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Aug 22, 2022
Since the introduction of the GDPR, companies are required to ensure data protection regulations across all their systems. In production systems, this is a no-brainer, but secondary systems such as test environments are often forgotten. However, this is exactly where you should be careful. The GDPR also applies to these systems, and data protection violations can be really expensive there, too.
Whether it is system adjustments, quality checks or employee training, you need to ensure that these scenarios on test, training and quality systems are as up-to-date and as comprehensible as possible. The conditions should also be as realistic as possible. This is why secondary systems are usually run with a system copy of the production systems that include real personal data. This is what causes a problem in terms of data protection.
According to the GDPR, personal data may only be collected and processed for a specific purpose. If this purpose limitation is breached, data protection law is violated. Healthcare facilities, for example, cannot readily use their patient data collected for medical treatment for training purposes. This is because a change of purpose takes place at the very moment when a system copy is created and the data is used for training purposes. The data subjects have also not explicitly given their consent to have their data processed in such a way. In addition, data protection requires data economy which means that data must be deleted as soon as the purpose for which it was originally collected no longer applies. We therefore conclude that the use of real personal data in secondary systems is generally not permitted. So what alternative options are there to use real data for test processes while remaining data protection-compliant? The keyword is: depersonalization.
Depersonalized data no longer allows conclusions to be drawn about the original personal information, but still makes it possible to work with real-life data. To do this, the data concerned is either anonymized or pseudonymized. In the latter case, personal information is replaced. Key designations such as customer numbers, however, remain unchanged. This method is particularly fast and sufficient for the vast majority of applications. Ultimately it is important that people can no longer be identified after the "depersonalization" process. In the case of anonymization, the process goes one step further and completely removes all personal information, as well as key identifiers such as the customer number and replaces them with new numbers. This means that no one with access to the production system - not even the data manager or owner - is able to draw conclusions about the original person behind the data.
With Natuvion Test Data Anonymization (TDA), we have developed a solution that allows you to depersonalize your personal data in a very uncomplicated, extremely fast, and highly flexible way directly after making a system copy. This means you are on the safe side when it comes to data protection, while at the same time benefiting from test and development environments that are very similar to a production system. But that's not all: you can also use Natuvion TDA to protect your trade secrets, crossing one possible additional security measure off your list. Want to learn more about this? Then download our whitepaper.Download whitepaper here