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Q: Why do I need a data masking solution?
A: Information security or Data Security has become a key issue in today’s business where organizations cannot risk illegitimate access to critical data. To address these issues privacy regulations mandate the accuracy, protection and privacy of data across the enterprise. Failure to ensure data privacy compliance can result in millions of dollars in financial penalties and companies may lose the customer loyalty and run out of business.

Akiva helps in masking the personal and sensitive data across the database so that the users can’t view the actual data. Software development needs realistic data in order to test the requirements thoroughly in the development and testing instances of any development/ maintenance project. Akiva will help to disguise the data in non-production environments which avoids data theft.

Q: What is the purpose of Data Condensation?
A: Masking is the better way to secure sensitive data. But, users can have a requirement that they don't want to expose their critical/sensitive data even after masking.

Akiva reduces/ eliminates the critical data across the database by Subsetting the database still maintaining the referential integrity. This helps the user not to expose their critical data to an unauthorized person. One more advantage in using data condensation is that it increases the performance due to reduction in data and results in cost reduction in support environment.

Tips to run Akiva
Q: Will the system identify all the custom/ customized components for masking?
A: Yes, it identifies all the custom built components and customized components which are very specific to the organization apart from the PeopleSoft supplied components. It masks the data consistently across the database.
Q: Can I use this tool for Production Database?
A: No, this tool should be used only for Non-Production databases. For example, Akiva can be used during Test Database creation, Development Instance creation, Training Environment creation etc.
Q: Does Akiva mask the data across the database or only specific tables?
A: Akiva masks the data consistently across the database to maintain the relational integrity and creates realistic data for testing / development/ quality assurance or training instance.
But, the user can mention only subset of the whole table list by using subset operation. This option can be used if the user is sure that only a few tables have to be masked. This will reduce the run-time of Akiva.
Q: Can I choose subset of data for masking?
A: No. you can’t choose subset of data for masking in the database
Q: Is key field masking allowed?
A: Yes, user can select key fields for masking and it doesn’t allow duplicates in the system
Q: Can this tool be used for online masking in the PeopleSoft pages?
A: No. It is not possible. This tool can be used only in the database part which will in turn show the masked data in the PeopleSoft pages.
Q: Can I view the sample masked data before performing actual masking?
A: Preview option is available in Akiva for viewing sample masked data. Before actually performing the masking operation, user can select any of the algorithms for the selected field and verify the masked data. This helps the user to decide on applying the actual algorithm to a particular field.
Q: How are errors handled?
A: Data Masking comprises bulk data selection and transformation. If there is any error encountered while running the masking process, errors are captured properly by using I/O in SQL statements and log files would show the exact error that stopped the masking operation. The masking logic is set to an error state for restart or scheduling the task at a later stage.
Q: Bench Mark of Akiva Performance?
A: Find below the configuration details of the database and related performance on each configuration
 
S.No Parameters Configuration 1 Configuration 2
1 Database Server Free Space (Unix Box) 120 GB 120 GB
2 Environment Unix (Solaris) Unix (Solaris)
3 Database Server RAM 16 GB 16 GB
4 Database Server Processors 4CPU x 2.2GHz 4CPU(QUAD CORE) x 3 GHz
5 Copy Of Production Database Size 110 GB 110 GB
6 Redo Log file Size 500 MB 1 GB
7 Temp Table space size 8 GB 4 GB AUTOEXTEND
8 DB Version Oracle9i Enterprise Edition Release 9.2.0.1.0 Oracle Database 10g Enterprise Edition Release 10.2.0.2.0
9 Memory Management MANUAL AUTOMATED
10 SORT_AREA_SIZE 3MB Not Applicable
11 PGA_AGGREGATE_TARGET Not Applicable 900 MB
12 Total Run time 11 hours 2.15 Hours
Q: Is there any possibility that the masked data can be dynamic in nature every time I run Akiva?
A: Yes, the data is masked in a dynamic fashion by using a 16 digit key. Giving different 16 digit keys will generate a unique set of values on every run.
Q: I would like to run the same set of masking fields in different environments. Do I have to re-enter all the values in all the environments?
A: No, there is no need to select the same set of fields in each environment. Using Profile management, the same set of fields can be reused in different environments.
Q: Is there any option to exclude few tables on the whole database?
A: No. Right now, the tool will mask all the application data tables. To selectively ignore few tables, Akiva has to be customized.
Q: Is there an option to unmask the masked data?
A: No, once Akiva is run on a database, there is no possibility to get back the original data.
Q: Does it support all versions of Oracle?
A: Yes, it supports all versions from Oracle 8i. But in Oracle 8i, Key field masking is not allowed.
Q: What are the Pre-requisites of AKIVA?
A: 1) Internet Explorer (version 5.5)
2) The system should have Oracle client installed. Since Akiva uses SQL Loader, Oracle client should be available in the system.
Q: Will the system send an alert once the process gets over?
A: No, there is no mailing facility available in the current version. The only way to check if the process is over is to verify the Log File.
Q: Can any location be given as the Log File Path?
A: The path entered in the Log File Path should be a location in the database server accessible to the database being masked.
Q: What is “Thread”?
A: Akiva provides multi-threading option to reduce runtime. Fields will be masked in parallel based on user selection. Each thread will have a unique thread number starting from zero.
Q: Can I clone existing profiles?
A: Yes. Load the profile you wish to clone. Click “Save Profile As” option to save a copy of the profile in a different name.
Q: Can I schedule multiple jobs at once?
A: No. Only a single job can be scheduled at any time.
Q: I cannot mask the database. “Proceed to Mask” button is disabled.
A: “Proceed to Mask” button will be disabled only if you have scheduled a job already. Go to “Scheduler” and stop the job schedule to enable the “Proceed to Mask” button.
Q: Do you have any algorithm where the compensation elements like COMPRATE, ANNUAL_RT, MONTHLY_RT etc., can be masked?
A: Compensation skewing algorithm can be used to mask compensation related fields by increasing/ decreasing the value for each employee. It uniformly applies the differential skewing logic for history and current records of all employees across the enterprise.
Q: There are functions to blank out certain data fields. How does this work if the field is required?
A: Users need to choose the right-fit algorithm for masking the identified sensitive element. We do provide this during the Implementation phase. We do not recommend Blank out algorithm for required field.

