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IBM Introduces Data Masking Solution


IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a new Data Masking Solution that helps protect critical data without disrupting customer service or product development. With these sophisticated Data Masking techniques, the solution is designed to transform data so that no sensitive information is exposed while allowing internal and external developers to perform software product design, development, testing and quality assurance. The new solution will help companies protect their data while taking advantage of the best application development resources available throughout the world.

Data Masking is the process of identifying sensitive data and overlaying values that “masks” the sensitive data, but does not compromise the functional integrity of an application. Today, data masking is accomplished manually by companies’ technical subject matter experts. The task needs to be repeated as large companies have hundreds of business applications that are all tightly integrated. IBM’s Data Masking Solution can execute this masking process in a timely and cost-effective way across the enterprise.
“The new Data Masking solution can help companies take advantage of internal and external talent and resources available around the world, and enhance the security and privacy of critical data,” said Martin Marut, partner, IBM Global Business Services. “Our solution can help improve the development and testing processes by making available real data, yet doing this in such a way that protects the integrity and privacy associated with highly sensitive information.”

There is an increasing awareness for companies to protect the privacy of their customer information. According to an independent March 2006 report by Forrester Research, “Protecting Private Data with Data Masking,” 35 percent of corporations will start using data masking for test data by 2010. Today, companies are often sharing sensitive customer data with external software developers, which can leave it vulnerable to misuse or theft. To address this challenge, it is imperative to determine which data is to be masked and which data should remain intact. For example, titles do not contain business or IT intelligence, so they do not need elaborate masking. Phone numbers contain business intelligence, such as locations and routing information, so that they need to be masked, yet still preserve the intelligence. Companies must consider business rules and policies, processes, information assets, technologies and controls to determine the appropriate masking strategy.

IBM’s Data Masking solution combines the company’s Information on Demand Services expertise with the IBM Information Server data integration software platform, and data masking algorithms developed by IBM software development labs.


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