Data obfuscation is a data security technique that copies and scrambles sensitive data, often via encryption, as a means of concealment.
Data obfuscation is often used interchangeably with data masking. Data obfuscation scrambles data to anonymize it.
Data obfuscation is essential in many regulated industries where personally identifiable information must be protected from overexposure. By obfuscating data, the organization can expose the data as needed to test teams or database administrators without compromising the data or getting out of compliance. The primary benefit is reducing security risk.
Data obfuscation is difficult because the changed data must retain any characteristics of the original data that would require specific processing. Yet it must be sufficiently transformed so that no one viewing the replica would be able to reverse-engineer it. Commercial software solutions are available to automate obfuscation and provide confidence in the obfuscation quality.