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On-The-Fly Data Masking



On-the-fly data masking is used when specific conditions in development require data to be masked without using a staging environment. This could be due to the absence of extra space, or a need to move data in real-time. On-the-fly data masking uses a process known as Extract-Transform-Load (ETL), which takes data from the environment where it resides, and then loads the masked data to the target environment. This method is mostly used within Agile organizations as it does not interfere with continuous development and provides extra flexibility and speed.


Agile organizations that practice continuous deployment do not have the time necessary to create a backup and load it to the golden copy of the database. For this reason, smaller subsets of production data is masked for testing purposes. It is recommended to employ on-the-fly data masking at the very beginning of a development project, to prevent compliance and security issues.


The process of on-the-fly data masking requires a source database/environment and a target database/environment. Data is read from the source database, masked and inserted into a new table in the target database. Only the target data is masked. The source data remains unchanged. The user specifies the source of the information to be masked, and where the masked data will be loaded.


Open your Integration Services Project in Visual Studio. Create a dataflow and select the source database where the data you wish to copy and mask resides.

Select the column of data you would like to mask. In this example, the data in the address column has been selected.

Select the target database where you would like to transfer your masked data.

Select the table you wish to transfer masked data to.

Map your source destination to your target destination.

Click on the Start button on the top menu to begin the masking process.

The data has been successfully masked and transferred from the source database to destination database.

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