BizDataX Version 2.1 released

Right on the schedule, before the end of the year we are officially announcing availability of BizDataX Version 2.1. We are sure that our clients and supporters will be really happy about that, because, albeit this version is not a major upgrade, it does consist of very important features and enhancements to enable more control, transparency and integration options. Here is what’s new:

New Reports
BDX ReportsBizDataX Runtime creates a report as soon as BizDataX data masking job is completed. Reports show statistics of original and masked data, e.g. you get the insight of distribution of number of replacement names by country and gender, or information about INSERT and UPDATE operations performed by vendor, database and table. Reporting is fully customizable so you can use custom tags during the implementation of BizDataX package to count specific dimensions, or customize report templates. Reports are accessed using Management Console.

 

 

Integration with test automation tools
We've improved BizDataX engine and APIs to support advanced integration with other testing tools. BizDataX has now built-in enterprise scale infrastructure based on web services that enables seamless integration with a variety of tools on the market. On top of that infrastructure, we have implemented two new Connectors: BizDataX Connector for Tosca, the tool that enables integration with Tricentis Tosca Commander, and BizDataX Connector for TestBench, the tool that integrates with imbus TestBench. We will very soon announce availability for several other test automation tools.

Invoking BizDataX Runtime from within command prompt
Additional options made available when BizDataX Runtime is being used by other tools: improvements to command line utilities introduced, web services and REST APIs.

Maintaining RI in XML / semi-structured files
New features were introduced to extend support needed to preserve Referential Integrity (RI). Queue iterators make it easier to setup rules to preserve RI when generating synthetic data. When masking or generating synthetic data, the engine can target data stored in XML files or other non-structured or semi-structured format, in sync with the rest stored in relational databases.

Numerous improvements in data transformation algorithms
A number of improvements have been made in algorithms to speed up data transformation and formatting, especially for large data sets.

If you need additional information about this upgrade please send us an email on support@bizdatax.com

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
BizDataX Team

QS-Tag - an absolutely great conference!

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Being exhibitor at so many conferences in the last couple of years, BizDataX team is experienced enough to say that very few of them we attended can match this one! QS-Tag, held on November 6-7 2014 in Nuremberg, Germany, and hosted by one of the best German QA companies, imbus AG, delivered everything  you would expect from a Quality Assurance conference. Great agenda, inspiring speakers, responsive auditorium, vibrant exhibiting area, awesome organization including fantastic food and party. Above all, a great atmosphere which led to intense networking and lots of business contacts. What more can an exhibitor expect? Not to forget, the conference was sold out with over 340 registered attendees.

IMG_4683We contributed as well by presenting our latest project; Integration between BizDataX and TestBench. The integration project raised significant interest by TestBench clients who now have a great way of providing their favorite test management tool with the test data.

 

IMG_4703Our Swiss partner Dragan Kinkela from aminodata GmbH delivered a session on ‘Visual Test Data Management using BizDataX’ which presented attendees of ways BizDataX enables users to visually author test data generation rules.

 

 

 


IMG_4736To make our clients BizDataX high performance features, used to generate large test data sets, more visually appealing, we also used an interesting analogy on the image on the right Smile.

 

 

 

 

To wrap it up, great conference and a clear YES when considering exhibiting there next year.

First impressions from German Testing Day 2014

German_Testing_Day_7There is always a special kind of excitement when you attend and exhibit at the conference you haven’t been before. Now it’s clear that our appearance on the German Testing Days 2014 in Berlin paid off. The conference proved to be very successful in many ways. First of all, we built a stronger relationship with a German testing process specialist, the imbus AG, who were also generous enough to share with us the booth space so we could present BizDataX seamlessly to the German Testing Day attendees. The conference itself was very focused on testing and QA processes, vast majority of the attendees were testing professionals so it was quite easy for us to present test data management tool like BizDataX and we had quite a lot of great feedback. Venue and the services were great, so most likely we will return next year. For our German clients: mehr über die Konferenz und zusätzliche Photos finden Sie hier!

Get updated BizDataX documents

We have just updated some of the basic BizDataX documentation to reflect recent changes in the new 2.0 version. Feel free to download BizDataX Data Sheet and the white paper BizDataX Test Data Management Concepts and let us know your comments on that!

