You are currently viewing DATA MASKING SOLUTION LOWERS RISK AND REDUCES COSTS FORInternal Revenue Services: Federal Government Agency

DATA MASKING SOLUTION LOWERS RISK AND REDUCES COSTS FORInternal Revenue Services: Federal Government Agency

The Customer:

The Internal Revenue Service is the nation’s tax collection agency and administers the Internal Revenue Code enacted by Congress. is the official website of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is the United States’ tax collection agency.

The Challenges:

Over the past decade, increased risks in handling sensitive customer data by technical users and looming security threats from hackers had outpaced the insurer’s ability to keep up with stringent regulatory requirements. As per industry research, on average, a single data breach is observed to cost institutions a staggering US$6.75 million. To mitigate such huge risks and ensure compliance, the client initially made an attempt to use the Data Masking solution but put it on hold. In 2011, the client partnered with us to revisit this problem and decided to re-establish the risk mitigation program leveraging the new partnership.


Implemented IBM Optima for Data Masking for all IT organizations using data for different testing. Provided Load and Performance testing service for IRS FATCA Project

The Hummingbirds Innovations program involved the masking of sensitive data in non-production environments. It was a complex undertaking, where the risk exposure for over 3,000 enterprise applications was analyzed. Hummingbirds Innovations then implemented the Data Masking solution for the shortlisted 360+ applications, with a base of over 160 million customers. The solution needed to fulfill a range of key objectives, including compliance with end-customer requirements on protecting data covered under nondisclosure

agreements; meeting regulatory requirements; delivering a standardized, cost-efficient solution by centralizing data masking; and managing risk exposure and audit compliance. The client was also looking to set up data masking as a global shared service, enabling a standardized implementation of data privacy requirements and driving cost efficiency by leveraging the expertise, service, and process across multiple business areas.

To achieve this, Hummingbirds Innovations brought to bear its considerable technical and domain expertise. IBM OPTIM was the client’s
choice of tool for executing data masking. The skills and experience Hummingbirds Innovations brought to the table enabled it to overcome
several challenges related to customizing the IBM OPTIM to suit the client’s complex set of masking requirements.

Major customizations were required to adapt to the client’s vast and intricate technology landscape, and specialized masking routines were designed and built. Moreover, data adapters needed to interface with different types of databases and customized solutions had to be compatible with different
platforms. During the process, Hummingbirds Innovations leveraged their

consulting alliance partnership with IBM to effectively resolve the technical challenges. The Hummingbirds Innovations data masking framework involved defining an over-arching governance model and robust new processes. This would engage the data masking initiative at an enterprise level and business-as-usual processes to handle projects and any enhancements- /support-related.

activities. In agreement with the client, Hummingbirds Innovations adopted a factory model with a well-established application life cycle process ensuring reusability, quicker onboarding, and improved acceptability of the processes. A well-defined self-audit process was also established to enable.

Challenges Encountered:

Hummingbirds Innovations faced several technical and operational challenges in the implementation of this complex data masking solution. There were technical challenges related to the complex technology landscape (Mainframes, SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, flat files, XML files), production data quality, data consistency, and the huge volume of data involved. Operational challenges with regard to work efficiency, resistance to change, and limited availability of applications, and resources also proved to be major obstacles. Our vast knowledge and expertise in the data masking space helped us overcome these problems and we were able to add immense strategic value to the

Benefits Delivered:

The proof of Hummingbirds Innovations success can be seen in these numbers: The program coverage to date includes 100+ applications, 6000+ tables, and 10,000+ sensitive data columns, successfully masked across multiple non-production environments. This has ensured several benefits for the client even as they have considerably reduced the risk of exposing sensitive data in line with customer commitments and expectations. The effort has resulted in a 50% reduction in data masking execution costs along with huge savings on infrastructure costs and a faster turnaround with a 12 times reduction in process and cycle time.

Hummingbirds Innovations received excellent feedback from teams across the enterprise owing to the consistent delivery of applications and adherence to tight schedules, budget, and quality requirements. Due to its overwhelming success in its very first year, the program has been recognized by the client as a ‘model program.

Tools: IBM OPTIM, IBM Mainframe, HP Performance Center