Personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI) are two types of sensitive data that fall under one or more data privacy regulations. HIPAA and GDPR are examples of the regulations that govern what organizations can and need to do with PII and PHI. When you work with large data sets, it can be challenging to maintain compliance with these regulations. Xplenty’s Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) solution simplifies this process so that you can effectively handle this data.

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Table of Contents

  1. Methods for Working With PII and PHI
  2. The Benefits of ETL for PII and PHI Transformations
  3. How Xplenty Makes PII and PHI Transformations Simple

Methods for Working With PII and PHI

You have several approaches for handling your PII and PHI in data sets. The path of least resistance is to remove it completely, but this method may not be practical for your business use case. Instead, you can use one or more ways of masking this data to prevent exposure to private information.

Data masking obfuscates any sensitive information so that you’re able to use these data sets for testing and analytics purposes. It’s a catch-all term that covers multiple techniques. Some of the most common include:

  • Substitution: Sensitive data gets substituted by random values pulled from a designated database.
  • Nulling: The sensitive data changes into either a blank data value or placeholder characters.
  • Encryption: PII and PHI are encrypted so that they can only be read by someone holding the associated password or key.
  • Stochastic Substitution: Rather than pulling a random substitution from a database, the value gets generated based on the variance between those field values. The data stays in the expected range.
  • Anagramming: The data values are shuffled.

The right technique for your organization depends on the type of PII or PHI you’re working with, the regulations that apply to your industry, and the technical resources you have available for the data masking process.

After you put data masking in place, you’re able to better protect sensitive information while improving the accuracy of your test data.

The Benefits of ETL for PII and PHI Transformations

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You need to handle data masking at scale, as manual processes would quickly get overwhelmed by the size of many data sets. ETL tools deliver many benefits for handling this type of transformation so that you can dynamically work with PII and PHI in your systems.

Automating Transformation Processes

You can create data pipelines that automatically pull data from your sources. This dynamic process allows you to focus on what you actually want to do with the data, rather than taking up a lot of time to manually process these steps.

Standardizing Your PII and PHI Data

The transformation step in ETL can also standardize this data as it travels to its destination data store. If you’re working with PII and PHI that come from several sources, then you may need to change them into matching formats.

Reducing Your Compliance Costs

Xplenty is a HIPAA-compliant ETL solution, so you don’t have to expend resources on making sure it meets these regulatory requirements. Since this is a cloud-based solution, you do not have to worry about many compliance-related costs.

Lowering the Potential for Human Error

Automating key parts of the data transformation process reduces the risk of exposure or misuse of sensitive data. These errors could lead to many consequences, such as a loss of customer trust and costly fines.

Avoiding Fines and Other Penalties

Falling out of compliance with data privacy regulations can lead to fines or even criminal charges. You can use ETL solutions as another tool to stop your organization from running into these types of problems.

Cleaning Your Data

Not all of your PII and PHI data will be in a usable state. You may have duplicates, incomplete records, or junk information. ETL tools can cleanse this data to improve its quality before you use it for testing or analytics.

Stopping Data Loss

By putting automated processes in place to work with your PII and PHI, you cut down on the chances of losing data while it moves to its intended endpoint.

How Xplenty Makes PII and PHI Transformations Simple

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Xplenty’s ETL solution offers a user-friendly solution for protecting PII and PHI through transformation. You can quickly get set up through no-code and low-code approaches that allow all users to put together effective data pipelines.

As part of the pipeline development process, you’re able to encrypt your data on a field-level basis. Xplenty uses Amazon’s Key Management Service (KMS), which allows you to use your own encryption key for encrypting and decrypting these fields. Since you are the one in control of your encryption keys, you don’t have to exchange secrets for the ETL process and you can rotate the keys as needed. The only thing Xplenty needs is the ARN of the key.

The Xplenty platform is cloud-based and team members cannot access client data. This solution follows security best practices to ensure that data protection along its journey to the endpoint.

Are you ready to use automated transformations to better work with your PII and PHI data? Get a 14-day demo of Xplenty and simplify your regulatory compliance.