Data Masking vs. Encryption: Methods For Protecting Business Data

Summary: This 3-minute article explains the benefits of data masking as part of your cyber security protocol. Learn the difference between data masking and encryption. Then, contact DIGIGUARD CYBER SECURITY at 833-33-CYBER (833-332-9237) or visit for a cyber risk analysis and to discuss your overall data protection solutions.

Rising cybercrime has led to an unprecedented focus on data protection for SMBs. Malware, ransomware, phishing and DDoS attacks are just a few of the many strikes designed and launched by nefarious cybercriminals. The good news is that IT experts continue to develop new, efficient and versatile methods for protecting your hard-earned business data.

What is Data Masking?

Wikipedia ( defines data masking as follows: “Data masking or data obfuscation is the process of modifying sensitive data in such a way that it is of no or little value to unauthorized intruders while still being usable by software or authorized personnel. Data masking can also be referred to as anonymization or tokenization depending on different contexts.” Data masking is also known as data sanitization. One might ask, “Why can’t I encrypt all our company’s private data?” The problem is that although encryption is the most secure way of storing and sharing data, it is not an accessible format for data queries. If all private data were encrypted, engaging in searches based on data fields such as age, home address, marital status and many other personal data points would be impossible.

Data That Needs Masking

Only the most private and personal data should be masked. The main categories to be protected by masking are:

There are three main categories of data masking:

Data Masking Techniques

There are several standard methods of data masking:

Data masking is a handy cyber security tool for SMBs. However, whenever data is being manipulated in any way, care must be given to maintaining the integrity of the original data. Businesses rely on their data for many purposes. Therefore, it is not wise for average users to be charged with data masking. Too much is at stake. Hiring IT experts to assist and train you or a key team member to securely mask data would be well worth the expense.