Category Archives: Data masking

Healthcare Data Masking: A Primer

Healthcare Data Masking: A Primer

Healthcare Data Masking: A Primer

When trying to protect your data from the nefarious souls that would like access to it (?), there are several options available that apply to very specific use cases. In order for us to talk about the different solutions – it is important to define all of the terms:

  • PII – Personally Identifiable Information – any data that could potentially identify a specific individual. Any information that can be used to distinguish one person from another and can be used for de-anonymizing anonymous data can be considered PII
  • GSA’s Rules of Behavior for Handling Personally Identifiable Information – This directive provides GSA’s policy on how to properly handle PII and the consequences and corrective actions that will be taken if a breach occurs
  • PHI – Protected Health Information – any information about health status, provision of health care, or payment for health care that can be lined to a specific individual
  • HIPAA Privacy Rule – The HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information and applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and those health care providers that conduct certain health care transactions electronically.  The Rule requires appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information, and sets limits and conditions on the uses and disclosures that may be made of such information without patient authorization. The Rule also gives patients rights over their health information, including rights to examine and obtain a copy of their health records, and to request corrections.
  • Encryption – a method of protecting data by scrambling it into an unreadable form. It is a systematic encoding process which is only reversible with the right key.
  • Tokenization – a method of replacing sensitive data with non-sensitive placeholder tokens. These tokens are swapped with data stored in relational databases and files.
  • Data masking – a process that scrambles data, either an entire database or a subset. Unlike encryption, masking is not reversible; unlike tokenization, masked data is useful for limited purposes. There are several types of data masking:
    • Static data masking (SDM) masks data in advance of using it. Non production databases masked NOT in real-time.
    • Dynamic data masking (DDM) masks production data in real time
    • Data Redaction – masks unstructured content (PDF, Word, Excel)

Each of the three methods for protecting data (encryption, tokenization and data masking) have different benefits and work to solve different security issues . We’ll address them in a bit. For a visual representation of the three methods – please see the table below:

 

Original Value Encrypted Tokenized Masked
Last Name johnson 8UY%45Sj wjehneo simpson
First Name margaret 3%ERT22##$ owhksoes marge
SSN 585-88-9874 Mh9&o03ms)) 93nmvhf93na 345-79-4444

Encryption

For protecting PHI data – encryption is superior to tokenization. You encrypt different portions of personal healthcare data under different encryption keys. Only those with the requisite keys can see the data. This form of encryption requires advanced application support to manage the different data sets to be viewed or updated by different audiences. The key management service must be very scalable to handle even a modest community of users. Record management is particularly complicated. Encryption works better than tokenization for PHI – but it does not scale well.

Properly deployed, encryption is a perfectly suitable tool for protecting PII. It can be set up to protect archived data or data residing on file systems without modification to business processes.

  • To protect the data, you must install encryption and key management services to protect the data – this only protects the data from access that circumvents applications
  • You can add application layer encryption to protect data in use
    • This requires changing applications and databases to support the additional protection
    • You will pay the cost of modification and the performance of the application will be impacted

Tokenization

For tokenization of PHI – there are many pieces of data which must be bundled up in different ways for many different audiences. Using the tokenized data requires it to be de-tokenized (which usually includes a decryption process). This introduces an overhead to the process. A person’s medical history is a combination of medical attributes, doctor visits, outsourced visits. It is an entangled set of personal, financial, and medical data. Different groups need access to different subsets. Each audience needs a different slice of the data – but must not see the rest of it. You need to issue a different token for each and every audience. You will need a very sophisticated token management and tracking system to divide up the data, issuing and tracking different tokens for each audience.

Data Masking

Masking can scramble individual data columns in different ways so that the masked data looks like the original (retaining its format and data type) but it is no longer sensitive data. Masking is effective for maintaining aggregate values across an entire database, enabling preservation of sum and average values within a data set, while changing all the individual data elements. Masking plus encryption provide a powerful combination for distribution and sharing of medical information

Traditionally, data masking has been viewed as a technique for solving a test data problem. The December 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant Report on Data Masking Technology extends the scope of data masking to more broadly include data de-identification in production, non-production, and analytic use cases. The challenge is to do this while retaining business value in the information for consumption and use.

