What are Data Masking Tools?
Data Masking Tools are security software that prevents abuse of sensitive data. This may include personal, identifiable data like social security numbers, bank account information, or commercially sensitive data.
The software achieves this by substituting sensitive data with fictitious data, usually housed in non-production databases, and placing data where it is needed. Data masking tools may be used during application development or testing where apps require data input from an end-user. It may also be used, for instance, in a call center where personal data is masked from the call center operative.
Data masking is sometimes described as data obfuscation and is related to data encryption, and tokenization. An important distinction is that data masking is sometimes a non-reversible process where sensitive data is cloned and transformed into something credible but, once created, wholly different than the source. Its importance is that it is available for testing or demonstration where required but that it, as a transformed object, does not risk exposing the original identifying data.
Data Masking Tools Features
Data masking tools generally provide the following features and capabilities:
A range of masking techniques available on-demand
Centralized management of masking policy, audit trail
Track compliance with data privacy law
Apply masking rules code-free
Apply different rules for subsets of data
Multi-factor subsetting, sophisticated subsetting techniques
Share subsets of masked data on-demand
Can access data stored in a variety of databases or apps
Realistic but fictional data available for testing, “sandboxing”
Format-preserving encryption (FPE) transformation
Data masking tools are generally available only at cost. However many popular vendors provide a free trial. Data masking tools are priced according to volume of data processed, or alternately according to named users via a recurring subscription.