21 August, 2015 by Maarten Urbach

FAQ - Data Anonymization DATPROF Privacy

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Data Depersonalization

Some questions are asked on a regular basis. We collected these questions and I will try to answer them in this blog.

 

  • Loading and selecting databases, selecting the input

How do you select a database? Well that’s pretty easy, you’ll need the connection address plus credentials. Then you’ll select the database you want to mask or anonymize. After you selected the database for masking you’ll also need to insert the metadata.

  • How to use the metadata of a data model?

After you have entered the connection credentials you want to import the metadata. The metadata describes the characteristics of the data(base), for example you’ll find information about table names, column names, sizing, data types etc. On import the foreign keys found in the metadata are valuable for DATPROF Privacy and Subset.

Sometimes foreign keys are not stored as part of the metadata of the database. So we also are able to import the metadata stored in a table or with a script before we start a masking process. If all these options don’t resolve the need for metadata, we are also able to update the tool with additional relationships. These will only be known within the tool used and are in no way transported into the database itself.

The metadata for helping the data masking process  within  DATPROF Privacy. The metadata enables you to put masking functions on tables and columns easily.

  • How are masking functions selected on tables and/or columns?

After the metadata is imported the tool can present the tables and columns to you for developing data masking functions. These functions can be made by selecting any given table and within this table by selecting one or more columns you want to put a particular data masking function on. You are than able to select this masking option by right-mouse-click or clicking the function button. A variety of functions are available enabling you to fulfil all your anonymizing needs.

After adding these functions to columns, you can also easily edit these functions. If a function should cover more than one column, you can easily edit the function and add more columns to a function. For example if you want to shuffle first name, it might be interesting to shuffle gender accordingly. Thus keeping the relation between the first name and the recorded gender.

  • How to synchronize an existing template with a changed database model?

Changes in a database model do appear. So when you create a template with DATPROF Privacy it is important that service and support for these kind of changes are kept to a bare minimum. For this purpose the synchronize metadata button was created. Within the project setting screen of DATPROF privacy, you are able to synchronize the meta data model. It searches for differences between the meta data saved within the template and the meta data as present within the connected database. As an user of DATPROF Privacy you are able to accept or discard these changes.

After finishing the synchronization, the template can be updated and executed. The only thing to keep in mind is, when some new tables or columns are introduced, those might contain privacy sensitive data which should be masked. If that is the case you can create new or edit existing functions as needed.

  • How is the data masking process started? Can it be monitored?

With DATPROF Privacy there are two ways to start a data masking process, directly from the DATPROF Privacy application. The second way of starting a masking process is by DATPROF Runtime. With DATPROF Runtime any created template of DATPROF Privacy can be scheduled and executed. For example to be able to start the data masking process during the night.

The process can be monitored with the logging within DATPROF Privacy. So if a run failed, you are able to see where the run failed to execute and solve the problem at hand.

Photo by photosteve101 at flickr.

Written by Maarten Urbach

Introduces the possibilities of our subsetting and masking technologies to our clients as Sales and Marketing Manager of DATPROF! Loves disruptive technologies, companies and windsurfing.

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