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Data Masking: Everything you need to know

In our modern age of technology, data is the building block for everything. Due to this, cases of data threats, losses, thefts, and exfiltration are increasing day by day. This is a high time when people need to realise the importance of data security. Many businesses suffer losses every year due to having weak data security. There are many ways to secure your important data such as encryption and data masking. In this article, we are going to discuss data masking and everything you need to know about it.

What is Data Masking?

Data Masking is a data security technique to create a realistic but fake replica of your data by creating an original dataset with the sensitive data obfuscated. In simple words, creating an authentic-looking but a fake set of data which has your sensitive data hidden inside it so nobody except you can read the data. This fake replica is then used for all purposes and the original data is kept safe.

Data Masking reduces the risk of data losses and data breaches while making data handler easier and safer. Governmental Agencies and many private organisations use data masking to protect sensitive information and data from falling into wrong hands.

Advantages of Data Masking

  • Data protection: With data masking, you can protect your sensitive data from a data breach, loss, and malicious use of data.
  • Cost-Effective: Data Masking is a cost-effective way to protect your data.
  • Maintain structure and integrity: Some data protection techniques can mess up the structure of data and its integrity. This does not happen with data masking and maintains the structure of data.
  • Share data without any fear: With data masking, you can share data with your team without any fear of exposing the important data.
  • Integrate with existing authentication solutions: It can be integrated with already existing authentication solutions such as

Types of Data Masking

There are a few types of data masking techniques which you should know about. But, the two main types of data masking which are heavily used are:

  1. Static Data Masking, and
  2. Dynamic Data Masking

There are some other types available as well such as On-the-fly data masking, Statistical data obfuscation, Deterministic data masking, etc. Most businesses and organisations use static and dynamic data masking.

Static Data Masking

In Static data masking, important and sensitive data is masked in the original database environment. The original set of data is copied and the sensitive data is replaced. This way only the data needed by your team or client is only shared while keeping the sensitive data safe.

Static Data Masking starts with the production data after which different types of data transformations are applied on it creating realistic masked data.

Dynamic Data Masking

Dynamic Data Masking, also known as DDM, is a new data masking technique. As you can guess from its name, dynamic data masking applies dynamic changes on the database.

DDM is less susceptible to threats compared to Static Data Masking. With DDM, companies can secure data in real-time. DDM is used to apply role-based security model and is usually used for the read-only database.

How to do Data Masking

There are many ways to mask your data. You will find many tools available online for data masking processes such as Oracle, iMask, Snowflake Data Masking, Imperva, and many more. You should always check whether the tool you are going to use is keeping up with the latest technological advancements or not such Dynamic Data Masking such as Snowflake, which has a new way to mask the data, Snowflake Dynamic Masking.

All tools have their documentation page which can guide you on how to mask your data. If you are still facing any problems, contact the customer support and they will guide you with the process.

Conclusion

In the modern age, data security has become an important topic which you cannot ignore. Every business must take steps to protect their sensitive data. Data Masking is one of the must-have measures for data security. Your business’s security team should check what kind of data masking technique will be the best fit for the company and then apply it.

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