Masked data should be realistic and quasi-real. It should satisfy the same business rules as real data. It is very common to use masked data in test and development environments as the data looks like “real” data, but doesn’t contain any sensitive information.

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Posted in 5 Sales Plays, Application ILM, Data Governance, Data masking, Data Privacy, Data Security, Governance, Risk and Compliance, Healthcare | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Test Data in the World of Agile Development

I was recently talking to an executive responsible for IT infrastructure of a mid-sized bank and he mentioned that he has 17 core applications critical for business, and, over 200 ancillary applications. Each core application historically has significant changes, once a quarter and 2 small changes every week. That is about 70 big changes and 1700 small changes every year!!! Just for the core applications that are critical to business.

Breaking existing capabilities

Broken Integration Tests

How does the business ensure that these perturbations to the existing systems do not break existing capabilities within the system? Worse, how does a business ensure that changes to these systems do not break other downstream applications that rely on data that is being captured in these systems? How do testing teams pick up the right test data to test all possible permutations and combinations that that these changes introduce?

Test data management solutions solve these problems with by subsetting a small set of product data to be used for testing and masking that data so that sensitive data is not exposed to a large set of users. Test data generation allows for data to be augmented for features that are currently not in production as well as introducing bad data in the environment.

As the number of applications increase many fold and the development strategies move from waterfall model to agile and continuous integration, there is a need to not only to provision test data, but provision it in such a way that it can be automated and used repeatedly. That requires a warehouse of test data that is categorized and tagged by test cases, test areas. This test data warehouse should:

  • Allow testers to review test data in the warehouse, tag interesting data and data sets and be able to search on them
  • In case test data is missing, augment test data
  • Visualize the test data, identifying white spaces in test data and generate test data to fill the white space.

Once this warehouse of test datasets are available, testers should be able to reserve test records that are being used by them for their testing. These records can be used to restore the test environments from the test data warehouse. Testers can then run their test cases without impacting other testers who are using the same test environment.

This still leaves the question open on how do organizations test a business process that spans multiple systems. How can organizations create test data in these systems that allow a business process to be executed from one end to another? Once organizations can master this capability, they will reach their potential in automating their test processes, and reduce risk that each perturbation in the environment inevitably bring.

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A True Love Quiz: Is Your Marketing Data Right For You?

questionnaire and computer mouseValentine’s Day is such a strange holiday.  It always seems to bring up more questions than answers.  And the internet always seems to have a quiz to find out the answer!  There’s the “Does he have a crush on you too – 10 simple ways to find out” quiz.  There’s the “What special gift should I get her this Valentine’s Day?” quiz.  And the ever popular “Why am I still single on Valentine’s Day?” quiz.

Well Marketers, it’s your lucky Valentine’s Day!  We have a quiz for you too!  It’s about your relationship with data.  Where do you stand?  Are you ready to take the next step?


Question 1:  Do you connect – I mean, really connect – with your data?
Connect My Data□ (A) Not really.  We just can’t seem to get it together and really connect.
□ (B) Sometimes.  We connect on some levels, but there are big gaps.
□ (C) Most of the time.  We usually connect, but we miss out on some things.
□ (D) We are a perfect match!  We connect about everything, no matter where, no matter when.

Translation:  Data ready marketers have access to the best possible data, no matter what form it is in, no matter what system it is in.  They are able to make decisions based everything the entire organization “knows” about their customer/partner/product – with a complete 360 degree view. And they are also able to connect to and integrate with data outside the bounds of their organization to achieve the sought-after 720 degree view.  They can integrate and react to social media comments, trends, and feedback – in real time – and to match it with an existing record whenever possible. And they can quickly and easily bring together any third party data sources they may need.


Question 2:  How good looking & clean is you data?
My Data is So Good Looking□ (A) Yikes, not very. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts right?
□ (B) It’s ok.  We’ve both let ourselves go a bit.
□ (C) It’s pretty cute.  Not supermodel hot, but definitely girl or boy next door cute.
□ (D) My data is HOT!  It’s perfect in every way!

Translation: Marketers need data that is reliable and clean. According to a recent Experian study, American companies believe that 25% of their data is inaccurate, the rest of the world isn’t much more confident. 90% of respondents said they suffer from common data errors, and 78% have problems with the quality of the data they gather from disparate channels.  Making marketing decisions based upon data that is inaccurate leads to poor decisions.  And what’s worse, many marketers have no idea how good or bad their data is, so they have no idea what impact it is having on their marketing programs and analysis.  The data ready marketer understands this and has a top tier data quality solution in place to make sure their data is in the best shape possible.


