What is the Best way to Anonymize Data?

Data anonymization has become one of the crucial tasks of any company storing the personal identifiable information (PII) of its clients. Companies willing to maintain the highest levels of data protection not only have to comply with the ever-evolving regulations around the globe but also secure their business reputations.

Learn more about the criteria for the choice of the most effective anonymization methods and the way the XPLUS data anonymization tool takes care of the data used by Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Data Anonymization Approaches

Data anonymization is a common term associated with data protection, however, in many cases, what is called data anonymization is essentially pseudonymization. These security methods have an essential difference.

Data anonymization is the same as irreversible de-identification. It removes any PII from the datasets making the individuals unidentifiable with existing information, whether directly or by linking other pieces of information. Furthermore, it is impossible to retrieve anonymized information. As a result, any anonymized data is no longer considered personal and therefore, does not meet the criteria of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Although data protected with pseudonymization is frequently called anonymized too, it is not correct. Pseudonymization utilizes various techniques to hide PII, albeit this data can be restored with the use of additional information. The more complex the way of data retrieval is, the higher its protection is. Some of the popular methods used for pseudonymization are random number generator (RNG), message authentication code (MAC), cryptographic hash function and encryption.

Pseudonymization or Irreversible De-Identification?

Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. While anonymization will give your data unbreakable protection and save you from the burden of GDPR regulations, it will significantly reduce data value for your company. At the same time, pseudonymization will still allow you to get valuable insights from data, but you will have to comply with data protection regulations. Furthermore, it allows legal authorities to decrypt the personal information you store if needed.

The best approach for the users of Microsoft Dynamics 365 is to choose a solution combining both methods like the XPLUS data anonymization tool. It will give you more control over your data and allow you to safely remove any irrelevant information and use valuable data for your business purposes.

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Manual vs Automated Anonymization

Manual pseudonymization and anonymization are rather challenging to perform in companies storing large amounts of data. While they are highly time-consuming, they also makes the work prone to human error. Yet, ineffective automated data anonymization tools have one common feature that reduces their practical value. It is a high probability of omitting certain PII records and leaving them exposed. At the same time, uncontrollable automated data anonymization can lead to the loss of crucial information.

To avoid such situations and still benefit from automation, it is recommended to use software with advanced data detection. For example, the XPLUS data anonymization tool is equipped with a powerful scanner for personal data which supports individual masking methods for different fields. Furthermore, it offers high customization for sensitive data types and also allows companies to utilize predefined system tables of confidential data. On top of that, this solution will still allow you to make configurations for manual checkups and approvals.

XPLUS Data Anonymization Tool for Microsoft Dynamics 365

There is a wide assortment of software for anonymization to choose from. Some of the applications are of general use and can be applied to different systems working with data. Others are more specific and dedicated to particular software.

The first ones can be useful if your company utilizes multiple separate programs that do not share data. However, for large and complex platforms like enterprise resource planning systems, a dedicated solution is the best choice.

For instance, adjusting your universal tool to the state-of-the-art Microsoft Dynamics 365 system with its multiple integrations and countless workflows supplied with different data types can be an extremely challenging task. With the XPLUS data anonymization tool, you will easily provide the highest protection across modules and integrations.

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