Data Masking: what is it and what advantages it has?

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Gradually, data masking becomes a more popular solution to ensure the security of personal data in software development environments.

But do you know how this process works?

Before implementing it because you hear everyone around you talking about it, let´s discover the different techniques that exist and the advantages that it will bring to your company.

You are ready?

Let’s go!

What is data masking?

Data masking is a process in which the data available to companies is transformed with the aim of protecting the information and their confidentiality. And, at the same time it is about maintaining its authenticity for internal use in software development and for testing.

What sensitive data should be included in the Data Masking?

Sensitive data is all information that, by making easier the identification of persons or entities, requires great protection due to the fact that it is private data.

The classification of sensitive data may vary between different countries, but the following data is always considered sensitive:

  • Full name
  • National Identity Card
  • Telephone
  • E-mail
  • Address
  • Bank account
  • Debit/credit cards
  • Vehicle registration (in case of insurers)
  • Medical data that can help identify the client (rare diseases)
  • Any other information that helps to locate a client.

Types of Data Masking

Once we know what data we must protect, it is essential to differentiate between the different types of Data Masking that exist:

Static Data Masking

In this case, the production data of the original database is referenced.

The information retains context and consistent referential integrity, and therefore we can use it in test environments.

Dynamic Data Masking

Unlike Static Data Masking, Dynamic Data Masking replaces sensitive data in transit, leaving the original information at rest intact and unchanged. That means data is protected in real time.

Unauthorized access to confidential information is prevented by allowing customers to specify the amount of confidential information to be disclosed.

Data Masking Techniques

Understanding the previous aspects, we are going to reveal you the different Data Masking techniques that we can find.

Encrypton

Encryption

The first technique that we want to highlight is encryption, a very complex and secure technique.

The objective of this process is to make the data incomprehensible in the case that a third party accesses them.

This technique changes the composition of the data in a file thanks to the use of algorithms and once encrypted, only authorized users can access them with a specific key.

Elimination

Deletion

The deletion procedure renders the data null or non-existent to anyone who is not authorized to access it.

Scramble

Scramble

This third technique is very basic. It consists of character encoding, that is, the characters are mixed in a random order so that the original content is not revealed.

Substituon

Substitution

This technique consists of imitating the appearance of real data without compromising personal information.

Authentic data is hidden by making believe the user that it is real.

Shuffling

Shuffling

Shuffling uses real data, but changes the values of a column in a file.

This makes the set look like real data, but doesn’t reveal any personal information.

Advantages of Data Masking

Finally, and after knowing the most technical part of Data Masking, we are going to present you the reasons why you should implement this procedure in your business.

Next, we explain what are the advantages of using data masking.

Protects data in real time

Risk is reduced through effective protection of sensitive data in production and external environments.

Reduces security costs

Fewer resources are needed because it is easier than encryption or other methodologies, but more efficient.

It is a scalable process and easy to configure

This process supports many databases in a single installation and this results in data masking policies being defined only once.

Conclusion

In response to the demands of today’s world in which data creation is faster and more volatile, our companies must be prepared to guarantee the security of all data.

We must have a procedure that ranges from the identification of sensitive data to the evaluation of each of the elements that are part of it to ensure that data masking techniques are infallible.

 With the aim of helping companies achieve all this, at icaria we have developed icaria TDM.

If you want to have it, you can know more with this link.

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