Question 3:  Do you feel safe when you’re with your data?
I Heart Safe Data□ (A) No, my data is pretty scary.  911 is on speed dial.
□ (B) I’m not sure actually. I think so?
□ (C) My date is mostly safe, but it’s got a little “bad boy” or “bad girl” streak.
□ (D) I protect my data, and it protects me back.  We keep each other safe and secure.

Translation: Marketers need to be able to trust the quality of their data, but they also need to trust the security of their data.  Is it protected or is it susceptible to theft and nefarious attacks like the ones that have been all over the news lately?  Nothing keeps a CMO and their PR team up at night like worrying they are going to be the next brand on the cover of a magazine for losing millions of personal customer records. But beyond a high profile data breach, marketers need to be concerned over data privacy.  Are you treating customer data in the way that is expected and demanded?  Are you using protected data in your marketing practices that you really shouldn’t be?  Are you marketing to people on excluded lists


Question 4:  Is your data adventurous and well-traveled, or is it more of a “home-body”?
Home is where my data is□ (A) My data is all over the place and it’s impossible to find.
□ (B) My data is all in one place.  I know we’re missing out on fun and exciting options, but it’s just easier this way.
□ (C) My data is in a few places and I keep fairly good tabs on it. We can find each other when we need to, but it takes some effort.
□ (D) My data is everywhere, but I have complete faith that I can get ahold of any source I might need, when and where I need it.

Translation: Marketing data is everywhere. Your marketing data warehouse, your CRM system, your marketing automation system.  It’s throughout your organization in finance, customer support, and sale systems. It’s in third party systems like social media and data aggregators. That means it’s in the cloud, it’s on premise, and everywhere in between.  Marketers need to be able to get to and integrate data no matter where it “lives”.


Question 5:  Does your data take forever to get ready when it’s time to go do so something together?
My data is ready on time□ (A) It takes forever to prepare my data for each new outing.  It’s definitely not “ready to go”.
□ (B) My data takes it’s time to get ready, but it’s worth the wait… usually!
□ (C) My data is fairly quick to get ready, but it does take a little time and effort.
□ (D) My data is always ready to go, whenever we need to go somewhere or do something.

Translation:  One of the reasons many marketers end up in marketing is because it is fast paced and every day is different. Nothing is the same from day-to-day, so you need to be ready to act at a moment’s notice, and change course on a dime.  Data ready marketers have a foundation of great data that they can point at any given problem, at any given time, without a lot of work to prepare it.  If it is taking you weeks or even days to pull data together to analyze something new or test out a new hunch, it’s too late – your competitors have already done it!


Question 6:  Can you believe the stories your data is telling you?
My data tells the truth□ (A) My data is wrong a lot.  It stretches the truth a lot, and I cannot rely on it.
□ (B) I really don’t know.  I question these stories – dare I say excused – but haven’t been able to prove it one way or the other.
□ (C) I believe what my data says most of the time. It rarely lets me down.
□ (D) My data is very trustworthy.  I believe it implicitly because we’ve earned each other’s trust.

Translation:  If your data is dirty, inaccurate, and/or incomplete, it is essentially “lying” to you. And if you cannot get to all of the data sources you need, your data is telling you “white lies”!  All of the work you’re putting into analysis and optimization is based on questionable data, and is giving you questionable results.  Data ready marketers understand this and ensure their data is clean, safe, and connected at all times.


Question 7:  Does your data help you around the house with your daily chores?
My data helps me out□ (A) My data just sits around on the couch watching TV.
□ (B) When I nag my data will help out occasionally.
□ (C) My data is pretty good about helping out. It doesn’t take imitative, but it helps out whenever I ask.
□ (D) My data is amazing.  It helps out whenever it can, however it can, even without being asked.

Translation:  Your marketing data can do so much. It should enable you be “customer ready” – helping you to understand everything there is to know about your customers so you can design amazing personalized campaigns that speak directly to them.  It should enable you to be “decision ready” – powering your analytics capabilities with great data so you can make great decisions and optimize your processes.  But it should also enable you to be “showcase ready” – giving you the proof points to demonstrate marketing’s actual impact on the bottom line.


