Getting started with Tonic

This getting started guide shows you how to set up an account, configure a workspace, and complete a data generation.

Overview of the Tonic workflow

After you create your account and log in, this getting started guide leads you through the following steps to create synthesized destination data from a source database.
Overview diagram of the Tonic workflow
  1. 1.
    To get started, you create a workspace. When you create a workspace, you identify the type of source data, such as PostgreSQL or MySQL, and establish the connections to the source database and the destination database. The source database contains the original data that you want to synthesize. The destination database is where Tonic stores the synthesized data.
  2. 2.
    Next, you analyze the results of the initial sensitivity scan. The sensitivity scan identifies columns that contain sensitive data. These columns need to be protected by a generator.
  3. 3.
    Based on the sensitivity scan results, you configure the data generation. The configuration includes:
    • Assigning table modes to tables. The table mode controls the number of rows and columns that are copied to the destination database.
    • Indicating column sensitivity. You can make adjustments to the initial sensitivity assignments. For example, you can mark additional columns as sensitive that the initial scan did not identify as sensitive.
    • Assigning and configuring column generators. To protect the data in a column, especially a sensitive column, you assign a generator to it. The generator replaces the source value with a different value in the destination database. For example, the generator might scramble the characters or assign a random value of the same type.
  4. 4.
    After you complete the configuration, you run the data generation job. The data generation job uses the configured table modes and generators to transform the data from the source database. The transformed data is used to populate the destination database. You can track the job progress and view the job results.

Logging in to Tonic for the first time

When you go to Tonic for the first time, you create an account. How you create an account depends on the type of user you are.
A new Tonic user can be one of the following:

New user starting a free trial

To start a new free trial of Tonic, navigate to the app signup link that was provided by the Tonic team.
On the Create your account dialog, to create an account, either:
  • To use your Google email address to create the account, click Create account using Google. The email address must be an email address that your company manages. It cannot be a free Gmail account.
  • To create a new Tonic account, enter your name, email address, and Tonic password, then click Create Account.
When you create the account, Tonic starts your free trial and automatically creates a sample workspace for you. Tonic Cloud opens to Privacy Hub on the sample workspace.

New user on a self-hosted instance

If your company has a self-hosted Tonic instance that is installed on-premises, then you navigate to the Tonic URL for that instance.
Your self-hosted instance might be configured to use single sign-on for Tonic access. If so, then from the Tonic login page, to create your Tonic user account, click the single sign-on option.
Otherwise, to create your Tonic user account, click Create Account.
Your administrator can provide the URL for your Tonic instance and confirm the instructions for creating your user account.
When you create the account, the Tonic application opens to the New Workspace view so that you can create your first workspace.

New user on Tonic Cloud

If your company uses Tonic Cloud, then to set up an account for a new user, contact Tonic support.
The first time you log in, Tonic Cloud opens to the New Workspace view so that you can create your first workspace.

Creating a workspace

The first time that you log into Tonic, the application opens to the New Workspace view so that you can create your first workspace.
A workspace consists of:
  • The type of database connection.
  • Connection information for the source database.
  • Connection information for the destination database.
  • Configuration for the transformation from source to destination data.
  • A history of the jobs that you run to transform source data to destination data.

Using the Tonic sample workspace

If you do not have data of your own to use, Tonic provides a sample workspace template. The sample workspace contains a small PostgreSQL database of sales information. It has a tag called Tonic Sample.
The sample workspace provides an easy and risk-free way for users, especially free trial users, to explore Tonic features and functions.
Option to create a sample workspace
To use the Tonic sample workspace, in the Create a sample dataset panel to the right of the workspace name and description fields, click Create Sample Workspace.
On the confirmation panel, provide the workspace name, then click Ok. Tonic creates the new workspace using the sample source data and runs the sensitivity scan. It then displays the results on Privacy Hub.

Manually configuring a new workspace

If you do have data to use, then you configure the new workspace manually. After you complete the configuration, to create the workspace, click Save Workspace.
Tonic runs the initial sensitivity scan and displays the results on Privacy Hub.
For more information about configuring a workspace, see Workspace configuration settings.
New Workspace view
You start by providing a workspace name and description.
You next select the database connection type, and provide the connection information for the source and destination databases.
We do not recommend that you connect directly to a production database. Instead, connect to a disaster recovery or production clone with an account that is read-only. For details about the supported database connector types and the required permissions and configuration, see About data connectors.
Note that the destination database connection is not required when you create the workspace. However, you must configure the connection before you run a data generation job.

Reviewing the sensitivity scan results

When you create a new workspace, Tonic runs a sensitivity scan on the source database to identify columns that contain sensitive data. To protect the data in sensitive columns, you assign a generator to them.
Privacy Hub displays the results of the sensitivity scan. It indicates the current protection status of the columns in the source data. Columns are at risk if they contain sensitive data but are not protected by a generator. In other words, the original data is copied directly to the destination database.
Privacy Hub showing the current protection status
As you change the workspace configuration, Privacy Hub is updated to reflect the new protection status.

Configuring the data generation

Data generation configuration includes:
You use the Privacy Hub results as a basis for configuring the data generation. For example, at a minimum you should assign generators to at-risk columns.
You can configure the data generation from the following views:
  • Privacy Hub - Privacy Hub allows you to indicate column sensitivity and assign generators to columns. As you change the column configuration, you can see the effect on the protection status.
  • Database View - Database View provides a complete overview of all of the tables and columns. From Database View, you can view and update the table and column configuration.
  • Table View - Table View displays an overview of the table and column configuration for a single table. From Table View, you can update the table and column configuration. Table View also displays a sample set of data from the table. You can switch between the original source data values and a preview of the destination data values based on the selected table mode and column generator. As you change the column configuration, you can see the effect on the destination data.
As you make configuration changes, the undo and redo options display in the workspace heading to allow you to undo and restore changes.
Undo and redo options

Assigning table modes to tables

The table mode that is assigned to a table indicates how the table is populated in the destination database. You can assign table modes from Database View or Table View.
By default, the table mode is De-Identify. With this mode, the entire table is copied to the destination database. The column data is based on the assigned generators.
For the initial data generation, you can also assign Truncate mode or Scale mode. Truncated tables do not contain any data in the destination database. For Scale mode, Tonic uses the assigned column generators to create an arbitrary number of rows.