Even if the user selects the required field for masking with Blank out as an algorithm, Akiva would throw an error message stating the same.

Alternatively, we can also look at other algorithms for handling such required fields. (e.g) Replacement.

Q: What are the limitations of the tool?
A: It's currently available only for PeopleSoft application on Oracle as a Database.
Q: When software versions of PeopleSoft are upgraded do Akiva version gets updated?
A: Currently Akiva supports up to PeopleSoft Version 9.0. If there are any changes in PeopleSoft version impacting Akiva, then the patch would be delivered as per the license agreement.

We upgrade the product when there are any architectural changes in PeopleSoft version

Q: Does Akiva understand Bank Account validation and IBAN numbering?
A: Akiva provides Luhn Generator algorithm for masking credit card numbers and bank account numbers. This algorithm strictly confirms to Luhn Checksum condition which is validated across all the banks.

IBAN number generation is not currently available as it's not implemented outside of Europe. PeopleSoft does not validate this online

As masking is done to remove identity threat while setting up support environment, we can use other algorithms alternately such as
a) pattern generator
b) alpha numeric sequence number generator or
c) scramble algorithm.

Q: How long is the support contract for once the software is purchased?
A: AMC covers any patches for Akiva to support vanilla PeopleSoft functionality till 9.0 version.
Q: Does this product work on Non PeopleSoft databases? Or is it just for PeopleSoft?
A: The current version of Akiva is to support only the PeopleSoft application. However the future road map for Akiva is to make it available for other enterprises such as SAP, Oracle EBS suite and for custom home grown applications on Oracle and SQL Server databases.
Q: Is it possible to mask EMPLID?
A: Key fields are IDs, which point or relate to an identity. Instead of masking EMPLID, we can as well mask the sensitive identities directly.

For example:

Before masking:
Emplid First Name Last Name SSN Bank account number
1199 Alan Jeremiah 502-01-0001 3004 7214 1234 5277
2209 Karen Beatrice 151-08-2397 4307 1517 0073 5270
3300 Jasse Abigail 231-25-9151 5522 3211 2311 7771

Now if we remove the identity by masking the name for example, the data will look as follows:

After masking:
Emplid First Name Last Name SSN Bank account number
1199 Anah Veronica 511-01-0270 4210 1234 5678 9128
2209 Marry Gessler 702-34-0421 5216 4473 6058 2919
3300 Mishal Reuel 304-77-0087 3443 6175 2805 4704

Akiva does provide feature to mask key fields (out of box). This is primarily provided for masking sensitive data present in key fields. Such as SSN as a key field in a custom table.

EMPLID as any key field, can be masked using Akiva.

However it's not advisable as it would impact approx 4000+ tables and numerous indexes associated with it. Meaning it would take a lot of processing time as it would be processing almost all the tables and re-creating almost all the indexes.

Q: When do we need to run Data Condensation?
A: Data condensation should be done before masking the database. Because Subsetting would reduce the database size and masking would be effective after database size reduction.

Note: Without data condensation also, user can perform data masking but a warning message is thrown.

Q: Is there a way to use the same Data Condensation configuration every time when I have to mask an environment?
A: Yes, by using Data Condensation Profile management, the same configuration can be reused whenever the user wants to mask an environment.
Q: Does Akiva condense the data across the database or only specific tables?
A: Akiva removes the data consistently across the database to maintain the relational integrity. After data condensation user can mask the database to create realistic data for testing / development/ quality assurance or training instance.

The user can configure the tool in such a way to remove only specific set of sensitive data by selecting any of the pre-defined criteria in the Data Condensation UI.

Q: What is the purpose of Compliance Report Generation in Akiva?
A: During audits, users need to show the security team about following details
a) Security controls that have been taken care in the Copy Of Production environment
b) Frequency at which the environment is refreshed and masked
c) Who performed the masking function.

Compliance report generates above mentioned information as a report which would be very useful during audits.
Q: How many months' data is generated in Akiva Compliance Report and in which format it's been generated?
A: Akiva generates compliance report for last 6 months. It generates report in word and pdf format.
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Featured Case Study
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White Papers
Akiva provides a GUI to choose any of the sensitive information (Fields) in the enterprise database for masking Read more
Webinar on Akiva
Download the webinar "Securing Sensitive Data in PeopleSoft Non-Production Environments"
Get in touch with us:
Akiva@hexware.com