Now for the fun part… It’s time to rate your  data relationship status
If you answered mostly (A):  You have a rocky relationship with your data.  You may need some data counseling!

If you answered mostly (B):  It’s time to decide if you want this data relationship to work.  There’s hope, but you’ve got some work to do.

If you answered mostly (C):  You and your data are at the beginning of a beautiful love affair.  Keep working at it because you’re getting close!

If you answered mostly (D): Congratulations, you have a strong data marriage that is based on clean, safe, and connected data.  You are making great business decisions because you are a data ready marketer!


Do You Love Your Data?
Learn to love your dataNo matter what your data relationship status, we’d love to hear from you.  Please take our survey about your use of data and technology.  The results are coming out soon so don’t miss your chance to be a part.  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DataMktg

Also, follow me on twitter – The Data Ready Marketer – for some of the latest & greatest news and insights on the world of data ready marketing.  And stay tuned because we have several new Data Ready Marketing pieces coming out soon – InfoGraphics, eBooks, SlideShares, and more!

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Posted in 5 Sales Plays, Business Impact / Benefits, CMO, Customers, Data First, Data Integration, Data masking, Data Privacy, Data Quality, Data Security, Intelligent Data Platform, Master Data Management, Operational Efficiency, Total Customer Relationship | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anthem Data Breach – Who’s Next?

Peter KuI hate to break the news but data breaches have become an unfortunate fact of life. These unwanted events are happening too frequently that each time it happens, it feels like the daily weather report. The scary thing about data breaches is that these events will only continue to grow as criminals become more desperate to take advantage of the innocent and data about our personal records, financial account numbers, and identities continues to proliferate across computer systems in every industry from your local retailer, your local DMV, to one of the nation’s largest health insurance providers.

According to the 2014 Cost of Data Breach study from the Ponemon Institute, data breaches will cost companies $201 per stolen record. According to the NY Post, 80 million records were stolen from Anthem this week which will cost employees, customers, and shareholders $16,080,000,000 from this single event. The 80 million records accounted for includes the data they knew about. What about all the data that has proliferated across systems? Data about both current and past customers across decades that was copied onto personal computers, loaded into shared network folders, and sitting there while security experts pray that their network security solutions will prevent the bad guys from finding it and causing even more carnage the this ever growing era of Big Data?

Anthem Data Breach – Who’s Next?

If you are worried as much as I am about what these criminals will do with our personal information,  make it a priority to protect your data assets in your lives both personal and in business.  Learn more about Informatica’s perspectives and video on this matter:

Follow me! @DataisGR8

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How Protected is your PHI?

I live in a very small town in Maine. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my privacy. Some would say that by living in a small town, you give up your right to privacy because everyone knows what everyone else is doing. Living here is a choice – for me to improve my family’s quality of life. Sharing all of the details of my life – not so much.

When I go to my doctor (who also happens to be a parent from my daughter’s school), I fully expect that any sort of information that I share with him, or that he obtains as a result of lab tests or interviews, or care that he provides is not available for anyone to view. On the flip side, I want researchers to be able to take my lab information combined with my health history in order to do research on the effectiveness of certain medications or treatment plans.

As a result of this dichotomy, Congress (in 1996) started to address governance regarding the transmission of this type of data. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a Federal law that sets national standards for how health care plans, health care clearinghouses, and most health care providers protect the privacy of a patient’s health information. With certain exceptions, the Privacy Rule protects a subset of individually identifiable health information, known as protected health information or PHI, that is held or maintained by covered entities or their business associates acting for the covered entity. PHI is any information held by a covered entity which concerns health status, provision of health care, or payment for health care that can be linked to an individual.

Many payers have this type of data in their systems (perhaps in a Claims Administration system), and have the need to share data between organizational entities. Do you know if PHI data is being shared outside of the originating system? Do you know if PHI is available to resources that have no necessity to access this information? Do you know if PHI data is being shared outside your organization?

If you can answer yes to each of these questions – fantastic. You are well ahead of the curve. If not – you need to start considering solutions that can

I want to researchers to have access to medically relevant data so they can find the cures to some horrific diseases. I want to feel comfortable sharing health information with my doctor. I want to feel comfortable that my health insurance company is respecting my privacy. Now to get my kids to stop oversharing.

