WatchGuard User Anonymization

Built-in Protection for Personally Identifiable Information

The issue of privacy surrounding user data is taking center stage. Many countries are developing regulations that set standards for how to move, store, view, and report on data containing users’ personally identifiable information, or PII. For example, the European Union is setting precedents with the most stringent data and privacy protection regulations in the world with its General Data Protection Regulation framework, or GDPR.

WatchGuard’s Dimension™ visibility platform, which is included with purchase for all WatchGuard Firebox security appliances, delivers a new User Anonymization feature that takes an organization’s ability to be in compliance with regulations like the GDPR to the next level. The feature works very simply, is easily accessible and configurable, and was designed with the reality of insider threats to PII in mind.


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Illustration: Gears

How Does It Work?

WatchGuard’s User Anonymization feature uses pseudonymization, a privacy-enhancing technology specifically recommended by GDPR. When User Anonymization is enabled, it replaces all user names, IP addresses, host names, and mobile device names with unique, randomly generated alphanumeric sequences in Dimension’s reports, dashboards, and summary pages. Anonymized sequences are not only unique within anonymized sessions, but across all anonymized sessions, disabling any ability to trend hashed PII data within and across sessions so PII stays private.

Illustration: Checks & Balances

Ensure Checks & Balances

It’s important to avoid situations where just one person controls all access to PII within your organization. Some regulations, including GDPR, even mandate that a person be designated to ensure access control is distributed. WatchGuard makes it easy to comply with regulations such as this. You can assign an Anonymization Officer directly within Dimension who fulfills the “four-eyes” or two-logins approach to authentication.

Illustration: Auditing & Accountability

Auditing & Accountability

Dimension’s anonymized mode encrypts only at the visibility platform level. It does not encrypt the database. When the feature is enabled, log messages and detail reports are not available, protecting personal data from unauthorized view. Dimension will also log all activity that takes place so that a user’s actions can be tracked, enabling an organization to hold its IT staff accountable for times when they have permitted access to PII data.

Illustration: Control Access to PII by Role

Control Access to PII by Role

Have the flexibility to define who can access data based on the user’s role within your organization. When users log into Dimension while Anonymized Mode is enabled, they will only see a restricted view of the pages their role allows them to see – an important step in reaching and maintaining regulatory compliance.

What are you waiting for?

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