What Is The Difference Between Data Masking And Encryption

Difference Between Data Masking And Encryption

Data masking:

Data masking which merely means hiding the data. The original data is masked with some random data or replaced with some special characters.?

Data masking required to protect sensitive data from hackers and intruders. For every organisation, they have some sort of sensitive information, which is very confidential. During certain stages of development, lifecycle data flows from one environment to another environment.?

Meanwhile, when the data exchange happens in between the departments, data may get exposed to the people who are unauthorized persons, which leads to data breaching, which creates severe damage like data loss, financial loss to an organization.?

So to avoid data breaching data masking is necessary. When data is hidden with masking techniques, unauthorised persons like hackers cannot view or access data.?


Encrypting the data also hides the data, but it is different from data masking. Encryption, which means changing the original data with encrypted data during transmission and at the destination, encrypted data is replaced with initial data.

Encrypting the data which is a very effective path to achieve data security.

Example of encryption: ?abc? is the text which should be sent from source to destination. +1 is the key; it means every letter in the word is replaced with the next immediate letter like, i.e., a with b, b with c, and c with d.?

Now the encrypted data will be ?bcd? during the transmission, and at destination end data gets decrypted, and it will be similar, but here the words are replaced with before immediate letter, i.e., original text ? abc”.??

Data before encryption is called plain text, and the data after encryption is called ciphertext.

Ex: abc– encryption–>bcd–decryption–>abc

In encryption mainly there are two types, and they are?

  1. Symmetric encryption
  2. Asymmetric encryption

1.Symmetric encryption: Single key is utilized in For both Encrypting and Decrypting the information. This key is shared with all people who are authorised persons only.?

2.Asymmetric encryption: In Asymmetric encryption, two individual keys are used one is public, and the other is the private key. The public key is shared with everyone, and the private key is shared with authorised persons only, most people who are key generators. For encryption, public keys are used, and for decryption, the private key is used.

What is the differences between Data Masking vs Data Encryption

Data masking means masking some parts of data is replaced with other data and, in some cases, a specific section of data replaced with special characters. Once the information is masked, data cannot be seen.

Data masking used mostly in banking and related financial transactions. Unauthorised people may read some parts of the information, but they neither can read the full information, nor they cannot unmask the data which is obfuscated.?

While performing transactions, the middle part of the credit card number and bank account number details are masked, and other people cannot see them, this is because of data masking.

Ex: 5152-XXXX-XXXX-2365. 002-XXX-XXX-XXX-856

In encryption, the data is scrambled and cannot be seen by anyone other than authorised persons. an only authorised person can see the data by decrypting the data

Ex: abc(plain text)—-BCD(ciphertext), ?abc? is the original data which can be seen by authorised persons, and ?bcd? is encrypted data which is open to unauthorised persons.?

Why encryption type matters?

Choosing the encryption procedure depends on the data you have and standards, and the keys that you use for decrypting the data. There are some encryption procedures that can be hacked easily. So it’s essential that make sure of using the best standard encryption procedures.

In some cases, Encryption techniques depend on the organisation or individuals, that they choose the encryption technique, and types to meet standards set by industrial regulations. In contrast, some others prefer the encryption type on their personal interests.?

Selecting the encryption techniques is your personal choice because data is yours, and it should be protected from hackers.choose the best encryption technique for storing the data and also as well as for transmission.

Various types of encryption. What are they??

There are various types of encryption techniques, and they are:

1) Advanced Encryption Standard. (AES).

2) Rivest- Shamir- Adleman (RSA).

3) Triple Data Encryption Standard (TripleDES).

4) Twofish.

1. Advanced Encryption Standard:?

Advanced Encryption Standard is symmetric encryption, and this encryption algorithm can encrypt the fixed block of data (which is of 128 bits) at a time. There are different bits of keys that can encrypt the data, which are of 128, 192, and even 256 bit also.

The 256-bit key encrypts the data in 14 rounds, 192-bit key in 12 rounds, and 128-bit key encrypts the data in 10 rounds. Every round undergoes various steps of substitution, transposition, mixing of plaintext, and many other rounds. This is the most common encryption technique used for data rest and data in transit.

2. Rivest- Shamir- Adleman (RSA):

This Rivest-Shamir-Adleman falls under the asymmetric encryption algorithm. People who have knowledge over prime numbers can only encrypt the data successfully. This data encryption is done based on factorizing the multiple of two large prime numbers. This encryption is often used in digital signatures. When you work on large amounts of data for encryption, this encryption algorithm works very slow.

3. Triple Data Encryption Standard (TripleDES):

This Triple Data Encryption Standard is also a symmetric encryption technique. This is the advanced form of the Data Encryption Standard technique that uses a 56-bit key for encrypting blocks of data. This TripleDES applies the DES encryption algorithm thrice to every data block. This TripleDES encryption method is used mostly for encrypting the ATM PINs and UNIX passwords.

4. Twofish:

This is a license-free encryption technique. Twofish can encrypt the data blocks of 128 bits. This Twofish encryption technique encrypts the data in 16 rounds regardless of key size. This Twofish encryption method is used mostly in folder and file encryption software solutions. Twofish encryption technique is a successor of the blowfish encryption technique that encrypts the data blocks of 64bits.

The other types of data masking

  1. Static Masking
  2. Dynamic Masking
  3. On-the-fly

1. Static Data Masking: Static data masking the main aim of protecting the data, which contains data values within certain data fields. Static data masking is the method of masking the data for particular elements. In the original database itself, data is masked. After masking the data, a copy of the data is kept in the test environment. The data is mostly field values of columns

Data values in the fields which contain information like?

  • Primary Account Numbers.?
  • Guarded Health Information.?
  • Personally Identifiable Information.
  • Trade Secrets.

2. Dynamic Data Masking: To hide the data temporarily, Dynamic Data Masking is used. Automation provides a feature that the data is protected in real-time also. Data sticks to the production database and cannot be modified or cannot be stolen when the data is masked with dynamic data masking.?

3. On-the-fly: Because data is secured in real-time, On-the-fly uses a process that is known as ETL, which means Extract Transform Load, and data is masked in the memory location of the database application. The On-the-fly technique is used by reputed organisations, which mainly focus on targeting continuous delivery.?

Benefits of data masking:

  • Data masking helps in safeguarding personal information and also as well as Intellectual information from hackers.
  • When data is masked, then original data cannot be accessed by the unauthorised persons except the authorised persons like testers and developers.
  • Data masking is simple and not complicated, like encryption.
  • Data masking is cost-effective?
  • Data masking prevents inside threats
  • Data masking helps in reducing the data threats which are related to the booming of cloud adoption
  • Data masking helps in providing many solutions for such as data loss, data breaching, accounts hijacking, and using of data by insiders maliciously.

Benefits of Data encryption:

Final thoughts: Both the data masking and data encryption are used when you need to protect the data and to safeguard the sensitive information from hackers of being stolen. Based on the protection you need and the amount of information that you have, choose the best techniques from data masking and data encryption.?

There are specific standards in both the data masking and data encryption provides a high level of security to the data.