How encryption, tokenisation and masking protect your sensitive data
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How encryption, tokenisation and masking protect your sensitive data

Nowadays, data protection is a significant consideration for consumers when interacting with a business. A recent study shows 74% of consumers are now more alarmed than ever about their privacy. Besides, 49% don’t give companies credit for doing enough when it comes to data privacy and protection. Such concerns leave businesses no choice but to enhance their security with the most advanced tools and measures.

This article will help everyone concerned to learn more about the most popular data protection methods in use: encryption, tokenisation, and masking.

What is encryption?

Data encryption is one of the most commonly used methods for protecting sensitive data. It is the process of temporary translation of the data into a unique and unreadable code, or ciphertext.

If someone steals encrypted data, they won’t be able to read it unless they obtain a decryption key. Only this secret key can turn encrypted data into plaintext. The biggest flaw of encryption lies in this reversibility. Fraudsters can turn encrypted data back to its original form. That’s why the strength of the encryption totally depends on the algorithm used to secure sensitive data. The more refined and advanced it is, the less solvable, or breakable, is the encryption. Still, as technologies develop and move forward, encryption moves towards becoming an obsolete data protection method. With powerful supercomputers, third parties may solve the encryption and access the valuable data in its original format.

How does tokenisation work?

Tokenisation is the process of replacing sensitive data with a token, which is a unique digital identifier used in different types of transactions. This token can be later used to get access to the original data. Tokenisation enables merchants to securely pass their customers’ data to a payment service provider.

Unlike the encryption, a token is unsolvable and unreversible. It is just a placeholder with no inherent value. Sensitive information is stored separately in a different location, and you can access it only by using your tokenisation solution to exchange the token for the original data. It allows you not only to secure the information but also to avoid storing sensitive data within your internal systems. At the same time, you have to be sure that the external data vault you use is undoubtedly secure and protected.

We’ve examined the types, advantages, and drawbacks of tokenisation previously, so take a look at this article if you want to know more.

How does masking help to protect data?

Masking is the simplest method which means replacing the original data with other values: null, constant, or synonymical to real data.

The latter case allows for saving the analytical value of the original data without exposing and risking it (for instance, a real name can be replaced with a random one). Masking can be both permanent and unretrievable (SDM, static data masking), and reversible (DDM, dynamic data masking), meaning that the authorised user can access original data. In contrast, unauthorised users will see it masked.

Masking is particularly useful for testing or quality assurance requirements, as it prevents sensitive data disclosure while preserving its analytical value. It also helps to display data safely (e.g. showing only the last four digits of a credit card number). However, it cannot be used as a single or primary method of data protection because of the high risk of a database breach.

Protecting data at PayCore.io

As a payment hub, we take security extremely seriously. We ensure safe data storage, perform rigorous security checks, screenings, and independent assessments, and comply with all industry regulations. We have a PCI DSS Level 1 Compliance certificate, which is the industry’s highest level of certification, as well as ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certificate for Applications, Systems, People, Technology, and Processes. PayCore.io also complies with PSD2, GDPR, and ISO 9001 requirements. We understand that you entrust your data to us, and we do everything possible to keep it secure and continuously look for opportunities to improve.

For more information about how we protect sensitive data and ensure the security of our system, visit the Security page on our website or get in touch with us through a contact form. We’re always ready to answer your questions.

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