Social Security Number (SSN) Data Discovery
The United States Social Security number (SSN) is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent
residents, and temporary working residents under the Social Security Act. The number is issued to an
individual by the Social Security Administration, an independent agency of the United States government.
Its primary purpose is to track individuals for taxation purposes.
In recent years the SSN has become in effect a national identification number. Despite being extremely
confidential, Social Security Numbers (SSNs) have been used within organizations as methods for tracking
customers, students, and employees. Although many organizations have made a policy shift to stop using
these numbers, there tends to be legacy data where this sensitive information still resides.
Social Security Numbers are a primary piece of personal information that leads to Identity Theft. Hackers
target this information to sell on the black market. To prevent data loss, Spirion finds and
protects Social Security Numbers. Spirion performs dozens of real-time validations, many of
them proprietary based on internal observations of our data analytics experts, to maximize accuracy
and minimize false positives in finding these particularly sensitive pieces of data.
Spirion first starts with deep, deep data analysis. When Spirion comes
across data that could potentially be a match, it applies all the validation techniques
it knows exist to determine whether the data meets the minimum requirements for being a legitimate Social
Security Number. These search algorithms are updated every month with new information to increase accuracy.
For example, Spirion takes the definitions issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA)
and performs AnyFind definition updates every month.
Beyond deep data analysis, Spirion also performs contextual analysis to increase
the accuracy of returning relevant information. By performing contextual analysis, Spirion can
ascertain whether the data is being referred to in a way that would also indicate it is relevant to
an end user. Doing this helps Spirion ignore random strings found by other software vendors
that just happen to match the requirements for being a social security number (SSN).
Finally, Spirion puts all of this power into the hands of the end users and administrators.
Although the software supports defaults that have been configured by our data analytic experts, users
may tune the sensitivity of the search and cater it to the unique data set they are searching within
their own internal environment.