Product Spotlight: IRI DarkShield V5 — Finding and Masking PII Everywhere

David Friedland SVP & COO IRI, The CoSort Company

Five years ago, DBTA recognized IRI DarkShield as a Trendsetting Product shortly after it was first introduced to the market. Now in 2024 at Version 5, DarkShield continues to set marketplace trends for database and file security by expanding its number of: search methods; data masking (and synthesis) functions; job design, invocation, and auditing options; and most importantly, the data sources and cloud silos it supports.

DarkShield supports the same data classification and masking functions used by IRI’s pioneering FieldShield data masking product for structured sources. But in addition to relational databases and flat-files, DarkShield can also find and mask PII in semi-structured (e.g., JSON, XML, EDI, Parquet) files and NoSQL databases, plus unstructured files and columns containing free text, PDF and MS documents, and images in several formats, including DICOM.

To find PII like names, addresses, phone numbers, DOBs and SSNs, credit card, and other ID values, DarkShield users can employ both location and search matchers. That means DB column names or spreadsheet ranges, Regex patterns, exact or fuzzy matching dictionary lookups, and ML-trained NER models using OpenNL, Pytorch, or TensorFlow.

Masking functions include deletion, redaction, encryption, blurring, hashing, scrambling, and pseudonymization. It’s also possible to use DarkShield with IRI RowGen to substitute test data or other data values in pre-defined set files.

Best of all, the DarkShield GUI, CLI, and APIs run on your local or cloud hardware, not ours! Learn more at

IRI, The CoSort Company