Health Service Case Study

Rapid Implementation Of Data Obfuscation

Learn how IDS automated data obfuscation for a Health
Service digital transformation programme, eliminating risk and
significantly reducing the cost of delivering test data at scale

Get In Touch Book An iData Discovery Call

Follow us

Digital transformation within the public sector is perpetually challenging – especially when the data is as highly sensitive as that held within the National Health Service. Confidential and sensitive data has to be obfuscated at scale, to allow new systems to be robustly tested. And the whole process needs to be completed at speed. The problem, however, is that manual obfuscation is not only time-consuming and expensive, but prone to human error.

It can cause whole digital transformation projects to grind to a resounding halt.

Health Sector Digital Transformation

PCSE is a central system for the NHS to support primary care in the UK health sector, working with Capita to transform of one of its backbone internal applications. However, the challenges of obfuscation were amplified by a dispersed testing team – so manual obfuscation of testing was simply never going to work.

The manual obfuscation process in place was inconsistent and caused a bottleneck when new production data was made available to the test team. The project was running significantly behind schedule, and the test team’s approach had therefore become a risk to the project.

Delivering Test Data In Minutes – Not Days

Large volumes of representative data were required to satisfy the testing requirements of a large digital transformation programme for this PCSE. And with test team members located in various areas of the world, access to representative data for testing purposes was proving an impossible challenge.

The test team was struggling to keep pace with the delivery of new and updated system and to provide the required volume of obfuscated test data to satisfy testing needs with each new data drop.

When IDS arrived, the existing team had an overhead of 20-30 man days to carry out the obfuscation process manually. This was therefore not only prone to error, but expensive and unsustainable.

IDS was tasked with implementing a mechanism to rapidly obfuscate production data to ensure that all sensitive data was adequately replaced, with no route back to its original state.

“Testing was dependant on having obfuscated production data, representative of the entire data set, to support testing without breaching any regulatory guidelines, which would have put Capita, the programme, and each of the programme partners, at risk.”

Security graphic

Mission-Critical Data Solution Offers Certainty To The Project

Given the critical nature of the data being shared with the programme, a solution was required to mitigate the inherent risk associated with handling sensitive and critical data in large volumes.

The requirement from the programme was for a highly repeatable and rapid solution which would deliver the required obfuscated test data in minutes instead of days.

A decision was made to implement iData, the market-leading data transformation engine, centrally, so that the team had access to iData’s obfuscation capabilities on demand.

IDS implemented iData transforms and appropriate functions such as obfuscation, masking and randomising, amongst many other suitable solutions, to build out the required capability to consistently and efficiently provide representative and protected test data for each cycle of testing.

Faced with the increasing cost and complexity of their manual obfuscation approach, the programme benefited from IDS’s specialist iData capabilities, to deliver a leaner, more cost-effective process.

Testing was completed on time, with a significant improvement in quality and coverage, and the test team were freed up to work on other mission-critical tasks.

iData: proven to radically reduce test preparation times

With 7 hours of scripting the transforms, iData generated the following outputs:

  • 88,000 rows of representative data: 30 minutes
  • 44,000,000, rows of representative data: 6 hours

IDS: Building Efficiency Into Managing Test Data

As market leaders in data migration transformation assurance, IDS understand the pain associated with managing test data as part of the any testing process.

Based on a huge bank of case studies and use cases, IDS is able to de-risk the delivery of data
obfuscation for complex and large-scale data testing and migration projects.

70% of testing effort is made up of test preparation and 30% of the test preparation time is consumed by preparing test data.

It is through this experience, that IDS developed iData to be the ultimate data transformation engine to automate the process of either obfuscating production data or generating synthetic data.

iData uses an automation process to generate template scripts that can be easily edited to drive the focus of each obfuscation transform, making the process extremely quick to configure and highly repeatable for execution.

Eliminating The Test Data Preparation Bottleneck Cutting Costs, Increasing Coverage & Quality

  • iData automates data obfuscation, reducing costs and times by up to 70%
  • iData enables any programme to obfuscate huge volumes of data rapidly
  • iData enables the synthesisation of significant data volumes
  • iData significantly reduces test preparation times
  • iData provided a robust and repeatable solution for managing test data
  • iData can be fully integrated into any automated test solution, delivering advanced project savings
  • iData’s obfuscation solution offers a considerable saving in staff utilisation
  • iData frees up skilled resources to focus on exploratory testing or other areas of concern
  • iData drives up the quality of testing, as the possibility of human oversight is eliminated