An alternative to data masking

Dynamic data masking is a neat new feature in recent SQL Server versions that allows you to protect sensitive information from non-privileged users by masking it. But using a brute-force guessing attack, even a non-privileged user can guess the contents of a masked column. And if you’re on SQL Server 2014 or earlier, you won’t have the option of using data masking at all.

Read on to see how you can bypass dynamic data masking, and for an alternative approach that uses SQL Server column-level security instead.

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Catching circular references in parent-child structures

A popular form of organizing dimensions is in parent-child structures, also known as “unbalanced” or “ragged” dimensions, because any branch can have an arbitrary number of child levels. There are many advantages to this type of representation, but their recursive nature also brings some challenges. In this post, we’re going to look at circular references, and how you can trap them before they run out of control.

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Splitting a range string into a table

This week’s post is a requirement that I see very regularly as a developer. You get a plaintext string containing one or more ranges. Each range is comma delimited, and the start and end values of the range are separated by a dash. The string could look something like this, for example: 100-120,121-499,510,520,790-999.

Wouldn’t it be practical if we could construct a table value function that returns one row for each range, with columns for the start and end of each range?

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