What's the Difference Between Oracle Transparent Data Encryption, Data Masking and Data Redaction?

Oracle database security solutions provide three means of making data at rest unreadable. We sometimes get questions about their differences.

Oracle Advanced Security 

Transparent Data Encryption (TDE), a capability of Oracle Advanced Security, is transparent to applications and users by encrypting data within the Oracle Database on disk, without any changes to existing applications. TDE is available as a part of the Oracle Database, so if you have Oracle, you have Oracle Advanced Security and would simply require a license to activate.

When would you use TDE? 

TDE stops would-be attackers from bypassing the database and reading sensitive information from storage by enforcing data-at-rest encryption in the database layer. Applications and users authenticated to the database continue to have access to application data transparently (no application code or configuration changes are required), while attacks from OS users attempting to read sensitive data from tablespace files and attacks from thieves attempting to read information from acquired disks or backups are denied access to the clear text data.

Data Redaction, also a capability of Oracle Advanced Security, provides selective, on-the-fly redaction of sensitive data in SQL query results prior to display by applications so that unauthorized users cannot view the sensitive data. It enables consistent redaction of database columns across application modules accessing the same database information. Data Redaction minimizes changes to applications because it does not alter actual data in internal database buffers, caches, or storage, and it preserves the original data type and formatting when transformed data is returned to the application. 

When would you use data redaction? 

Existing applications often return sensitive data to call center and support staff employees, or even customers that include date of birth, social security numbers, and more.  Traditionally, organizations would have to access and change application source code in order to redact sensitive data. This can be error-prone, laborious, and performance-heavy. Data redaction mitigates this risk and helps organizations comply with compliance requirements, such as PCI DSS, by masking displayed data within applications.

Learn more about transparent data encryption and data redaction. 

Oracle Data Masking and Subsetting

Data Masking enables sensitive information such as credit card or social security numbers to be replaced with realistic values, allowing production data to be safely used for development, testing, or sharing with out-sourcing partners or off-shore teams for other nonproduction purposes..  

When would you use data masking?  

Data masking is used for nonproduction environments for quality assurance, testing, and development purposes. Many organizations inadvertently breach information when they routinely copy sensitive and regulated production data into nonproduction environments. Data in nonproduction environments, which can be lost or stolen, has increasingly become the target of cyber criminals. Data masking helps organizations reduce this risk and comply with compliance requirements.

Learn more about data masking. 

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