Operating in the highly regulated financial services industry, Produban must comply with strict personal data protection laws and internal security and confidentiality standards. A sophisticated application testing process guarantees the highest levels of application quality. However, the process of extracting data from the production environment, masking it, and entering it into the test environments was a manual process which was time-consuming and involved MIPS and CPU resources which were needed to run the production system.
Ricardo Lopez Jimenez, Data and Implementation Manager at Produban explains: “We were under pressure to improve our time-to-market for new business applications but needed to save MIPS/CPU consumption in our mainframe environment as well. We felt that centralizing our test environments would reduce costs and avoid data duplication. Automating the data masking process, compliant with our requirements, would accelerate the testing preparation and execution time. If we could do this without impacting our core IT resources we felt we could improve the batch and online test performance.”
Data confidentiality meant Produban partners could not test their applications directly in Produban’s test environments and so this was an extra strain on the IT team.
Market research showed Micro Focus Data Express as the solution. The Produban team liked the fact that it holds a permanent and centralized knowledge base which gives a summary view of all the data in an environment, synchronized with any updates and changes occurring in the production database. Data subsetting rules within Data Express minimize the effort of setting up a new test environment, while increasing the quality of the environment and the tests.
Héctor Pla Olivé, Deployment and Configuration Manager at Produban: “Using Data Express, we have automated the data masking process. It needs to be practically impossible to reconstruct the masked data, but the data integrity needs to be maintained. So, the same data is always masked using the same algorithm ensuring the same result in any entity. The functional meaning of data has to be same, so names will be masked with a different name, rather than XYZ or 123, and recalculated codes (for instance abbreviated names) must now follow the masked data, e.g. if Jose Sanchez is changed to Juan Perez, his abbreviation JOSAN must now be JUPER. Thanks to the flexibility within the Data Express exit routines, we can mask new test data with very little effort, while still guaranteeing the quality and the security of our test environments.”
Following the Data Express implementation many benefits have been achieved, as explained by Héctor Pla Olivé: “Before our use of Data Express, it would take a week to execute a global refresh of each test environment. This has now been reduced to just one day. We can also add new test data to an existing test environment in just a couple of hours, whereas previously we weren’t able to do this at all.”
Test storage requirements have been reduced by 90% which translates to a fantastic MIPS/CPU saving and tests are executed much faster too. The test data quality has improved so testing can be much more effective in highlighting issues early on. This results in a significant reduction of issues reported on the production system and higher customer satisfaction.
Lopez Jimenez comments: “Thanks to the data protection provided by Data Express, we can now open up our systems to allow partners to test their applications directly on the relevant environments, with no risk to data compliance. This, as well as the elimination of any manual intervention to prepare and reload the data into test environments, has freed up our engineers to concentrate on their core jobs of application development and delivering new functionality to our customers.”
He concludes: “Using Data Express has improved our time-to-market through data masking automation and test environment optimization. Our customer satisfaction has increased, and crucially, we have minimized any compliance risk to data privacy. Micro Focus were with us throughout this journey and have supported us all the way. We look forward to our continued partnership.”