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Diving Deeper into Data Management



Data Risk Mitigation: FieldShield

by Jeff Simpson

Data Risk Mitigation: FieldShield

Data Risk MitigationData Risk Mitigation … the need for it is on the rise in the United States and around the globe.  Think of this example.  You are at home opening your mail and you have a shiny new credit card from your credit card company. There is no real information other than “your information might have been at risk, and to prevent theft, we have issued you a new card”.

Credit card companies certainly do not like to admit when they have been victims of a cyber attack and there has been a breach of their sensitive data. Often in these cases the company issues the new cards with no real explanation. However, you can bet that there is a vested interest in making sure this situation never happens again to restore consumer confidence. Data risk mitigation and data masking are both buzz words and key components of data governance and database administration.

For the last several years, the theft of personally identifiable information (PII) has been on the rise. More than one in four Americans have had their personal information lost or stolen.  It is not only individuals who are at risk.  Since 2005, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has chronicled reported breaches of client, patient, and employee data (including credit card numbers, social security numbers, birth dates, etc.), intellectual property, and other important records exposed through loss, theft, hacking, etc. This is why Data Risk Mitigation is a crucial consideration in a company’s business planning efforts.

Consider the following cases (one out of MANY per year) where data has been compromised, and how they might relate to you or your company:

  • In 2014, of the 331 data breaches reported, six exceeded 10 million (m) records. The largest was eBay, which had more than 145m user emails, passwords, DOBs and addresses hacked from a database.
  • In 2015, personal details of 191m US voters was found on a publicly available database, 15m T-Mobile customer credit check records were exposed, hackers stole more than 10m records from Sony Pictures, and 37 records were stolen from Ashley Madison’s site.
  • In 2016, 1.5b login records were reported stolen from Yahoo in 2 prior incidents, 412m at Friend Finder, 360m at MySpace, 43.4m from Weebly, 32m at Twitter, and 22.5m from Foursquare.
  • In 2017, a Deep Root Analytics cloud database of more than 198m user voters was found unprotected, River City Media inadvertently exposed 1.37b email addresses and other data in a backup archive.


These are just a few examples illustrating why it is imperative to protect sensitive data wherever it resides. Basic security practices should be followed to ensure the protection of data at multiple points of entry, control and exit when considering best practices that relate to data risk mitigation.

Companies must guarantee that their information systems are not an open target, and they must protect the data in appropriate ways throughout its (data management) life cycle.  It was the latter, data-centric protection requirements that prompted IRI to develop protections specifically for personally-identifying information in files and databases. For this reason, IRI developed FieldShield to secure data at risk down to the field level, and provides the Chakra Max DAM/DAP (DCAP) tool as a database firewall to monitor, alert, block, audit, and mask data in more than 20 on-premise and cloud databases.

FieldShield offers users a choice – for each field – of AES, GPG, or other encryption libraries, data-masking (e.g. rendering a credit card number unreadable except the last 4 digits) and de-identification (e.g. separating or pseudonymizing sensitive information in medical records), hashing and so on … up to 12 different functional categories of protection. Chakra Max can similarly redact data in-motion (dynamic data masking) according to highly granular authorization policies.

These functions can be applied to fields in large structured files and database columns, and can also be seamlessly applied in data warehousing, data/DB migration, MDM, and reporting/analytic data preparation operations in the IRI Voracity data management platform.  Granular security functions, and automatic XML job (audit) logs, help organizations comply with both internal and government privacy regulations.

FieldShield and Chakra Max run on Windows, Unix, and Linux platforms. For more information or for a free trial, email


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