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Secure applications are at the core of a good data protection strategy. Businesses run rigorous web application security assessments to prevent even the smallest of data leaks. Today, data is the most precious resource needed to garner a sustainable ROI. Naturally, software security testing is integral to modern data protection and risk management.

Why do you need a data protection strategy?

The benefits of having a data protection strategy are manifold.

  1.  Protects the holistic integrity of enterprise data
  2.  Saves against financial loss and public relations hassles
  3.  Safeguards customer privacy; strengthens trust
  4.  Helps to maintain compliance with third-party regulations
  5.  Facilitates easier management of data and information

Data privacy has been one of the most pressing concerns since the last few decades. And, given the rapid growth of data, some of the breaches are proving to be devastatingly massive. For example, back in September 2018, Hotel Marriott International (Starwood) reported a sensitive data breach for half a million of its customer base. The ensuing investigation exposed unauthorized hotel network access for four-long years preceding the attack. It goes without saying that the PR aftershocks were massive. On top of this, the company was fined £18.4 million by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office in 2020 for failing to keep customers’ personal data safe.

Why do you need to adopt a ‘Data Protection Strategy’?
The benefits of having a data protection strategy in place

Should you include application testing in your data risk management plan?

Absolutely yes! A low-hanging fruit is to focus on the treatment of production database(s) while testing software applications. It’s not uncommon for large companies to maintain ten copies of production – full clones used for testing, training, and development purposes.

To make matters worse, the people who have access to these copies of production are often “outsiders” – third-party consultants who you may not have vetted as carefully as your actual employees. Giving them full access to sensitive corporate data creates a significant privacy risk.

Where to begin privatizing data? Many organizations struggle just to figure out where all their at-risk data lives in the corporate environment. The next step is to put in place a simple yet reliable mechanism for masking, or scrambling, that data so that it will still be useful for testing but won’t endanger the privacy of your customers and employees. In the face of a colossal threat to user data privacy, software testing security is a must-have function.

IBM InfoSphere Optim hosts excellent data privacy solutions

IBM InfoSphere Optim Data Privacy is a solution that minimizes risk without slowing down your testing. By masking personal information, IBM Optim protects confidential customer and employee data and ensures compliance with all levels of privacy regulations.

Of course, masking your data is only part of the game. It’s also a best practice to subset your production database, rather than use full copies of production, for testing and other non-production activities. IBM Optim Test Data Management facilitates that process. And when you use Optim Data Privacy and Optim Test Data Management in tandem, you can actually apply data privacy rules to production data while you’re subsetting it.