4 July 2019
4 July 2019

What’s new in v6.3 of Data Masker for SQL Server

The first time you approach the task of data masking, it can seem daunting. You've identified your sensitive columns, but how do you decide on the best data masking strategy? Which rules do you need in your data masking set? Data Masker for SQL Server makes it easy to decide.

If you want to use a copy of the production data for development and test work, then you’ll need both a plan and a strategy for protecting data that is classified as personal identifiable data, personal sensitive data or commercially sensitive data. First, you’ll need to find out in which tables and columns this personal or sensitive data resides, and document this, and then you’ll need to devise and implement a way to sanitize this data.

It’s relatively easy to anonymize data entirely; simply replace all the data with fake values. However, this is not so useful for development or test work, where we’d like the data, although sanitized, to have the same distribution and characteristics as the original data.

This is where Data Masker helps. It provides an array of data masking rules, tools and methods so that regardless of your database design, or what type of data to you to mask, you can do so in a way that the sanitized data still looks and behave like the real thing.

Helping you choose the right rules

Data Masker is a versatile tool, but that means it offers a lot of different rule types, including Command rules to allow us to execute SQL statements in the target schema, Substitution and Shuffle rules to replace and scramble data values, while retaining a certain data distribution, and many more.

Figure 1

In v.6.3 of Data Masker for SQL Server our goal was to make it much easier to define the correct rule set, by making it much easier to identify the type of rule that best fits your needs. The most important change we’ve made is to overhaul the “Add a rule” window so that it offers a lot more guidance on which type of rule might best suite your requirement:

Figure 2

As well as a cleaner look and feel, each rule includes in-product guidance about when to use the technique. You can also find links to specific online tutorials at Redgate University.

We’ve also sorted the rules into new categories based on the type of problem they solve.

Figure 3

To give it a go, all you need do is hit the ‘Try it now’ button at the top of the old “Add a rule” window. You can switch back anytime.

Quick access to frequently used rules

We’ve also made it a lot easier to get to the rules you use most commonly without opening the rules window. Just click on the New Rule dropdown at the bottom of Figure 1:

Figure 4

You’ll also notice in Figure 1 the new menu bar and tool bars. Removing the sidebar gives more space to focus on the task at hand and turning the tools tab into a menu makes possible to grab a tool without shifting context. The standard Windows menu bars should feel very familiar.

What do you think?

If you already have Data Masker for SQL Server, you can try this out today by upgrading to the latest version. Alternatively you can download a trial.

We’d love to hear how this works for you, drop us an email at datamaskereap@red-gate.com

 

You may also like

  • Article

    Building Better Test Data with SQL Provision

    Steve Jones show how a team might use SQL Provision to build consistent, compliant, useful databases, on demand, for development and test environments.

  • Article

    Creating Multiple Masked Databases with SQL Provision

    Chris Unwin explains how SQL Provision can create copies of multiple databases, each masked consistently, and deliver them as a group. This is useful when, for example, you are working with a Data Warehouse that contains several cross-database relationships.

  • Article

    SQL Clone for Unit Testing Databases

    Phil Factor demonstrates how to use SQL Clone to create 'disposable' SQL Server databases, for development and testing work. You can spin up a clone, use it to unit test your code, messing up the clone in the process, then reset the clone in seconds, ready for the next test.

  • Article

    Dealing with Server Objects, Settings and Features when Provisioning Databases

    If we want the behavior and performance of our test databases to mimic that observed in production, then we must consider not only the database but also the server. Grant Frtichey reviews the server-level objects, settings and features that we may need to consider, and then shows how to 'synchronize' the linked servers, user logins and SQL Agent jobs, as part of an automated provisioning process, using SQL Provision.

  • Forums

    Data Masker Forum

    Mask sensitive information in your SQL Server databases