Q

Encrypting credit card numbers

We do a lot of business where we have to take order information in and then hold the order for months at a time.

All of this time, we have credit card information stored on our system. Do you know of any way to encrypt that data within a field in the Order Header file and unencrypt it at a later data? Or is there a better way? After the order is processed, we erase the credit card information. Encryption is a good solution except that encrypted data most often takes a larger field that what has been defined for the unencrypted data. So to keep this data in the same file you are forced into defining a new field. That may work for you depending on how many logical files you have defined over this file or how many programs you have referencing this file. Another method you could consider would be to move the data that needs to be encrypted into a separate file and keep a reference to the field in the other file in the original field. This method can be less disruptive.

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This was first published in May 2004

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