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.