Next stop TechDays 2013, Basel, Switzerland

A premier Microsoft conference in Switzerland, the TechDays 2013 took place on November 12th and 13th in Basel. Over 1000 participants had a chance to take part on both development and IT pro sessions presenting Windows 8.1, Windows Phone, Windows Azure, Web Technologies, Office 365, SharePoint, Private-Public-Hybrid Cloud, Windows Server and Client, SQL Server, Office System, just to name a few. Not less interesting was in the exhibition hall where 14 sponsors (including Ekobit / BizDataX) presented their products and solutions. We presented BizDataX, our Test Data Management Platform and TeamCompanion, an Outlook AddIn that connects Outlook with the Team Foundation Server.
If you think that challenges of generating high quality test data would not be interesting to audience comprised primarily of developers and IT professionals you will be wrong! We got lots of feedback from the attendees describing their significant efforts in generating test data for the application pools. It is clear that IT departments need to focus more on automating the process of test data management (if they want to stay efficient and comply to the data privacy acts). Anyway, we had great two days in Basel, delivered a number of presentations and enjoyed talking to attendees and other sponsors. Here are just a couple of pictures, to recall a great atmosphere on the conference!

BizDataX was showcased at EuroSTAR conference in Gothenburg, Sweden!

EuroSTAR conference definitely met our expectations and we enjoyed the conference, excellent speakers and interesting topics around software testing. We want to thank all attendees who visited our booth and talked to us about BizDataX, Test Data Management and Data Masking giving us valuable feedback.

Here are a couple of pictures, just to recall a great atmosphere on the conference and the party!

Start with data masking: Step by step Implementation of BizDataX Design Components

V2.0 is about to be released! We'll be publishing info about new features in a series of blog posts. In this post we’ll be explaining the basics and overall process of development of data masking packages with BizDataX Design Components.

BizDataX Design Components enables designing of data masking packages visually which makes it easier to implement and maintain data transformations and data masking logic specifics. The tool is integrated with Visual Studio development environment. Integration with Workflow Designer, a part of clip_image001Windows Workflow Foundation, enables visual implementation and visual insight into implemented data masking logic. Entity Designer, a part of clip_image001[1]Entity Framework, is used to model entities representing data. Testing of data masking logic is supported by clip_image001[2]Visual Studio Debugger. Figure 1 shows a typical screen layout with toolbox to the left (1), design surface in the middle (2) and properties (3) to the right.

Figure 1: BizDataX Design Components integration with Visual Studio and typical user interface layout

Figure 1: BizDataX Design Components integration with Visual Studio and typical user interface layout

In order to start using data masking, the organization has to analyze the data and applications, implement and test the masking logic, produce a deployment package, deploy the package and use it to mask production data.

First step – Deciding on masking methods

Handling of sensitive data requires systematic approach. The process should always start with analysis phase, the phase in which data owners, experts, developers and testers should sit together to analyze data structures and interactions between different IT systems. The team needs to agree up front what data is sensitive. Different masking methods should be discussed, together with effects that they could cause to the application as a whole and in detail at the column level.

Second step – Implementing and testing masking logic

Implementation of the masking logic starts with the definition of a data model. Entity Framework can be used to build the model from scratch or from an existing database with “generate from database” option. Figure 2 shows a sample entity diagram.

Figure 2: Entity diagram representing the database

Figure 2: Entity diagram representing the database

The data masking logic is defined visually with tools provided by Windows Workflow Foundation. BizDataX Design Components adds many toolbox groups and items which are specialized for data masking such as tools for generating random numbers and dates, picking of random replacement first or last names, data shuffling or replacing credit card or social security numbers.

Figure 3: BizDataX toolbox items

Figure 3: BizDataX toolbox items

Individual tools can be combined into sequences, blocks, or conditional and distribution branches which enable definition of complex data masking logic. Items can be rearranged with natural drag-drop or copy-paste. The view can be zoomed and navigated. In short, the design experience provides everything that is expected from a modern visual development environment.

Figure 4: Visual definition of a data masking logic, segment for masking US social security numbers

Figure 4: Visual definition of a data masking logic, segment for masking US social security numbers

In addition to visual design tools, BizDataX Design Components ships with comprehensive and powerful data masking API to support advanced scenarios. API enables making any .Net or native SQL code snippets a part of the data masking package.

Third step - Producing deployment package

Visual Studio build process can be used to build release binaries and prepare the data masking package for deployment to a staging or production environment with BizDataX Runtime Features installed. The build process identifies dependencies and copies all the binaries and all the dependencies into one location. The build process also generates the manifest data containing the information about configuration parameters, process structure and other execution and progress reporting capabilities implemented.

