The growing number of data breaches resulting in massive numbers of payment cards being stolen from retail stores and other businesses is occurring because they're failing to keep up with the Payment Card Industry's data security standard, according to the PCI Security Standards Council.
In its "best practices" guidance document published today, the PCI Council says although many businesses may be meeting the periodic compliance requirement of the PCI data-security standard (DSS) in an annual audit check, they are letting attention lapse and not keeping network security up to date. The "best practices" guidance contains several suggestions on how to further PCI-required security as an ongoing process (see graphic, below). Despite the PCI standard being in place for several years, retailers and restaurants that have to follow it continue to be hit by a rash of massive card breaches.
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Among the ideas that businesses can put in place, if they haven't already, is to make someone in the organization the PCI compliance manager to engage key personnel or functional groups to ensure compliance is an ongoing process. Guidance also includes adopting automated monitoring of security controls, when possible, plus operating according to the standardized control frameworks established by the International Organization for Standardization, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association.
The guidance also says PCI compliance must be part of the ongoing security process that focuses on operational changes to system, network or security architectures and configurations.
"If organizations want to protect themselves and their customers from potential losses or damages resulting from a data breach, they must strive for ways to maintain a continuous state of compliance throughout the year rather than simply seeking point-in-time validation," the document concludes.
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