The importance of anonymity​ % | More4apps

The Importance of Data Anonymity

"Before More4apps, we were using real customers to test during our IT projects..... now security is becoming a more pre-eminent topic in our company and I think in all businesses these days. We came to the point where we wanted to use more securitized data.”

The problem 

Recognizing the importance of protecting data privacy of the client data one American industrial distributor needed to find a way to stop using production and personal information in a non-production environment. They wanted a simple user friendly tool that could meet this need with minimal implementation time and user training.

The solution

By using More4Apps Customer Wizard, they can now download their clients from the Oracle production instance, anonymize the data and upload it to their test environments. They maintain data privacy as business users, IT users are not able to relate the customer data to real people when developing or testing.

The story

GDPR, data privacy, data protection regulations have raised more questions around the handling of data than ever before.

Personally Identifiable information (PII) is any information about a client that could be used for identification. It includes names, family names, addresses, national identification numbers, bank account numbers, phone numbers, email address and more.

During IT projects, production data is copied into test, QA or pre-production environments, and exposed to the eyes of testers, receivers or unauthorized developers on machines much less protected than production environments.

Many files are also shared with external partners, who often only require a small part of the data actually sent.

However, the data must remain usable. A test user must still see on the screen, in the last name field, a modified last name that “looks like” a last name.

Using More4apps you can anonymize Master Data for test purposes quickly and with no effort.

More4apps Wizards also enables creating smaller databases by extracting subsets of data from production, masking the data, and keeping the database and application level referential integrity intact on the way.

This case study explains how an industrial distributor in North America has started using More4apps to get more securitized data during their projects.

The company provides a broad range of products and value-added services to approximately 500,000 professional customers in maintenance, repair and operations, infrastructure and power and specialty construction sectors. 

Challenges

The challenge of this company was the data privacy of their clients, when client information was needed during IT projects testing phase.

“In our Oracle production instance, all our customers have a name, address, phone number, email address. This type of data is confidential information.” Explains one of the IT business analysts.

“Before More4apps, we were using real customers to test during our IT projects.”

“Now security is becoming a more preeminent topic in our company and I think in all businesses these days. We came to the point where we wanted to use more securitized data.” 

Solution Options:

The company needed to load a few thousands fake customers on a test instance for every IT project needing customer data.

It was not an option to do that manually. 

They were thinking that using Data loader would have taken too long, would tie up their computer. Also, they had never used this tool on HTML form and didn’t know if it was do-able, so they preferred not to even consider this tool.

They decided that More4apps Customer Wizard was the best option.

Just how do they achieve this?

  • They download customers from their Oracle production instance using More4apps Customer Wizard.
  • Then they anonymize the data using formulas eg: Customer_1, Adress_line1, email1@gmail.com

More4apps Wizards, are based in Excel so they were able to use all the standard functionality on top of More4apps functionality.

  • Finally, they use the Wizard upload functionality, to create these fake customers in their test instance.

So now with More4apps, when this fake customer is used for test purpose, nobody can find who is the real customer, because it has been anonymized.

“We are implementing this now for all IT projects going forward, company wise.”

Implementation:

“Anyone knows Excel, so an Excel add-on is very easy and user friendly.”

“It’s a pretty easy tool to learn…A tool that you don’t have to go to class to learn, is much cheaper to implement.”

Benefits/ROI:

Now it takes around 2 hours to load a few thousand customers into a test environment.

“More4apps support is great. I created a few service requests on your website, the way it was handled… it was super-fast and everybody was super nice. It was by far the best support I have got anywhere I have had to book item support for, even Oracle.

One guy followed my ticket all the way through the conclusion even though he had some developers working on it, and he was very nice, very informative and he kept me up to date to what was going on.”

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