Example from the Tonic sample workspace

As an example from the Tonic sample workspace, we'll use Database View to change the table mode of the legacy_wo table in the sample workspace from De-Identify to Truncate.
  1. 1.
    In the workspace navigation bar, click Database View.
  2. 2.
    Click the dropdown next to legacy_wo. The dropdown currently displays D, which indicates that the current table mode is De-Identify.
  3. 3.
    On the Table Mode panel, click De-Identify.
  4. 4.
    In the dropdown, click Truncate.
Selecting a table mode
To see the effect of setting the table mode to truncate, click the database icon that is next to the table mode dropdown.
This displays Table View for the legacy_wo table. On Table View, you can see that the preview data is empty, because truncated tables are not populated in the destination database. Table View also provides a table mode dropdown that you can use to set the table mode.
Table View for a truncated table

Indicating whether columns are sensitive

Column sensitivity indicates whether a column contains sensitive data that should be replaced in the destination database. An example of sensitive data is personally identifiable information (PII). Sensitive columns need to have an assigned generator.
The column sensitivity is initially configured by the sensitivity scan on a new workspace.
If a column is marked incorrectly as either sensitive or not sensitive, then you can change the column sensitivity.
You can assign column sensitivity from Privacy Hub, Database View, or Table View.

Example from the Tonic sample workspace

As an example from the Tonic sample workspace, we'll use Table View to change the Occupation column in the customers table to be sensitive instead of not sensitive.
  1. 1.
    In the workspace navigation bar, click Table View.
  2. 2.
    From the table dropdown list, select customers.
  3. 3.
    Scroll the column list to the right until you see the Occupation column.
  4. 4.
    Click the dropdown in the Occupation column.
The configuration panel for the Occupation column includes a sensitivity toggle. The toggle is set to Not Sensitive, which indicates that the column is not sensitive.
Configuration panel for a column that is not sensitive
To make the column sensitive, toggle the sensitivity toggle to Sensitive. The column heading also changes to indicate that the column is sensitive and not protected.
Configuration panel for a column that is sensitive

Assigning column generators to columns

The column generator indicates how to transform the column values in the source database to values in the destination database. For example, a generator might replace the source value with a random destination value, or populate a numeric or date column with a value that falls within a specific range.
Some generators can only be assigned to columns with specific data types. When you configure a column, Tonic recommends generators based on the column data type.
Each generator can have configuration options to control how the generator works.
By default, the column generator is Passthrough. Passthrough indicates to copy the value from the source database to the destination database without making any changes to it. At a minimum, you should change the column generator for sensitive columns.
You can assign column generators from Privacy Hub, Database View, or Table View.

Example from the Tonic sample workspace

As an example from the Tonic sample workspace, we'll use Privacy Hub to assign the Name generator to the First_Name field in the customers table.
  1. 1.
    In the workspace navigation bar, click Privacy Hub.
  2. 2.
    In the Unprotected Sensitive Columns panel, hover over the first bar. The tooltip indicates that this is the First_Name field.
  3. 3.
    Click the bar to display the configuration panel.
The configuration panel shows that the First_Name field is sensitive and is assigned Passthrough as the generator. Based on Tonic's analysis of the column, it recommends the Name generator.
Details panel for the First_Name column
Click Name, then click Edit Generator Options.
The generator options panel provides the available options for the selected generator. The panel heading now has a blue background instead of a red background, to indicate that a generator is assigned. The column is also moved to the Protected Columns panel.
Generator configuration options for the Name generator
For the Name generator, you can:
  • Select the type of name value. Is this a first name, last name, first and last name? In this case, First_Name contains a first name.
  • Indicate whether to use the same capitalization in the destination database as the source database. For example, if the value is all-caps or all lowercase, is that preserved in the destination data? By default, capitalization is not preserved. To preserve capitalization, toggle Preserve Capitalization to the on position.
  • Indicate whether to make the column consistent. In other words, does the same first name always transform to the same last name? Does John in the source database always result in Michael in the destination database? By default, consistency is turned off. To enable consistency, toggle Consistency to the on position.

Running a data generation job

After you configure the table modes and generators, you can run your first data generation.
You cannot generate data without a connection to a destination database. If you did not configure a destination database when you created the workspace, then you must edit your workspace to add it. For example, the Tonic sample workspace is created without a destination database.
To start the generation, in the workspace heading, click Generate Data.
Generate Data button to start data generation
If there are no issues to prevent the data generation, then the Confirm Generation panel is displayed. On the Confirm Generation panel, click Run Generation.
To track the progress of the data generation, in the workspace navigation bar, click Jobs. The Job History list shows the current status of the job.
Job History view
To display details for the job, on the Job History view, click the data generation job. On the job details view, the Job Log tab tracks the progress of the data generation.
If the generation job is successful, you can connect to the destination database to view the destination data.

Next steps for free trial users

Toward the end of your 14-day free trial period, a Tonic representative contacts you to see whether you want to view a Tonic demo and continue the conversation about purchasing and using Tonic.
When the free trial period ends, your Tonic Cloud account is closed and your workspaces are removed.