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5 Reasons Why You Need Data Masking for Oracle Test Data Management

why you need data masking for Oracle test data management

In the world of Oracle DevOps, agility is key and yet it must be balanced with information security.  Unfortunately, the headlines are filled with stories of companies who have not gotten the balance correct resulting large scale data breaches that cost companies millions of dollars financially and countless more in reputation.  As you think about your risk, ask yourself “how many copies do I have of my critical databases with private customer information?” For most companies, the answer is “more than we would like.” Every database copy represents a potential target for a hacker, and so it is critical to have central control and to provide consistent and reliable masking.

Why Data Masking?

A masking solution will obfuscate the private information held in an Oracle database while still maintaining the underlying data format. Thus if a hacker were to get access to a masked database, it would be worthless since all data would be anonymized; however, data formats are critical.

For example, if I am developing my application using a masked database which is not reflective of production then how can I have confidence in the resulting code?  An intelligent masking solution maintains formats so that a field containing a social security number will be replaced with one that contains random digits in the proper format, and the same process would  be used for names, addresses and other private information. Intelligently masking an Oracle database will maintain the integrity of queries and analytics while protecting the underlying data

Now let’s look at five reasons why you need data masking for Oracle test data management.

You may be subject to regulations requiring the protection of person data
We live in a world of ever increasing regulations where data breaches can result in massive costs and reputational impact.  For example the EU’s GDPR regulation mandates the greater of of 4% of annual turnover or €20 million for each violation. The incorporate of advanced masking technology can dramatically reduce your risk and enable you to comply with these strict requirements.

Your developers do not need access to sensitive data
Providing data copies to developers can enhance agility and accelerate release cycles, but must their database copies contain proprietary information?  Advanced masking tools can deliver secure datasets that closely mirror production while removing risk. If implemented properly, these masking solutions could be integrated with existing DevOps workflows to simplify the process of provisioning and accessing masked data.

You want to send data to the cloud to perform on-demand testing
The leading cloud providers deliver infrastructure on-demand and powerful analytical tools.  These offerings provide tremendous flexibility and scalability. However, as data moves to the cloud, it provides another potential attack vector for hackers.  To limit your exposure, you might want to consider sending only masked data to the cloud.

You are sharing your data with a third party
Data is extremely critical and the Economist even called it the world’s most valuable resource.  Some companies rely on third parties to help accelerate development, analytics or other similar solutions, and yet your information is only as secure as the security practices of your partner.  Providing an intelligently masked data copy can provide many of the same analytical benefits while reducing the risk of unnecessary data exposure.

You want to protect yourself from cyber attack
Cybercrime is in the headlines and attackers are always on the hunt for private end user information.  The more copies of customer data you have, the greater the surface area for attack and the greater the risk of inappropriate access.  Employing data masking on non-production instances can significantly reduce risk since a compromised database will not resulting in access to regulated information.

There is no doubt that masking database information can significantly reduce risk.  However, for many customers, the process can be complex and costly which results in masking paralysis.  Companies need an automated method to implement and apply data masking to database copies to streamline data security.  Unfortunately, the data masking problem will only get worse over time as database sizes increase, regulations become more strict and the importance of DevOps agility expands.

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Solution Brief – Actifio for Oracle Test Data Management


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