When you search for data security, you probably come across terms like “data masking” and “data encryption.” Lots of times, these words can sound like nothing more than synonyms. In this case, these terms refer to different processes, each with its own merits. Read on to learn more about the differences between data masking and data encryption.

Data Masking

People sometimes refer to data masking as “data de-identification,” and that term describes the protection process well. Instead of keeping sensitive parts of data on display, data masking replaces these chunks of data with random values. Therefore, masking hides identifiers and makes data useless to bad actors.

The three main types of data masking are static data masking, dynamic data masking, and on-the-fly data masking.

Static masking saves the masked version in your original database and sends a backup to a new location. Dynamic masking keeps all your data inside other systems of your development environment, giving you on-demand access. Finally, on-the-fly masking uses a process called extract, transform, load (ETL) to store masked data in the development environment.

Data Encryption

Like data masking, encryption also turns data unreadable with algorithms. However, you can think of encryption as a code. If you have the key to the code, then you can read the data it hides. If bad actors figure out the key with enough force, they can also read the code. Decrypting data makes it vulnerable, so the best use for encryption is for data that doesn’t need to be functional, such as data in storage.

How They Differ

Should you choose encryption or masking when you’re looking for processes to help with data breach prevention? The best data security strategies employ both processes for different reasons. You should secure data that you and your team are actively using with masking, while it’s best to protect data in storage with encryption.

Now that you know the differences between data masking and data encryption, you should contact ChainSys for more information on data security.

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