NewsFebruary 1, 2018 @ 8:00 AM

The New PCI Compliance: Corporate Cramming Is No Longer an Option

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (DSS) 3.2 arrives Feb. 1. According to Help Net Security, however, companies aren’t ready.

Despite two years of prep time, many organizations have opted to cram for yearly evaluations instead of adopting long-term PCI compliance policies. But that won’t work under the new framework. How can enterprises make the shift from eleventh-hour integration to cultures of continuous compliance?

Rushing to Meet PCI Compliance

Cramming for PCI DSS has become commonplace. Many companies opt for annual pass models of compliance, which see them shoring up PCI security policies just before yearly evaluations, then letting cardholder protections slide for 11 months.

When compromised, firms are typically compliant with just 47 percent of PCI DSS requirements, noted Help Net Security. Version 3.2 ups the ante: Companies must provide evidence of ongoing compliance rather than once-a-year-conformity.

According to the PCI Security Standards Council, PCI DSS 3.2 aims to make security an everyday priority. To accomplish this, companies must adopt multifactor authentication not just for untrusted, remote access to cardholder networks, but also for administrators working on corporate networks.

In addition, service providers will now be required to document the cryptographic architecture used to protect cardholder data and report any failure of critical security controls. Companies must also verify that all PCI DSS requirements remain intact after any impactful change to the network, and they must conduct penetration testing on segmentation controls at least every six months.

Employing Cultural Change

The bad news? With PCI DSS 3.2 already live, companies don’t have time to build out a complete compliance policy from scratch if they haven’t already. However, cramming isn’t the only option. Start here to toss the pass/fail treadmill:

  • Scan internal systems. It’s worth completing an internal scan to identify any internal issues. A variety of open-source tools are available that will provide an overview of potential PCI compliance issues.
  • Hire an expert. Approved scanning vendors (ASVs) can pinpoint network issues from the outside looking in. Find a reliable ASV to complete scans at least every quarter. This improves overall security and provides necessary data for PCI DSS evaluations.
  • Implement multifactor authentication. Spending here is a requirement, since it not only complies with PCI regulations, but also increases total network security. Two-factor authentication is the bare minimum, but it’s worth considering extra protection where possible to limit the chance of a breach.
  • Crash the network. Penetration testing is now mandatory under the new PCI regulations. Hire a pen testing firm to discover where security is working and where improvements must be made.

PCI DSS 3.2 is here and companies aren’t prepared. Toss the idea of last-ditch cram sessions and instead opt for a culture of consistency while adopting PCI compliance regulations.

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Douglas Bonderud

Freelance Writer

A freelance writer for three years, Doug Bonderud is a Western Canadian with expertise in the fields of technology and innovation. In addition to working for the IBM Midsize Insider, The Content Standard and Proteomics programs for Skyword, Doug also writes for companies like Ephricon Web Marketing and sites such as MSDynamicsWorld. Clients are impressed with not only his command of language but the minimal need for editing necessary in his pieces. His ability to create readable, relatable articles from diverse Web content is second to none. He has also written a weekly column for TORWars, a videogaming website; posts about invention and design for InventorSpot.com and general knowledge articles for WiseGeek. From 2010-2012, Doug did copywriting for eCopywriters.com. Doug is currently a municipal police officer, on track to become a fantasy/sci-fi author.