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Data Masking Best Practices & Strategies

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It's no secret that data breaches are on the rise. Hardly a day goes by without news of a major business reporting the theft of confidential information, accompanied by leaders calling for an all-out effort to investigate the incident and a renewed commitment to protecting customer data.

DATA MASKING BEST PRACTICES

It's no secret that data breaches are on the rise. Hardly a day goes by without news of a major business reporting the theft of confidential information, accompanied by leaders calling for an all-out effort to investigate the incident and a renewed commitment to protecting customer data.

What's vexing about these situations is that existing tools and data privacy best practices can allow organizations to completely neutralize breach attempts. In particular, data masking strategies that deploy next-generation data masking tools are a proven way to stop hackers and attackers dead in their tracks. Data masking, also known as data obfuscation, replaces sensitive data with fictitious, but realistic values. Confidential information--such as names, addresses, credit card numbers, or patient health information--is rendered inert, but the masked data is still valuable for the purposes of application development, testing, and analytics.

COMMON DATA MASKING STRATEGIES

By following a basic set of data masking best practices, organizations can make their data masking strategy both practical and effective:

Focus on non-production: Environments used for development, testing, backup, and analytics represent 90% of the surface area of risk for data breach. Any data masking strategy should focus data obfuscation methods on those environments to achieve maximum coverage.

  • Maintain referential integrity: Tools should consistently mask data--even for data derived from multiple, heterogeneous sources--so that relationships between values are preserved after the data is transformed.
  • Use irreversible methods: The bedrock of any data masking strategy is a tool that irreversibly transforms confidential information. That way, even if an environment is compromised, there's no way to back out original values.

  • Quickly deliver masked data: Since data is constantly changing and the makeup of non-production landscapes evolves over time, companies need to repeatedly mask and deliver secure data. Data masking strategies must encompass a way to quickly and easily move data downstream.

  • Have an end-to-end approach: Simply applying masking is not enough. Companies must also have an approach to identify sensitive information, apply the appropriate data obfuscation method, and then continually audit sources to ensure protective measures are working.

DELPHIX DATA MASKING SOFTWARE

Especially since the cost of breach is measured in millions of dollars, having an effective data masking strategy can be a clear win for the business. Leveraging a solution like Delphix Data Masking and following data masking best practices not only reduces the risk of data breach, but can also enable developers, testers, analysts, and other data consumers to spend more time working instead of waiting.

Delphix Data Masking is a solution that gives businesses everything they need to continuously protect confidential information. Delphix seamlessly integrates a best-in-class masking tool with data virtualization technology to address the two key challenges that security-minded organizations face: masking data, and then efficiently delivering it. With a single software solution, Delphix allows companies to mask and deliver secure datasets in minutes, instead of days or weeks.