Organizations that handle sensitive data are constantly at risk for security breaches. While firewalls help, there are better ways to conceal important and sensitive data. One of these solutions is data masking. You may be wondering, ” what is data masking?” Keep reading to learn more about data masking and how it can benefit your organization.

data masking?

Data masking is the practice of obscuring or altering sensitive data so that it remains hidden from unauthorized individuals. Masking can be applied to structured and unstructured data and can be used for security and compliance purposes. A variety of methods can be used for data masking, including substitution, encryption, and tokenization. Substitution involves replacing sensitive data with non-sensitive equivalents. Encryption involves transforming sensitive data into an unreadable format, while tokenization involves replacing sensitive data with unique tokens that have no real-world meaning. Data masking is often used in conjunction with database anonymization techniques such as columnar obfuscation and value suppression.

What are the different types of data masks?


Data masking is the practice of obscuring sensitive data to protect it from unauthorized access. There are different data masks, each designed to protect specific types of information. One type of data mask is a random mask. This mask randomly replaces sensitive data with fictitious values. This makes it difficult for unauthorized users to identify the real values in the dataset.

Another type of data mask is a substitution mask. Substitution masks replace sensitive data with other values that look similar but have no real meaning. For example, a substitution mask might replace Social Security numbers with random numbers or letters. This makes it difficult for unauthorized users to determine the actual value of the data. The third type of data mask is a permutation mask. Permutation masks rearrange sensitive data values’ order, so they are not recognizable. This makes it difficult for unauthorized users to identify patterns in the dataset.

How can data masking benefit my organization?

Data masking can be used to protect the identities of individuals and organizations and the confidentiality of data. A recent report found that 90 percent of participating consumers wouldn’t stick with an organization if it didn’t adequately protect their data. Data masking can also be used to improve data quality. There are a number of benefits that can be realized through the use of data masking. These benefits include:

  • Improved Data Security: Data masking can help to protect against data theft and disguising the identities of individuals and organizations
  • Improved Privacy: Data masking can help protect individuals’ and organizations’ privacy by disguising their personal information.
  • Improved Data Quality: Data masking can help to improve the quality of data by removing Personally Identifiable Information (PII), which can often lead to data inaccuracies.

Many different stakeholders could be responsible for implementing a data masking solution. The business users who need the data to be masked may need to provide input into what is masked and how it is masked. The IT department may need to help design and implement the masking solution, and they may also need to manage any related security risks. The compliance or audit team may need to ensure that the masking solution meets specific regulatory or organizational requirements. Finally, the data security team may need to deploy and manage the masking solution.

What are some key considerations to make when implementing data masking?

There are a number of key considerations when implementing data masking, depending on your organization’s size and budget constraints. The most important factor to consider is the type of data you need masked. For example, credit card numbers and Social Security numbers should be masked differently than email addresses or phone numbers. Credit card numbers and Social Security numbers should be randomized so they can’t be easily guessed. In contrast, email addresses and phone numbers can simply be masked with asterisks or other symbols.

Another thing to consider is how you will be using the masked data. If you need to reference the data later, you’ll need to ensure the masking is reversible. If not, the data will be permanently altered and unusable. Finally, you’ll need to decide who will be doing the masking. If you’re doing it yourself, there are a number of online tools that can help. Hiring a third party ensures they have the experience and expertise to do the job right.

How much does data masking cost?

The cost of data masking depends on your chosen method and the level of security you need. It can be a relatively low-cost solution to protecting sensitive data—especially for enterprises. Depending on the scope and complexity of the data masking project, the cost can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. However, the long-term benefits of data masking can be significant, and the cost can be seen as an investment in data security.

Overall, data masking is an important security measure to take to protect sensitive data. By masking your organization’s data, you can protect it from unauthorized access and use.

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