How To: Create a Data Use Case in Ethyca

A detailed guide on creating use cases for which your business leverages personal data

A Data Use Case is a business purpose for which data is collected, transformed, processed, or stored. It is the term Ethyca uses to refer to what GDPR calls Data Processing Activities _and CCPA refers to as the building blocks of _Data Inventory. To comply with regulation, many companies define a similar term in their Data Processing Addenda.

A Data Use Case is also the primary unit that Ethyca uses to map flows of data in your business. Ethyca builds your Data Map by getting all your Data Use Cases in a row and figuring out how they link together. Each use case is a descriptive name of the business purpose for which your organization uses certain data. Some common examples may include "SMS Marketing," "Payment Processing" or "Account Management".

Creating a Data Use Case

To create a Data Use Case, you will want to go the Data Use Case Digest and select the blue ➕ icon to create your first Data Use Case:


In the new window, there will be a handful of inputs required to add to your Data Use Case.


A description of each field is available below:

FieldDescription (Purpose)
TitleA shortened description of this data use case. When your customers manage their consent preferences in Ethyca's Privacy Center, they'll see this as the title.
Requires Consent (Yes or No)Determines if this use case will require a user's consent to opt-out. If "Yes" is selected, the data use case will be visible to customers in Ethyca's Privacy Center and appear in your Data Map. If "No" is selected, the use case will appear in your internal Data Map only
Note: We recommend defaulting this to "No" for use cases besides Data Sales.A customer-facing description of the use case. If you select "Yes" for Requires Consent, your customers will see this description when they manage their consent preferences in Ethyca's Privacy Center.
Personal Data FieldsIndicate the types of personal data you collect for the purpose of this Data Use Case. When your customers manage their consent preferences in Ethyca's Privacy Center, they'll see these fields if you select "Yes" for Requires Consent. If you select "No", it will only be added to your internal Data Map.
Data Lifecycle PhaseEvery data use case spans one or multiple parts of the "data lifecycle" in your business. By telling us which lifecycle "phases" the use case touches, we know how to best manage the data therein.

You can select one or many of the following lifecycle phases for each use case:

CollectionDo you collect data in this use case? Collection is the point of data entry into your company's ecosystem. This can include cases with account creation, filing a help ticket, or completing a purchase.
TransformationAny point where a field of information is transformed. This means it may be restructured or stored in a different format for a destination system, for example, data from your CRM being sent to a data lake through an ETL process.
ProcessingAny activity where fields of information are acted upon to achieve something. This may be user behavior analysis or sending e-commerce orders, each of these constitute a process.
RetentionAny point where a field of information is stored for future use. This includes identifying destination storage systems, or a tax, order, or healthcare systems where information must be retained for a minimum of 7 years.

Note: We recommend leaving Apply Consent for Websites and Data Integrations unchecked for all use cases outside of CCPA's Data Sales. We have a separate article for setting up your CCPA Data Sales use case available here!

Now let's go through some examples together using some sample Integrations:

TitleDescriptionPersonal Data FieldsData Lifecycle Phases
SMS Marketing (e.g. Twilio, Sendgrid)Acme Corp runs promotions that are sent to you through text message only if you've opted-in to receive them.Name, Address, Phone NumberCollection, Processing
Analytical Tools (e.g. Looker, Heap)Acme Corp uses analytics to better understand user behavior and product engagement to improve the overall customer experience.Behavior interest, mouse tracking, non-specific age, Name, Time spent in app, location, Device ID, Links clickedCollection, Processing, Retention
Payment Processing (e.g. Stripe, Square)Acme Corp uses your payment information to process your subscriptions and manage refunds.Zip, Email, Name, Country, State, City, Credit Card NumberCollection, Processing, Retention
Order Fulfillment (e.g. Shiphero, Shipstation)Acme Corp uses your personal information to to process and fulfill your orders.Email, Address, Zip, Phone Number, Country, State, CityProcessing
Customer Service (e.g. Zendesk, Kustomer)Acme Corp uses your personal data to provide customer support should you have any questions related to our products and services.Email, Address, Zip, Phone Number, Country, State, CityCollection, Processing Retention
Data Sales (e.g. Advertising pixels like Facebook and Snapchat)Acme Corp may share your personal data with 3rd parties to build audiences for serving advertisements to.IP address, email, device type, links clicked, order informationCollection, Processing

Note: For more detail on setting up your Data Use Case for CCPA's Data Sales check out our support article page here!

Once you have added each of your Data Use Cases into the Control Panel, you will then want to connect your integrations back to each data use case.

First step will be selecting the "Integrations" section of the Control Panel and selecting the edit icon depicted below:


From there, you will want to scroll down to the bottom of your Data Mapping settings and and select the Data Use Cases that apply. Importantly, an integration can have multiple use cases, so you can check off as many use cases that apply.


Once added, you will start to see your visual Data Flow Map begin to take form:


Maintaining Data Use Cases

As a reminder, your business purposes of use change may change over time. Someday in the future, you stop doing SMS marketing or you might start using personal data to drive referrals. Your Data Use Cases are a living document, so you will want to make sure they are being updated accordingly within Ethyca. To update a Data Use Cases, select the pencil icon in the row corresponding to that use case.


Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions regarding your account.