Why Engineers Should Ditch Manual Masking Policies in Snowflake

The DIY Trap: Why Engineers Should Ditch Manual Masking Policies in Snowflake

The DIY Trap: Why Engineers Should Ditch Manual Masking Policies in Snowflake

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For data engineers, there's a comforting hum in the familiar, a primal urge to build things ourselves."DIY is better," whispers the voice in their heads. But when it comes to data masking in Snowflake, is building policies from scratch the best use of our time? 

Sure, the initial build of a masking policy might be a quick win. You get that rush of creation, the satisfaction of crafting something bespoke. But here's the harsh reality: that initial high fades fast. Masking policies are rarely static. Data evolves, regulations shift, and suddenly, your DIY masterpiece needs an overhaul.

This is where the actual cost of the"DIY is better" mentality becomes apparent. Let's delve into the hidden complexities that lurk beneath the surface of Snowflake's manual masking policies.

The Version Control Vortex

Ah, version control. The unsung hero of software development. But when it comes to DIY masking policies, it can be atangled mess. Every change, every tweak you make, needs to be meticulously documented and tracked. One wrong move, and you could be staring down the barrel of a data breach caused by an outdated policy.

Imagine the chaos if multiple engineers are working on the same masking logic. How do you ensure everyone is on the same page? How do you revert to a previous version if something goes wrong? While Snowflake recently announced a Private Preview for version control via Git, with a purpose-built UI like ALTR, version control is baked in and highly user-friendly. There is no need for complex terminal commands –just intuitive clicks and menus. Changes are tracked, history is preserved, and rollbacks are a breeze.

The Snowflake Object Management Maze

Snowflake offers a seemingly endless buffet of objects – a staggering 74 and counting, with new additions continually emerging. However, managing these objects poses a central challenge within the Snowflake ecosystem. 

For instance, while masking policies reside within schemas, their impact extends far beyond. A single masking policy can be applied to tables and columns across numerous schemas within your Snowflake account. 

This creates a masking policy headache. Choosing the correct schema for each policy is crucial, as poor placement leads to confusion and complex updates. Furthermore, meticulous documentation is essential to track policy location and impact. Without it, any changes or troubleshooting become a nightmare due to the potential for widespread, unforeseen consequences across your Snowflake environment.

With ALTR, you do not have to consider object management when masking policies. With our unified interface, you can easily create, edit, and deploy policies automatically in seconds, eliminating the need to navigate the intricate web of Snowflake objects and their relationships.

The Update and Maintenance Monster

Data masking policies are living documents. As your data landscape changes, so too should your masking logic. New regulations might demand a shift in how you mask specific fields. A data breach requires you to tighten masking rules.

With DIY policies, every update becomes a time-consuming ordeal. You must identify the relevant policy, modify the logic, test it thoroughly, and then deploy the changes across all affected Snowflake objects. Multiply that process by the number of policies you have, and you've just booked a one-way ticket to Update City – population: you, stressed and overworked.

ALTR simplifies this process. Its intuitive UI allows for quick and easy changes to policies. Updates can be deployed across all relevant objects with a single click, eliminating the need for manual deployment across potentially hundreds of locations.

The Validation Vortex

Let's not forget the critical step of validation. Every change you make to a masking policy must be rigorously tested to ensure it functions as intended. This involves creating test data, applying the new masking logic, and verifying that the sensitive data is adequately protected.

Imagine manually validating dozens of masking policies across hundreds or thousands of tables and columns. It's a daunting task, and relying solely on automated pipelines for testing adds another layer of complexity that needs ongoing maintenance. It's enough to make any data engineer break out in a cold sweat. 

Beyond Time Saving: The BiggerPicture

The benefits of ditching DIY masking policies extend far beyond just saving time. It's about empowerment. With ALTR's easy-to-use UI, even non-technical users can create and edit masking policies. This frees up valuable engineering time, allowing you to focus on more strategic initiatives. It also fosters a culture of data ownership and responsibility, where everyone involved understands the importance of data security.

Let's face it: the "DIY is better" mentality can be a trap in data masking. It might seem like a quick win initially, but the long-term costs – time, complexity, and risk – are too high. Embrace the power of purpose-built tools like ALTR. Free your engineering time, empower your team, and ensure your data is masked effectively and efficiently.

Ready to ditch the DIY trap? Schedule an ALTR demo.

