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Snowflake Data Masking

Snowflake Data Masking

Snowflake Data Masking


In today’s data-driven world, organizations handle vast amounts of sensitive information, making data security a top priority. It can hide sensitive data and allow safe sharing. In this article, we will explore the basics of Snowflake Data Masking, its types, and how to control it using Snowflake commands. By the end, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to enhance your database security using Snowflake’s data masking features.

What is Snowflake Data Masking?

Snowflake Data Masking is a powerful security measure that allows you to obfuscate sensitive data in your Snowflake database. It helps you make hidden versions of your data, keeping it safe from unauthorized access while keeping its original format.

Data masking is a way to protect sensitive information. It involves replacing, encrypting, or scrambling real data with fake or random data. This process helps organizations follow privacy rules like GDPR and HIPAA, which protect personal and sensitive data.

Masking data helps organizations protect information by restricting access to authorized individuals. This reduces the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access. Only those with permission can view the masked data, ensuring its safety. Think of it as an additional access control feature.

In addition to regulatory compliance, data masking is also essential for secure data sharing with external parties. Organizations must protect sensitive information when sharing data with third parties like vendors, partners, or customers. Organizations use data masking to share data without revealing sensitive details, ensuring that they disclose only the necessary information to external parties.

Overall, data masking plays a crucial role in safeguarding sensitive information and maintaining compliance with privacy regulations. Data masking helps organizations protect data, build trust, and reduce the risk of breaches to gain trust from customers and partners.

Types of Data Masking in Snowflake

Snowflake offers several types of data masking to cater to different security requirements:

Static Data Masking

Static data masking involves creating a masked copy of your data. The original data stays the same, while the masked version is used for non-production environments or data sharing. Snowflake provides a range of masking functions, such as random value generation, substring masking, and regular expression-based masking.

Example: Suppose you have a table named customers with columns name, email, and phone. To apply static data masking, you can use the following command:

CREATE TABLE masked_customers AS
CONCAT(SUBSTRING(name, 1, 1), '*****') AS name,
REGEXP_REPLACE(email, '.+@', '*****@') AS email,
REGEXP_REPLACE(phone, '\\d', '*') AS phone
FROM customers;

This command creates a new table masked_customers with masked values for the name, email, and phone columns.

Dynamic Data Masking

Dynamic data masking allows you to mask sensitive data in real-time based on user roles and permissions. In data sharing security Dynamic masking is a technique that applies masking rules in real-time. This happens as users query the data.

Instead of creating a separate masked copy, the system applies the masking rules to the data when accessing it. This method makes sure users only see data they’re allowed to access, without needing to keep many copies of the data.

Dynamic masking helps protect sensitive information by controlling access to data only when necessary, ensuring data privacy. This technique hides data instantly from unauthorized users.

It is useful in industries such as healthcare and finance. In these industries, data access must be closely monitored and controlled. This is because of strict regulations.

Organizations can use masking rules to protect sensitive data. Masking rules allow authorized users to access the information they need for their jobs. This helps maintain security while ensuring employees can still perform their tasks effectively.

Example: To enable dynamic data masking, you can create a masking policy using the CREATE MASKING POLICY command:

WHEN current_role() IN ('admin', 'manager') THEN val
ELSE REGEXP_REPLACE(val, '.+@', '*****@')

This masking policy masks the email addresses for users who do not have the admin or manager role. You can then apply the masking policy to a specific column using the ALTER TABLE command:


Now, the system dynamically masks the email column in the customer’s table. Masked values appear when users query it, based on their role.

Controlling Snowflake Data Masking

Snowflake provides several commands to control data masking:

  1. CREATE MASKING POLICY: Creates a new masking policy that defines the masking rules.
  2. ALTER MASKING POLICY: Modifies an existing masking policy.
  3. DROP MASKING POLICY: Deletes a masking policy.
  4. ALTER TABLE: Applies a masking policy to a specific column or removes a masking policy from a column.

Here’s an example that demonstrates how to create a masking policy and apply it to a column:

-- Create a masking policy for phone numbers
REGEXP_REPLACE(val, '\\d', '*');
-- Apply the masking policy to the phone column

After executing these commands, the phone column in the customers table will be masked according to the phone_mask policy.

Best Practices for Snowflake Data Masking

To ensure effective data security and compliance, consider the following best practices when implementing Snowflake Data Masking:

  1. Identify sensitive data: Determine which columns in your tables contain sensitive information that needs to be masked.
  2. Choose appropriate masking techniques: Select the masking functions that align with your data types and security requirements.
  3. Define granular masking policies: Create masking policies that apply different masking rules based on user roles and permissions.
  4. Test masking policies: Thoroughly test your masking policies to ensure they effectively protect sensitive data without impacting application functionality.
  5. Monitor and audit: Regularly monitor and audit your data masking setup to identify any potential vulnerabilities or unauthorized access attempts.


Snowflake Data Masking is a powerful tool for safeguarding sensitive data and enabling secure data sharing. By understanding the different types of data masking, controlling masking policies, and following best practices, you can significantly enhance your database security. Implementing data masking not only helps you comply with privacy regulations but also builds trust with your customers and partners.

For a user-friendly and flexible solution for database security, masking, and compliance, consider exploring DataSunrise. Our team offers online demos to showcase our comprehensive suite of tools that can further strengthen your data protection efforts.


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