Global Networking Giant Secures Sensitive Data with Estuate

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Industry       :  Hi-Tech

Practice Area  :  Information Lifecycle Governance & Security

About the Client:

The client is the global leader in networking and IT products - both hardware and software.  With annual revenues close to $50 billion, the company has over 70,000 employees based out of 380 offices, a channel partner network of 70,000, and a presence in over 165 countries.  It is the #1 or #2 in most markets that it serves and is one of the most innovative companies in the world.  It sells industry-leading products in the core areas of routing and switching, as well as advanced technologies in areas such as Unified Communications, Network Security, Video, and Virtualization and Cloud Computing.

Business Challenge:

The client launched a proactive approach to masking personally-identifiable information in test data systems to protect itself from the consequences of major data breaches. Complex dependencies among the company’s testing applications threatened to make the data masking process a challenge.

The client collected sensitive customer data, including customer network information across 26 applications. These applications belong to Engineering, Customer Support,  internal and external analytics applications and platforms. Major applications involve processing device statistics and configuration data files using a central collector. Such raw data contains sensitive information, including IP addresses, Host Names, device passwords. This information was trapped in log files, device data files and configuration files. Collector systems collect device data using various application methods, which then flow into internal production and nonproduction systems.  The client's data protection policies restrict sensitive data to production systems only; hence all non-production systems require masking for sensitive information.

Anonymizing sensitive information in such unstructured files was the primary challenge. For example, a device collector file could contain more than 25,000+ semi-structured and unstructured files, many with sensitive information. Scanning and anonymizing such information was a challenge in itself.

The second challenge was to anonymize and subset data in non-production database applications, for development, test, QA and training purposes. These applications include customer data, as well as sensitive device and network information. 

In addition to the above, the client was also looking to:

  • Reduce the time required to set up test data.
  • Improve test validation tasks, mitigating risk exposure and cost-effectively manage audit compliance needs.

The Estuate Solution:

Estuate provided a comprehensive data masking solution to ensure data privacy across 26 applications.The majority of these applications involved processing device data collector files  which contained sensitive information including IP Addresses, Host Names and passwords to name a few most challenging cases.

The sensitive information was trapped in log files, device data files and configuration files. Collector systems collected device data using various application methods. Estuate delivered a solution to scan such large unstructured files, create meaningful subsets and anonymize the data.  A web component was also developed to upload files to the  server to process semi-structured and unstructured data and replace within the file. The solution:

  • Produced referentially-intact, right-sized data subsets for test scenarios.
  • Protected privacy by de-identifying confidential data across nonproduction environments.
  • Provided a centralized, scalable enterprise data masking solution to mask data across databases, applications, and operating systems.
  • Allowed data edits before test execution to meet certain conditional checks in the test scenarios.
  • Automated test result comparisons with a web-based program that has multiuser and multi-process capabilities.
  • Supported compliance audits as per the privacy regulations and corporate governance standards.

Business Impact:

Estuate’s solution helps the client enhance and automate test data management to reduce cost, accelerate application delivery and lower risk. The solution:

  • Reduces compliance risk by masking sensitive data before it left the production environment.
  • Improves efficiency by creating an automated self-service test data management process.
  • Improves quality by automating data comparison, ensuring differences in data sets can be quickly identified and properly analyzed.
  • Reduces storage costs by applying data subsetting techniques.
  • Resolves critical regulatory requirements by anonymizing sensitive data as per the data privacy protection laws.

        Estuate proved that sensitive business data distributed across multiple custom applications could be secured, enabling us to meet our compliance initiatives. Their knowledge of the domain and professionalism made it very easy to work with them and gave us a high degree of confidence that the project would be a success.

Technical Lead, Engineering.