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Data Security – A Major Concern in 2015

Data Security

Data Security – A Major Concern in 2015

2014 ended with a ton of hype and expectations and some drama if you are a data security professional or business executive responsible for shareholder value.  The recent attacks on Sony Pictures by North Korea during December caught everyone’s attention, not about whether with Sony would release “The Interview” but how vulnerable we as a society are to these criminal acts.

I have to admit, I was one of those who saw the movie and found the film humorous to say the least and can see why a desperate regime like North Korea would not want their leader admitting they love margarita’s and Katy Perry. What concerned me about the whole event was whether these unwanted security breaches were now just a fact of life?  As a disclaimer, I have no affinity over the downfall of the North Korean government however what transpired was fascinating and amazing that companies like Sony continue to struggle to protect sensitive data despite being one of the largest companies in the world.

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were 761 reported data security breaches in 2014 impacting over 83 million breached records across industries and geographies with B2B and B2C retailers leading the pack with 79.2% of all breaches. Most of these breaches originated through the internet via malicious WORMS and viruses purposely designed to identify and rely back sensitive information including credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and social security information used by criminals to wreak havoc and significant financial losses to merchants and financial institutions. According to the 2014 Ponemon Institute Research study:

  • The average cost of cyber-crime per company in the US was $12.7 million this year, according to the Ponemon report, and US companies on average are hit with 122 successful attacks per year.
  • Globally, the average annualized cost for the surveyed organizations was $7.6 million per year, ranging from $0.5 million to $61 million per company. Interestingly, small organizations have a higher per-capita cost than large ones ($1,601 versus $437), the report found.
  • Some industries incur higher costs in a breach than others, too. Energy and utility organizations incur the priciest attacks ($13.18 million), followed closely by financial services ($12.97 million). Healthcare incurs the fewest expenses ($1.38 million), the report says.

Despite all the media attention around these awful events last year, 2015 does not seem like it’s going to get any better. According to CNBC just this morning, Morgan Stanley reported a data security breach where they had fired an employee who it claims stole account data for hundreds of thousands of its wealth management clients. Stolen information for approximately 900 of those clients was posted online for a brief period of time.  With so much to gain from this rich data, businesses across industries have a tough battle ahead of them as criminals are getting more creative and desperate to steal sensitive information for financial gain. According to a Forrester Research, the top 3 breach activities included:

  • Inadvertent misuse by insider (36%)
  • Loss/theft of corporate asset (32%)
  • Phishing (30%)

Given the growth in data volumes fueled by mobile, social, cloud, and electronic payments, the war against data breaches will continue to grow bigger and uglier for firms large and small.  As such, Gartner predicts investments in Information Security Solutions will grow further 8.2 percent in 2015 vs. 2014 reaching $76.9+ billion globally.  Furthermore, by 2018, more than half of organizations will use security services firms that specialize in data protection, security risk management and security infrastructure management to enhance their security postures.

Like any war, you have to know your enemy and what you are defending. In the war against data breaches, this starts with knowing where your sensitive data is before you can effectively defend against any attack. According to the Ponemon Institute, 18% of firms who were surveyed said they knew where their structured sensitive data was located where as the rest were not sure. 66% revealed that if would not be able to effectively know if they were attacked.   Even worse, 47% were NOT confident at having visibility into users accessing sensitive or confidential information and that 48% of those surveyed admitted to a data breach of some kind in the last 12 months.

In closing, the responsibilities of today’s information security professional from Chief Information Security Officers to Security Analysts are challenging and growing each day as criminals become more sophisticated and desperate at getting their hands on one of your most important assets….your data.  As your organizations look to invest in new Information Security solutions, make sure you start with solutions that allow you to identify where your sensitive data is to help plan an effective data security strategy both to defend your perimeter and sensitive data at the source.   How prepared are you?

