What are Data Lifecycle Phases in Ethyca?

What Are Data Lifecycle Phases in Ethyca?

To understand Data Lifecycle Phase, it's useful to take a step back and think of the way data flows through your business. There's a moment when a piece of data first enters your business ecosystem, moments when it is transformed or processed in some way, and other moments where it's simply at rest.


Each of these phases in the data journey carry a different set of considerations for privacy management, impact, and risk for your business. In Ethyca, a Data Lifecycle Phase (DLP) is a value or set of values assigned to a particular data use case in the Ethyca application. The phases associated with a use case influence how Ethyca displays the use case on your data map.

You'll see the four lifecycle phases displayed across the top of your data map in Ethyca's control panel. Now we'll explore them in more detail.

Lifecycle PhaseDescription
 CollectionThe point of data entry into your company's software ecosystem. For example, for a Customer Service use case, customers may enter their name and email address to create an account when landing on your site; it's initially stored in Auth0 before being sent to Zendesk. Even though Zendesk is used primarily for the customer service, Collection is still a part of this Customer Service use case as the customer information entry is required.
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 minimum 7 years.

Why Are the Lifecycle Phases I Select Important?

In Ethyca, lifecycle phases don't strongly influence how we manage data for a given use case. For instance, a data subject request from one of your users will be surface data in a use case no matter the lifecycle phases it touches.

But lifecycle phases do matter for your business, and so it's useful to have them visualized as part of your data map. As an example, any use cases associated with Retention should be paired by a Data Retention and Destruction policy. Beyond simple compliance, Ethyca's lifecycle phases helps key business stakeholders understand the data that needs special process attention.