With the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) increasing the awareness of the need to safeguard the privacy of data, more and more companies and organizations are looking into data masking. To make their journey easier, Redgate Software has added a new feature to its database provisioning tool, SQL Clone, which makes masking data with T-SQL scripts a part of the provisioning process, rather than an impediment to it.
SQL Clone was created to provision copies of databases or backups for use in development, testing and diagnostics. With an up-to-date, isolated clone of a database, developers can speed up development, accurately test code, and fix issues faster, while Database Administrators (DBAs) spend much less time fulfilling provisioning requests.
This, however, is also where questions about data privacy arise because sensitive data like credit card numbers needs to be removed or obfuscated, and personal data has to be modified so that it can no longer be attributed to specific individuals.
This easiest way to achieve this is to run a script, or sequence of scripts, against the database to mask and/or modify data. Research by Redgate has shown that around 30% of companies already use scripts to scrub sensitive data as part of their database provisioning process, and many more want to do so.
To help them, a script runner has now been added to SQL Clone. This allows users to run a script as part of the standard process for creating clones, to mask data, change permissions, and modify any other necessary configuration settings.
As Richard Macaskill, Redgate Product Manager, comments: “Data masking is rising to the top of the to do list for a lot of DBAs, particularly in the financial and healthcare sectors. GDPR will also move it onto the agenda of IT Directors and CIOs. For those who use scripts, making it a normal part of the database provisioning workflow resolves the issue and also – crucially – introduces compliance into the picture.”
SQL Clone was originally developed to enable users to create full copies of SQL Server databases and backups in seconds, using only around 40 MB of disk space per clone. It does this by creating a single image of a SQL Server database or backup, which is then used as the source for multiple clones which work just like normal databases, but take only a few seconds to create and require minimal disk space.
The new script runner feature gives users the opportunity to introduce data masking into the provisioning process using scripts, well before GDPR comes into effect, freeing them to concentrate on other areas where they will need to be compliant with the regulation.
The development team is now seeking feedback from users to discover how the feature could be developed further to help data privacy and protection concerns.