What’s next in ApexSQL Developer: ApexSQL Mask – SQL Server data masking

In this reveal of the upcoming release of ApexSQL Mask, a SQL developer tool which can overwrite data in a database or copy while anonymizing personal data.

ApexSQL Mask has the ability to:

  • Mask data using 150+ generators
  • Enable/disable constraints and triggers
  • Do redaction and partial masking of databases
  • Overwrite existing database with option to backup original one or create new database without overwrite
  • Use 12 default filters to scan for sensitive data or use custom data sensitive filters. All of them can be saved, edited or removed and more than one filter can be applied.
  • Shuffle masked data in each column separately
  • Choose for each column whether to use random, predefined or other generator for that column’s data type to mask data
  • For all XML data type columns, a user has the option to generate every character of the original data, or either content (“visible” part xml) or xml elements (xml tags)
  • Use the Where clause to use multiple generators on a specific column and mask just specific rows

Once started, the main application window is shown and to create a new project, click the New button from the Home tab:

This starts the Mask wizard and the first step is setting up the desired Server and Database from which the data will be masked from:

Once the server and database are selected, by clicking on the Next button, ApexSQL Mask shows the database that was selected along with all of the tables and columns. Additional information like data type can be seen, and if the column is checked manually or if the data sensitive filters are set. The right panel presents the Data sensitive filters that can be used to filter columns:

To set up the Custom data sensitive filter, click the New button in its panel on the right side and the New filter window will be shown in which filter options can be set:

Besides creating the New filter setting, the already created filter settings can be edited with a click on the Edit button, which can be found under the Custom data sensitive filters located on the right panel:

The next step of the Mask wizard is showcase of Mask options panel where the left panel is used to present the columns that have been found using data sensitive filters and by manual selection:

Bottom left panel called Data panel presents the preview of the original and masked values of the selected table/column:

The panel on the right is used to manipulate the masking of specific table/column (in this case substitution) and selecting columns and tables, different preview/options are shown there. The table under WHERE clause rules title presents all the rules corresponding to the selected table and the Shuffle checkbox is used to shuffle the masked/original values in each column:

When the column is selected, the table under WHERE clause rules title shows only the rules corresponding to the selected column. The new options under Generator title are used to change the generator of the selected column. According to its data type different generators would be available.

There is also an option to use original values instead of masking. The Column selection button is used to apply selected generator to all the columns that correspond to it by their data type:

Clicking on the New button in the list under the Where clause rules section initiates the New rule window:

Rules can be edited by changing the Source column, checking the Null/String values and choosing which Generator to use for masking the specific column:

Another type of masking is Redaction in which specific characters/strings with another character/string are being replaced. Different elements can be chosen that will be masked from the original database and the specific options it should implement when this type of masking is used. The list under the Redaction rules title presents all the rules corresponding to the selected table:

If a column is selected instead of a table, the table under Redaction rules title now presents only the rules corresponding to the selected column:

When the New button under the Redaction rules is clicked, a New rule can be created and the options to mask whatever check-box combination with a character, string or empty value can be defined. Options under Partial masking title allows the user to perform redact masking to specific number and type of characters.:

In the Column selection specific columns can be chosen from the list on the left from which generators or redact rules can be applied to:

In the last step of the Mask wizard the original database can be overwritten or a new one can be created. When the Overwrite the original database action is chosen, there is the option to create the backup file of the original database.

If the Create a new database action is chosen additional steps to connect to the server where the database will be created and input the name of the new database are required. Once the desired action is chosen, all that is left to do, is to click the Mask button:

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post, as we are excited to introduce to you the newest ApexSQL Developer family member and solution to all your data masking needs.


April 16, 2018