October 6, 2020

5 Ways Tokenization Can Improve Database Security

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As IT security becomes an increasing issue for businesses, companies are looking for better ways to protect their clients’ data. Tokenization and encryption are both popular security methods. However, with enough time and effort, encryptions can be solved. In this post, we cover 5 ways tokenization in your organization can improve database security. This article will cover:

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What is tokenization?

Tokenization is the process of taking a single piece of sensitive data, like a credit card number, and replacing it with a token, or substitute, that is not sensitive. Usually, this token is a randomized string of numbers and/or letters. It’s not encrypted because there is no key to decipher the data. Instead, the tokenization system links the token and original but doesn’t provide a way to uncover the original piece.

Security protection from breaches

Because sensitive information is not held on internal servers, the data is protected from security breaches. Often, the token won’t have the same number of characters as the original piece of data, so there’s not a way to tell what type of number the original was just by looking at the token. It could have been a social security number, bank account, or even a driver’s license number. It makes it difficult for hackers to place a value on the information they’re looking for, so they’re less likely to go after it. Even if someone does intercept a token during transit, there’s no way to decrypt it.

Recommended Software

Very Good Security is a data security infrastructure company that offers tokenization tools that protect you from an inevitable breach. Their aliases offer an advanced form of tokens, enabling more functionality than standard tokens. This system protects and uses the data without having to come into actual contact with it. There are several different pricing tiers depending on the amount of data you need to tokenize.

Patient security for healthcare

HIPAA regulations can spell disaster for healthcare organizations who haven’t properly protected their patient files. Organizations typically store many types of data, including photographs and emails, on several devices that run on different operating systems. Multiple users are handling them at every turn. These organizations can better comply with HIPAA regulations by tokenizing both electronically protected health information (ePHI) and nonpublic personal information (NPPI). Even if there is a breach, someone stealing a token representing information isn’t the same as someone stealing the actual information because  there’s no way for the hacker to decode that token.

Recommended Software

As a global cybersecurity company, Thales offers flexible healthcare data security solutions to strengthen organizational security and compliance efforts. The system renders your information unusable for any hacker who manages to break in, so you’re protected and compliant with regulatory requirements. Thales also provides healthcare institutions with robust controls that guard against unauthorized access from even inside users.

Secure payments

With the rise of online shopping, securing payment methods has become a high priority for most retailers. Tokenization protects all parts of the credit card information, including magnetic swipe data, the number, and cardholder name and address. With this process, the payment gateway is the only party that can map a token to the original data source, so not even people inside of your organization will see your customers’ payment details. Because you’re not storing anything on-premise, there’s nothing for criminals to try and steal.

Recommended Software

TokenEx, an Oklahoma-based data security company, provides payment tokenization solutions that integrate seamlessly with your existing systems. It operates in the background and won’t interrupt your processes. You can choose from a variety of processors to find the one that works best for you. The system works with ACH payments and offers cloud-based data protections.

Meeting compliance standards

In most industries, there is some kind of governing body. For healthcare providers, it’s HIPAA. For financial institutions, it’s the FDIC. With each different governing body comes a different set of rules and regulations that tokenization can help meet. By tokenizing your data, you’re protected from certain punishments by these governing bodies, even if your systems do get breached. For example, imagine a hacker got into your system and stole a file containing a large number of tokenized credit card numbers. Because there’s no way to decrypt that data, you haven’t actually lost any information or put anyone at risk. Therefore, you won’t get in trouble for not meeting compliance standards because you have.

Recommended Software

Geobridge, an information security company specializing in encryption, has industry compliance as one of its core disciplines. Their TokenBRIDGE product generates tokens in a wide variety of formats, including custom options. There is also an option that integrates several appliances into a single network. Finally, it randomizes the tokens for even higher security.

Increased customer trust

While not directly improving database security, increasing your customers’ trust in your business can keep them coming back to you, meaning more revenue and a bigger security budget. How many times have you thought about purchasing something from a site, only to decide that it doesn’t seem like a safe place to leave your credit card info? When customers know you’re protecting their data, they’re more comfortable giving you sensitive information. Tokenization protects that data and keeps your customers safe and confident in your services.

Recommended Software

First Data is a payment card security software that offers payment security and reduced risk through their tokenization program. They apply multiple layers of protection to keep card data secure and reduce the cost and effort of meeting compliance standards. They offer a limited warranty against compromised token numbers, including fraudulent use.

How tokenization can help you
Whatever your business, chances are you’re handling some kind of sensitive data. Tokenization protects that data and you from cyber attacks. If you need a way to improve your database security, consider making tokenization a part of your security measures.

Check out our Product Selection Tool to get a list of security software vendors that will meet your business’s needs.