The DIY Trap: Why Engineers Should Ditch Manual Masking Policies in Snowflake

Why Engineers Should Ditch Manual Masking Policies in Snowflake
PUBLISHED:
May 15
0
MIN READ
The "DIY is better" mentality can be a trap. It might seem like a quick win initially, but the long-term costs – time, complexity, and risk – are too high.
Ami Ikanovic
Author

For data engineers, there's a comforting hum in the familiar, a primal urge to build things ourselves."DIY is better," whispers the voice in their heads. But when it comes to data masking in Snowflake, is building policies from scratch the best use of our time? 

Sure, the initial build of a masking policy might be a quick win. You get that rush of creation, the satisfaction of crafting something bespoke. But here's the harsh reality: that initial high fades fast. Masking policies are rarely static. Data evolves, regulations shift, and suddenly, your DIY masterpiece needs an overhaul.

This is where the actual cost of the"DIY is better" mentality becomes apparent. Let's delve into the hidden complexities that lurk beneath the surface of Snowflake's manual masking policies.

The Version Control Vortex

Ah, version control. The unsung hero of software development. But when it comes to DIY masking policies, it can be atangled mess. Every change, every tweak you make, needs to be meticulously documented and tracked. One wrong move, and you could be staring down the barrel of a data breach caused by an outdated policy.

Imagine the chaos if multiple engineers are working on the same masking logic. How do you ensure everyone is on the same page? How do you revert to a previous version if something goes wrong? While Snowflake recently announced a Private Preview for version control via Git, with a purpose-built UI like ALTR, version control is baked in and highly user-friendly. There is no need for complex terminal commands –just intuitive clicks and menus. Changes are tracked, history is preserved, and rollbacks are a breeze.

The Snowflake Object Management Maze

Snowflake offers a seemingly endless buffet of objects – a staggering 74 and counting, with new additions continually emerging. However, managing these objects poses a central challenge within the Snowflake ecosystem. 

For instance, while masking policies reside within schemas, their impact extends far beyond. A single masking policy can be applied to tables and columns across numerous schemas within your Snowflake account. 

This creates a masking policy headache. Choosing the correct schema for each policy is crucial, as poor placement leads to confusion and complex updates. Furthermore, meticulous documentation is essential to track policy location and impact. Without it, any changes or troubleshooting become a nightmare due to the potential for widespread, unforeseen consequences across your Snowflake environment.

With ALTR, you do not have to consider object management when masking policies. With our unified interface, you can easily create, edit, and deploy policies automatically in seconds, eliminating the need to navigate the intricate web of Snowflake objects and their relationships.

The Update and Maintenance Monster

Data masking policies are living documents. As your data landscape changes, so too should your masking logic. New regulations might demand a shift in how you mask specific fields. A data breach requires you to tighten masking rules.

With DIY policies, every update becomes a time-consuming ordeal. You must identify the relevant policy, modify the logic, test it thoroughly, and then deploy the changes across all affected Snowflake objects. Multiply that process by the number of policies you have, and you've just booked a one-way ticket to Update City – population: you, stressed and overworked.

ALTR simplifies this process. Its intuitive UI allows for quick and easy changes to policies. Updates can be deployed across all relevant objects with a single click, eliminating the need for manual deployment across potentially hundreds of locations.

The Validation Vortex

Let's not forget the critical step of validation. Every change you make to a masking policy must be rigorously tested to ensure it functions as intended. This involves creating test data, applying the new masking logic, and verifying that the sensitive data is adequately protected.

Imagine manually validating dozens of masking policies across hundreds or thousands of tables and columns. It's a daunting task, and relying solely on automated pipelines for testing adds another layer of complexity that needs ongoing maintenance. It's enough to make any data engineer break out in a cold sweat. 

Beyond Time Saving: The BiggerPicture

The benefits of ditching DIY masking policies extend far beyond just saving time. It's about empowerment. With ALTR's easy-to-use UI, even non-technical users can create and edit masking policies. This frees up valuable engineering time, allowing you to focus on more strategic initiatives. It also fosters a culture of data ownership and responsibility, where everyone involved understands the importance of data security.

Let's face it: the "DIY is better" mentality can be a trap in data masking. It might seem like a quick win initially, but the long-term costs – time, complexity, and risk – are too high. Embrace the power of purpose-built tools like ALTR. Free your engineering time, empower your team, and ensure your data is masked effectively and efficiently.

Ready to ditch the DIY trap? Schedule an ALTR demo.

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