Data Masker Reads Column Classificiations

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One of the newer features in Data Masker for SQL Server is the ability to read column classifications and suggest rules to clean the data. I decided to give this a try and see how things work.

Importing Column Classifications

I created a new Masking Set, and I do like the new connection dialog. It works well makes it easy for me to focus my masking on a schema.

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From here, I went to the Tables tab to check on the classifications. I didn’t see any, which felt slightly strange.

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I went back to SSMS and double checked my work. I do have things classified.

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After a quick reach out to the team, I remembered that a plan is an item you need to create and save. In this case, the feature is importing information from the database. I can then work with it in a plan. To get the data, I click the “Export/Import Plan” button at the bottom of the Tables tab.

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This brings me a dialog of the plan details. I can choose to import a plan from a CSV file, or from the SSMS classifications. I’ll choose the latter.

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Note: plans are specific to a controller. If I have two controllers, I need to import the plan into both (or all). When I click “Import”, the data is added to my plan. I can see that now there are four columns classified.

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If I expand one of these nodes, like the Users table, I see that there are columns marked as sensitive and the comment includes the classification. That’s very handy for deciding how to mask the data.

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Another welcome improvement is that I can change my plan sensitivity for all the columns in a table at once. In this case, I’ll right click the Sensitivity column for a table. I can then pick “Check”.

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Once I do this, all columns are set to check for this table.

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I can also multi-select columns (with the CTRL key held down) and then right click. In this case, I can pick three and then choose “sensitive”.

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They’ll all be set, and I can see that I need to get to work.

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Quick Rules

One other nice thing is that I can create a rule for multiple columns at once. If I have a few selected, I can right click and create a rule. I’ll choose Substitution rule here.

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This brings me up a dialog with the columns already in my rule, and now I can pick the specific customizations I need for each.

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It’s a little thing, but it greatly speeds up the process of masking data.

Give It A Try

Data Masker is part of SQL Provision, and it’s an amazing tool that allows me to mask data in almost any way I can think of to protect data in non production environments.

There are some other nice enhancements in this v6.3.13.x release. If you haven’t given Data Masker a try, do so today.

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