Data Masking Reduces Security Risks for Businesses: Report

Masked data is used in application development, testing, quality assurance, support and business analysis by a range of private and governmental entities.

Data security intelligence and protection specialist Dataguise released a report suggesting data masking, or the de-identification of sensitive data used in application development, testing and business analysis, can go a long way to improving a business or organization s ability to protect itself against security risks. The company recommended creating test and development copies through an automated process to reduce the exposure of sensitive data and improve data security in non-production instances. The company said leaving the data in the hands of employees could have "disastrous results."

Of the available options, the study found those that provide actionable intelligence and enable information security, compliance officers and infrastructure managers to better understand shared responsibilities for protecting data are preferred.

Joe Feiman, a senior analyst at Gartner, said data-masking technologies can help protect organizations against security breaches as well as regulatory and other compliance failures in industries ranging from health care to government and private enterprises. "A clear understanding of the key trends in this still-evolving market is crucial to making the right implementation decisions."

In addition, the Center for Democracy and Technology noted the increased flow of health care data posed a "significant" threat to privacy. "Among the many challenges that will require attention as health IT is promoted through implementation of the stimulus legislation and other means is how to strip health data of personal identifiers in order to eliminate or reduce privacy concerns, while still retaining useful information."

This article was originally published on 08-26-2011
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