Fourth step - Deploying package and start masking process

The package is copied and registered with BizDataX Runtime (see of clip_image001[3]BizDataX Runtime Help for details). BizDataX Runtime enables immediate or scheduled execution of registered masking packages. Administrators configure execution environment, define execution parameters, configure hosting environment, monitor and manage executions.

Figure 5: BizDataX Runtime

Figure 5: BizDataX Runtime

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This is the overall process which can be repeated iteratively. In fact, the organization should establish normal project control mechanisms and start planning i.e. continuous maintenance of data masking if changes to applications or data structures are expected. BizDataX Design Components supports the process.

In the next post we will go one step further with the implementation BizDataX to keep explaining. See you soon!

Organizations start to be aware of the importance of protecting their data

Recent consumerization trends are forcing organizations to open information systems (IT) to customers, partners, contractors and employees. The systems are accessed by many devices, some of them are mobile or not company owned. At the same time, regulations and industry standards enforce more strict rules, and the organizations are becoming aware that they need to do more to protect their trade secrets and intellectual property. Traditional methods, such as encryption and classical access control technologies are losing the battle. We hear and read about privacy breaches on a daily basis. USA’s Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is just one of many organizations that keep records and make information about incidents publicly available. Details can be accessed at https://www.privacyrights.org/. For example in 2012, PRC records show 673 incidents that led to the exposure of more than 26 million sensitive records. The highest ratios of incidents, 45% of them, were caused by some unexpected event and were categorized as“random incidents”. 13% of the incidents resulted from insider attacks, which became more subtle and complex, and were connected to industrial espionage or identity theft sometimes.

Data masking appears to be simple solution to the problem

Data masking, sometimes called data obfuscation, anonymization or un-identification, looks very promising. The data is sufficiently altered to protect the privacy and yet, masked data is real enough to allow normal operations. For example, instead of using real names, different processes within the organization can use fake customer names most of the time. By doing that, organizations are reducing risk significantly. The idea is very simple, however, organizations underestimate the effort needed to implement it properly which leads to poor results. For example, by trying to develop scripts or home-grown data masking solution in some other form, organizations are generating even more pressure on already overwhelmed resources such as DBAs and software developers.

Systematic approach and data masking platforms are the way to go. Data masking projects benefit from using data masking tools and platforms, for instance our BizDataX is powerful and flexible tool that has been design for enterprise companies. Feel free to contact us and we will help you to keep your sensitive data safe!

BizDataX was showcased at Swiss Testing Day conference in Zurich!

Ekobit presented BizDataX at this year’s Swiss Testing Day conference that was held on March 13th, in Zurich, Switzerland

BizDataX, an innovative data masking platform was showcased at the Swiss Testing Day conference. The testing audience was able to learn more about this customizable data masking solution that enables safe secondary usage of data. BizDataX was available for live testing with constant presence of an expert from Ekobit team that answered numerous questions and chatted with the participants during the conference.

BizDataX attracted interest of Swiss Testing Day participants due to the growing importance of testing data quality, privacy concerns and the flexibility which BizDataX platform offers. For more news on BizDataX and the importance of preserving data privacy when testing your applications, contact us or follow BizDataX on Twitter.

Swiss Testing Day conference is the premier software testing conference that brings the most up-to-date information, tools, and technologies available in the industry today. The Ekobit presenters of BizDataX hope to see you all next year as well!

BizdataX was presented at ALM Summit 3, in Redmond, Washington, USA

BizDataX was on a tour again. This time we attended ALM Summit 3 conference, from January 28th to February 1st at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, Washington!

ALM Summit

Ekobit was one of the Gold Sponsors of this year’s ALM Summit 3 conference where we presented our data masking solution - BizDataX. Besides interesting conversations and friendly atmosphere we gained deeper insight into application lifecycle management. We learned out about case studies that show industry's best practices and development challenges from ALM area. We had a chance to gather the expertise and learn how Microsoft's ALM Solutions enable and support best practices.

This year's ALM Summit plenary sessions hosted by Microsoft executives and industry experts were focusing on ALM Leadership, Agile Development, and new this year; DevOps and Testing. Also, popular full-time Hands-On-Lab featuring self-guided tutorials on TFS and Test Lab Management.

Most importantly, BizDataX solution was presented at the conference as a part of sponsor’s expo,. There we had a chance to talk and present this product to the conference attendees.

Big thanks to all participants and our new friends! We are at your disposal for more information about the BizDataX product.

BDX BoothBizDataX Booth 1Ekobit BoothIMG_1264IMG_1272