For more information about Informatica Data Security Solutions:

  • Download the Gartner Data Masking Magic Quadrant Report
  • Click here to learn more about Informatica’s Data Masking Solutions
  • Click here to access Informatica Dynamic Data Masking: Preventing Data Breaches with Benchmark-Proven Performance whitepaper
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Posted in Application ILM, Banking & Capital Markets, Big Data, CIO, Data masking, Data Privacy, Data Security | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The CISO Challenge: Articulating Data Worth and Security Economics

A few years ago the former eBay’s CISO, Dave Cullinane, led a sobering coaching discussion on how to articulate and communicate the value of a security solution and its economics to a CISO’s CxO peers.

Why would I blog about such old news? Because it was a great and timeless idea. And in this age of the ‘Great Data Breach’, where CISOs need all the help they can get, I thought I would share it with y’all.

Dave began by describing how to communicate the impact of an attack from malware such as Aurora, spearfishing, stuxnet, hacktivision, and so on… versus the investment required to prevent the attack.  If you are an online retailer and your web server goes down because of a major denial of service attack, what does that cost the business?  How much revenue is lost every minute that site is offline? Enough to put you out of business? See the figure below that illustrates how to approach this conversation.

If the impact of a breach and the risk of losing business is high and the investment in implementing a solution is relatively low, the investment decision is an obvious one (represented by the yellow area in the upper left corner).

CISO Challenge

However, it isn’t always this easy, is it?  When determining what your company’s brand and reputation worth, how do you develop a compelling case?

Another dimension Dave described is communicating the economics of a solution that could prevent an attack based on the probability that the attack would occur (see next figure below).

CISO Challenge

For example, consider an attack that could influence stock prices?  This is a complex scenario that is probably less likely to occur on a frequent basis and would require a sophisticated multidimensional solution with an integrated security analytics solution to correlate multiple events back to a single source.  This might place the discussion in the middle blue box, or the ‘negotiation zone’. This is where the CISO needs to know what the CxO’s risk tolerances are and articulate value in terms of the ‘coin of the realm’.

Finally, stay on top of what the business is cooking up for new initiatives that could expose or introduce new risks.  For example, is marketing looking to spin up a data warehouse on Amazon Redshift? Anyone on the analytics team tinkering with Hadoop in the cloud? Is development planning to outsource application test and development activities to offshore systems integrators? If you are participating in any of these activities, make sure your CISO isn’t the last to know when a ‘Breach Happens’!

To learn more about ways you can mitigate risk and maintain data privacy compliance, check out the latest Gartner Data Masking Magic Quadrant.

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Informatica is a Leader in the Gartner 2014 Data Masking Magic Quadrant Three Years in a Row

Informatica a Leader in Data Masking

Informatica a Leader in Data Masking

Informatica announced this week its leadership position in Gartner 2014 Magic Quadrant for Data Masking Technology for the third year in a row. For the first time, Informatica was positioned the furthest to the right for Completeness of Vision.

In the report, Gartner cites. “Global-scale scandals around sensitive data losses have highlighted the need for effective data protection, especially from insider attacks. Data masking, which is focused on protecting data from insiders and outsiders, is a must-have technology in enterprises’ and governments’ security portfolios.”

Organizations realize that data protection must be hardened to protect against the inevitable breach; originating from either internal or external threats.  Data masking covers gaps in data protection in production and non-production environments that can be exploited by attackers.

Informatica customers are elevating the importance of data security initiatives in 2015 given the high exposure of recent breaches and the shift from just stealing identities and intellectual property, to politically charged platforms.  This raises the concern that existing security controls are insufficient and a more data-centric security approach is necessary.

Recent enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission in the US and emerging legislation worldwide has clearly indicated that sensitive data access and sharing should be tightly controlled; this is the strength of data masking.

Data Masking de-identifies and/or de-sensitizes private and confidential data by hiding it from those who are unauthorized to access it. Other terms for data masking include data obfuscation, sanitization, scrambling, de-identification, and anonymization.

To learn more, Download the Gartner Magic Quadrant Data Masking Report now. And visit the Informatica website for data masking product information.

About the Magic Quadrant

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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IDC Life Sciences and Ponemon Research Highlights Need for New Security Measures

The Healthcare and Life Sciences industry has demonstrated its ability to take advantage of data to fuel research, explore new ways to cure life threatening diseases, and save lives.  With the adoption of technology innovation especially in the mobile technology segment, this industry will need to find a balance between investments and risk.

