Service Virtualisation - Data Masking VS Synthetic Data in Testing

How Testing can be…quite Testing

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Testing, and test data availability, is becoming ever more challenging. We have burgeoning and progressively more stringent data governance regulation from both the EU and US. Allied to this, organisations are increasingly turning to outsourcing and offshoring to reduce their development and testing costs. As the mobile revolution drives the demand for new apps and high rate of change, how do organisations produce effective and compliant test data?

The Risks with Data Masking in Testing

There is a view that masking of production data is the answer to this dilemma. This involves taking specific data from production systems and applying ‘masks’ to obscure the data in specific fields within a data set such as first name, second name, address, credit card number and perhaps a social security number. However, what is clear is that even with complex and comprehensive data masking, it is possible to identify individual people based on trends in the masked data. Therefore there is a risk that individuals, families or organisations could be identified in even heavily masked data. So even with data masking, there are significant risks to releasing such data outside of an organisation.

Using Synthetic Data in Testing Removes Risk

In comparison, using synthetic data eliminates any risk of releasing any real details. Synthetic data is generated based on the data model or message models that an organisation uses for its production systems. This means that the format of the fields/columns that are used and the relationship between data fields can be understood. Once understood, synthetic data can be generated. In other words, valid data for testing can be generated which is completely disconnected from the real data. In addition, with advanced techniques this can be extended to ensure total test coverage for the data behind virtual services.

The Perfect Initial Use Case for the Cloud

Further to this, it presents an ideal use case for an initial usage of Cloud by organisations who are not born in the Cloud, but keen to get experience of the Cloud. Virtual Services, Virtual Data and services with Synthetic Data can be deployed into the Cloud, without concern for data governance and security. Testing can then take place without connectivity to the on premise systems. This ensures that the only connection the data behind these services has to the on premise data, is the data model.

Ostia Can Help

Portus Test offers the capability to quickly and easily set up Virtual Services backed up by Virtual Data.


Learn how Portus Test can make System Testing less…Testing

For a deeper dive into the detail of Portus Test click here


Author - John Power - CEO Ostia Solutionslinkedin-badge-for-email



Written by : Ostia Solutions