Automating Data Obfuscation to Eliminate Risk and Minimize Cost

Providing representative data in a leaner, more cost-effective way for a nationwide health service. 
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National Health Service

The challenge

Rapidly obfuscate large volumes of highly sensitive data to be securely accessed by internationally-based testing teams without breaching foreign governance.

The outcome

Test data was created in minutes to minimize the risk of sensitive data being accessed by non-authorized personnel. Testing teams could now prioritize mission-critical tasks.

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Health Sector Digital Transformation

Digital transformation within the public sector is perpetually challenging – especially when handling highly sensitive and confidential data held within the National Health Service. This data must be obfuscated at scale, to allow new systems to be robustly tested and 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 halt. 

The NHS worked with Capita using its backbone application system supporting primary care.

However, the challenges of manual obfuscation of testing were amplified by a dispersed testing team.

Therefore, the obfuscation process in place was inconsistent and caused a bottleneck when new production data was made available to the test team. This meant the project was running significantly behind schedule as the risk increased…



Ensuring data certainty and integrity at each stage is where IDS have provided the most value to our clients

Emma O’Brien, CEO, Embridge Consulting


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

Large volumes of representative data were required to satisfy the large digital transformation programme’s testing requirements. But, with test teams located around the world, access to representative data for testing purposes was proving an impossible challenge.

Test teams were struggling to keep up with the delivery of new and updated systems 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 20-30 man days to carry out manual obfuscation. This was not only prone to error, but expensive and unsustainable.

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

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

This is when iData came in.

The toolkit’s full range of capabilities and how it worked to deliver quality obfuscated test data with efficiency is revealed in the PDF below: