiences when working with customer support teams.
TrustArc is another household name in data privacy solutions. They offer a variety of solutions for data management, compliance, and business security. Those in ecommerce may know TrustArc for its privacy certification, often displayed by online storefronts to build trust. TrustArc bills itself as an “all-in-one” solution for data privacy management, and its data mapping tools reflect that.
TrustArc Data Inventory Hub and Risk Profile solution offers a way to automate data flows and perform on-demand reporting. They combine automation with collaborative functions, so TrustArc can easily generate clear data maps, ROPAs, and more so all users maintain continuous compliance with regulations. There’s not much that TrustArc can’t do in the world of privacy management, and users who seek a comprehensive solution will find a home here.
On the other hand, TrustArc does come with its share of drawbacks. It is known to be expensive, and worse yet, past users report challenges when they try to overcome technical roadblocks through subpar customer support. Given the technical complexity of these solutions, poor support quality is a valid concern. While every company’s experience will differ, these drawbacks are worth weighing against TrustArc’s impressive feature set.
BigID is another strong choice for companies seeking an all-in-one data governance solution. It features robust software for mapping data, including tools to discover, inventory, and validate data automatically. Data discovery is one of the cornerstone offerings for BigID, and they cover the bases with a range of tools to find and map information. Many features are available out of the box. Aside from its data mapping options, BigID supports many functions across zero trust security, risk management, and rights automation.
And, BigID is on the more affordable end of things, considering its size, and a free trial is available to any business that wants to kick the tires. These two benefits add a nice bit of flexibility to BigID’s services, although the company has shortcomings.
Users report some challenges managing BigID’s features and implementation process. Plus, BigID doesn’t have its own API key, which may limit its extensibility with other systems. Users should review whether BigID’s strong feature set is worth the potential struggles with cumbersome architecture. While pricing is not transparent on their page, users do have the option to craft a custom quote based on their desired services.
Securiti is another viable option for businesses that want an all-encompassing data management solution. Billing itself as a “data command center,” Securiti promises to break silos of data intelligence and unify data controls for companies. The company features a good range of security, privacy, governance, and compliance tools, including some innovative data discovery and classification tools.
Securiti’s data mapping options allow users to catalog all assets across environments, and the platform boasts over 200+ native connectors to help make this possible. Many data attributes are configured out-of-the-box to save time, and there are unique options to support personal attributes specific to different global regions.
There’s a lot to love in Securiti’s feature set, but like with many advanced platforms, usage challenges abound. Users report struggles with platform management as well as difficulties finding the supporting documentation they need. This is a common challenge with complex platforms; while users enjoy the broad range of capabilities, many find the reality of implementation to be harder than they thought. Note that Securiti does offer a free trial for users who want to test things out before they proceed.
Collibra offers another option for data intelligence. It offers a range of dedicated discovery solutions under the Collibra Data Intelligence Platform. Users can access everything from data cataloging to lineages to AI governance—all done to give companies an end-to-end look at the data lifecycle. Collibra brings pre-configured services that help launch discovery efforts, and backed by a range of embedded data management tools, there’s little that Collibra can’t do.
Collibra typically serves mid to large-sized companies, and pricing information isn’t readily available like many of its competitors. Its typical customer and scope of services indicate that Collibra’s pricing may be out of scope for smaller businesses. On the plus side, Collibra offers several types of free trial and demo options for prospects, so companies can do their own research.
Users have noted that while Collibra is a great solution, it has shortcomings in its UI and required learning curve. Certain aspects of Collibra’s design may be unintuitive, and some users report not being supported enough during implementation. While Collibra’s features are comprehensive, customer support appears to be an ongoing challenge. And like BigID, Collibra does not provide its own API key.
What Are The Benefits of Data Mapping?
Accurate data mapping is a necessary part of a business’s compliance strategy, but data mapping isn’t just a box to check on the GDPR checklist. Organizations can benefit only from getting more visibility into the data driving their operations. Data mapping software is an essential way to create this visibility and start treating data as a strategic tool rather than a utility to manage.
Data mapping is the only way to guarantee that a business’s data-handling practices comply with GDPR, CCPA, and other frameworks. Whether through GDPR-mandated ROPAs or other deliverables, businesses must be sure that they can generate accurate compliance reports when needed, and this is only possible when the data is mapped out correctly.
Better Data Insights
Data mapping provides businesses with a clear visualization of how data moves within their systems. It’s important to understand the movement and relationships that exist among datasets. This is an important step to analyze this information and turn these analyses into actionable improvement strategies. With big data, knowledge is power.
A key advantage in modern data mapping software is how it leverages automation to streamline tasks. Data discovery used to be a labor-intensive process, but as new platforms integrate more advanced solutions, the cost associated with these tasks is dropping. This means companies can maintain their data management goals while applying those saved resources to other tasks.
Data inventories aren’t just for record-keeping; they can identify and assess the potential risk of various data processing activities. These assessments may pinpoint weak points in data flows or recognize vulnerabilities in security protocols. With the right platform and partner that guides these reviews, data mapping can go a long way to improve an organization’s security posture.
Faster Data Migration
Data migrations are inevitable for most businesses, but effective data mapping can mitigate some challenging aspects of migration projects. In particular, pre-migration planning work can be time-consuming, as migration teams must develop unique strategies that migrate data loads. Having data categorized and relationships mapped out in advance can speed up these timelines and start migration work well.
Data mapping means data visibility. This greatly benefits organizations that want to maintain data usage and handling practices transparency. Software for data mapping offers nice visualization tools that help teams stay in the loop concerning performance and collaboration.
Learn more about how Enzuzo can meet your data mapping needs. Book 1-1 time with Mate Prgin, CEO 👇
Osman is the content lead at Enzuzo. He has a background in data privacy management via a two-year role at ExpressVPN and extensive freelance work with cybersecurity and blockchain companies. Osman also holds an MBA from the Toronto Metropolitan University.