Data Masking, An Essential Feature Of Data Security And Integrity


Data integrity remains the number one priority of any organization that runs its services through online platforms. Of course, companies that use the internet to deliver their products and services are more at risk of losing their data in the hands of hackers and other online crackers who consistently source business data.

At the initial stage of the internet, businesses and organizations never thought there would be a time; the need to protect data transmitted over the internet becomes essential to its existence.

Indeed the technological advancement and creation of different tools have made the internet a vulnerable place for most businesses and organizations that aren’t security conscious of their transmitted data. Meanwhile, the need and cost to protect information is as costly and important as the information itself. It is, therefore, an obligatory need for businesses in the 21st century to ensure they follow all necessary procedures to protect their consumer’s and employee’s data.


What Does Data Masking Entail?

In a simple term, data masking is a way to create a fake, unrealistic version of the company’s data, to confuse the web intruder. It can also be considered a way to secure the original data by layering it with fake and unnecessary data in a security breach. The sole aim is to protect sensitive data while providing alternative and less valuable data when needed. It could be used for training, documentation, software testing, and other necessary data needs. Data masking revolves around changing the data’s original values while maintaining the actual data’s exact format. The goal and priority are to create a false version of the actual data which cannot be reverse-engineered or deciphered. Generally, there are several ways in which data can be masked, and this activity is carried out by experts Some methods by which data is masked are through character substitution, encryption, character shuffling, and many more tactics are employed to achieve this purpose.


The Importance Of Data Masking Concerning Security

Data masking has become one of the efficient solutions employed in the technological world to protect and preserve data and information integrity as a whole. Here you would be acquitted with some reasons why data masking is important for organizations.

  • Data masking helps solve this problem in critical threats, data loss, data exfiltration, account compromise, un-secure access, third-party data access, and other forms of a data breach. This compromise is only achieved on the masked data, while intruders only access the false information.
  • The method of data masking also helps reduce the data risks which are associated with cloud adoption, and this serves as a protective means for real data.
  • It renders data acquired by the intruders useless while the organization and the IT personnel in charge of the data know better ways to protect his/her organization data.
  • Data masking then creates an avenue for developers to use false information and data structured in the actual data format. Besides, testes and early software adopters would test without revealing the actual data used after the testing and development stage.
  • Masked data can also be used for data sanitization, as the normal file deletion still gives access to data traces in the storage media.

With the above benefits offered by data masking, the organization’s security level must only be possible through data masking to avoid intruders gaining access to the real organization’s data.


Types Of Data Masking

Data masking being a standardized way of protecting data; there are different ways and methods by which organizations can protect their data and also maintain its integrity. The common ways of securing sensitive and valuable data in any organization are then achieved through data masking.


Static Data Masking

This data masking method can be achieved by creating a sanitized version of any organization’s existing database. Creating a sanitized copy then alters all the sensitive data until a copy of the actual data can be securely shared. Generally, the process involves backing up the database during the data production and saving it in another secure environment different from where the data has been created from. This then helps you eliminate any unnecessary data and then masked the data while still in stasis. The masked data can then be made available at the right location to help serve as the original data for the intruders whose aim is to steal the data or compromise it.


On The Fly Data Masking

This process involves masking data while transferring from the point of production systems to the development systems and then saved to the hard disk. Most organizations that frequently deploy software might find it challenging to mask data as they continually deploy their software. Frequent backup of data might be less visible in this situation, as masking needs to be done at several production stages. They face the major issue because they need to continuously stream data from the production stage to multiple testing. However, applying the fly masking method to their produced data helps to mask the small subsets of the data needed for either use or testing. Each subset of the masked data is stored in the dev/test environment and is used by the non-production system.

In fact, data masking is then the only solution that is employable to keep the right data away from the intruders and keep the organization’s information safe and secure. More so, using several data masking methods for better security for your organization can help you achieve much more secured data no matter what your organization does with its data.