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Why Tokenization Matters for Business By @Vormetric | @BigDataExpo [#BigData]

These new defense mechanisms work simply: tokenization replaces sensitive information in databases with a token

Tokenization: Why It Matters for Your Business
By Ashvin Kamaraju

Growing threats from both malicious and non-malicious insiders means data security should be an incredibly high priority for enterprises. As Vormetric’s 2015 Insider Threat Report noted, 44% of US organizations experienced a data breach or failed compliance audit in the last year. This is an alarming number, especially when one considers the amount of valuable data many companies store.


With malicious actors becoming increasingly sophisticated, the answer is not to layer on additional endpoint and network security, or even put all of one’s stock in traditional encryption. Rather, it’s to focus on the best solutions available for protecting specific sets of particularly vulnerable data, two of which include tokenization and data masking.

Vulnerable Sectors
The target markets for tokenization and data masking are generally those that must follow strict compliance regulations. Examples include retail, which must abide by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and healthcare, which is beholden to HIPAA. Using tokenization and data masking, enterprises can save money and time by reducing sensitive information sprawl. For example, if credit card numbers are stored in a database, they are governed by PCI DSS regulations. Tokenizing credit card numbers – thus making them not valuable to hackers – removes this information from the PCI DSS scope for audits.

By tokenizing or masking the sensitive information that needs to be protected, the PCI DSS audit automatically becomes smaller in scope and consequently less expensive to the enterprise. For healthcare, tokenization and data masking help insure that critical healthcare information is viewed only by those who need to see it. This helps the company in question meet ePHI disclosure.

Big Data, Big Risks
Although the retail and healthcare markets are more often inclined to deploy solutions like tokenization, enterprises leveraging big data environments are also at risk.

Given the myriad platforms used to support big data frameworks, it is important that enterprises have a number of data security options at their disposal. Most immediately, sensitive consumer data must be protected, and at the enterprise level, the analytics applications that help businesses optimize their operations by examining all this data must also protect sensitive data from competitive or malicious threats. If sensitive data is exposed and falls into the wrong hands, the risks of competitive exposure and loss of customer privacy are paramount.

Understanding Tokenization
These new defense mechanisms work simply: tokenization replaces sensitive information in databases with a token, which is a meaningless placeholder that even if cracked, can’t reveal the data it’s protecting because the actual data has been replaced. By using tokens, threats are mitigated from both inside your organization and from outside attackers because the object of their hacking doesn’t contain the information they desire. Only a select group of designated security administrators hold the key to the token vault, thereby drastically cutting down the amount of people with access to the sensitive information.

To give you an idea of the technology behind tokenization, we’ve outlined the process of tokenizing a credit card number with Vormetric’s tokenization platform:

tokenization explanation

  1. The customer submits a credit card number into an application.
  2. The application submits the credit card number to the Vormetric Token Server via the REST API.
  3. The Vormetric Token Server creates a token. The key associated with the token is then sent to the Vormetric Data Security Manager appliance to be securely stored.
  4. The Vormetric Token Server securely enters the credit card number information and tokens in the token vault.
  5. Through the REST API, the Vormetric Token Server returns the token to the application.
  6. The application server then submits the tokenized value into the database.

As the information universe continues to swell, so do the threats from disgruntled employees, domestic and international hackers, competitors and other malicious forces. To keep up with expanding dangers, it is imperative enterprise bolster existing encryption platforms with comprehensive services that can solidify barriers and ensure protected information stays protected.

The post Tokenization: Why It Matters For Your Business appeared first on Data Security Blog | Vormetric.

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Vormetric (@Vormetric) is the industry leader in data security solutions that span physical, big data and cloud environments. Data is the new currency and Vormetric helps over 1400 customers, including 17 of the Fortune 30 and many of the world’s most security conscious government organizations, to meet compliance requirements and protect what matters — their sensitive data — from both internal and external threats. The company’s scalable Vormetric Data Security Platform protects any file, any database and any application’s data —anywhere it resides — with a high performance, market-leading data security platform that incorporates application transparent encryption, privileged user access controls, automation and security intelligence.