ModernMedicine.com published an article in May, 2014 stating how analysts worry that a wide-scale security breach could occur in healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry this year.  The piece calls out that this industry category ranked the lowest in an S&P500 cyber health study because of its high volume of incidents and slow response rates.

In the Ponemon Institute’s research, The State of Data Centric Security, respondents from the Healthcare and Life Sciences stated the data they considered most at risk was customer, consumer and patient record data.  Intellectual Property, Business Intelligence and Classified Data responses ranked a close second.

Data security

In an Informatica webinar with Alan Louie, Research Analyst from IDC Health Insights (@IDCPharmaGuru), we discussed his research on ‘Changing Times in the Life Sciences – Enabled and Empowered by Tech Innovation’.  The megatrends of cloud, mobile, social networks and Big Data analytics are all moving in a positive direction with various phases of adoption.  Mobile technologies tops the list of IT priorities – likely because of the productivity gains that can be achieved by mobile devices and applications. Security/Risk Management technologies listed as the second-highest priority.

When we asked Security Professionals in Life Sciences in the Ponemon Survey, ‘What keeps you up at night?’, the top answer was ‘migrating to new mobile platforms’.  The reason I call this factoid out is that all other industry categories ranked ‘not knowing where sensitive data resides’ as the biggest concern. Why is Life Sciences different from other industries?

Life sciences

One reason could be the intense scrutiny over Intellectual Property protection and HIPPA compliance has already shone a light on where sensitive data reside. Mobile makes it difficult to track and contain a potential breach given that cell phones are the number 1 item left behind in taxi cabs.

With the threat of a major breach on the horizon, and the push to leverage technology such as mobile and cloud, it is evident that the investments in security and risk management need to focus on the data itself – rather than tie it to a specific technology or platform.

Enter Data-Centric Security.  The call to action is to consider applying a new approach to the information security paradigm that emphasizes the security of the data itself rather than the security of networks or applications.   Informatica recently published an eBook ‘Data-Centric Security eBook New Imperatives for a New Age of Data’.  Download it, read it. In an industry with so much at stake, we highlight the need for new security measures such as these. Do you agree?

I encourage your comments and open the dialogue!

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Just In Time For the Holidays: How The FTC Defines Reasonable Security

Reasonable Security

How The FTC Defines Reasonable Security

Recently the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP, www.privacyassociation.org ) published a white paper that analyzed the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) data security/breach enforcement. These enforcements include organizations from the finance, retail, technology and healthcare industries within the United States.

From this analysis in “What’s Reasonable Security? A Moving Target,” IAPP extrapolated the best practices from the FTC’s enforcement actions.

While the white paper and article indicate that “reasonable security” is a moving target it does provide recommendations that will help organizations access and baseline their current data security efforts.  Interesting is the focus on data centric security, from overall enterprise assessment to the careful control of access of employees and 3rd parties.  Here some of the recommendations derived from the FTC’s enforcements that call for Data Centric Security:

  • Perform assessments to identify reasonably foreseeable risks to the security, integrity, and confidentiality of personal information collected and stored on the network, online or in paper files.
  • Limited access policies curb unnecessary security risks and minimize the number and type of network access points that an information security team must monitor for potential violations.
  • Limit employee access to (and copying of) personal information, based on employee’s role.
  • Implement and monitor compliance with policies and procedures for rendering information unreadable or otherwise secure in the course of disposal. Securely disposed information must not practicably be read or reconstructed.
  • Restrict third party access to personal information based on business need, for example, by restricting access based on IP address, granting temporary access privileges, or similar procedures.

How does Data Centric Security help organizations achieve this inferred baseline? 

  1. Data Security Intelligence (Secure@Source coming Q2 2015), provides the ability to “…identify reasonably foreseeable risks.”
  2. Data Masking (Dynamic and Persistent Data Masking)  provides the controls to limit access of information to employees and 3rd parties.
  3. Data Archiving provides the means for the secure disposal of information.

Other data centric security controls would include encryption for data at rest/motion and tokenization for securing payment card data.  All of the controls help organizations secure their data, whether a threat originates internally or externally.   And based on the never ending news of data breaches and attacks this year, it is a matter of when, not if your organization will be significantly breached.

For 2015, “Reasonable Security” will require ongoing analysis of sensitive data and the deployment of reciprocal data centric security controls to ensure that the organizations keep pace with this “Moving Target.”

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