Feeds

Firms still struggling with data security standard

PCI DSS dissed

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Organisations are still struggling with data security, putting consumers at continued risk of identity theft as a result.

A survey by the Ponemon Institute on the Payment Card Industry’s (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) found that more than half of those surveyed (55 per cent) work for businesses that only secure credit card information but not other sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and bank account details. Consumers are generally more at risk with smaller businesses, the survey of 500 US and multinational IT security practitioners suggests.

PCI DSS outlines a set of security guidelines for firms of all sizes that handle credit card information.

Some firms certified under PCI DSS, such as Heartland Security, have experienced high-profile breaches of late. Since PCI DSS was enacted in June 2005, the number of data breaches and amount of credit card fraud has continued to rise.

However, Ponemon's survey found that organisations taking a strategic approach to PCI compliance experience fewer data breaches. Unfortunately PCI DSS is not treated as strategic in the firms of 71 per cent of the IT security experts polled. The majority (73 per cent) of respondents have reached PCI compliance using a basic, checklist approach.

Three in five of the respondents polled expressed the opinion that they lacked sufficient resources to comply with PCI DSS.

"Security departments are using PCI compliance as leverage to gain more budget, but these resources are not always translating into greater security for sensitive customer data," said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. "The results of our study indicate that while some companies have figured out how to convert PCI standards into an overall security mandate—many more have not."

The study also found only one in favour (28 per cent) of SMEs with less than 1,000 workers comply with PCI DSS as opposed to 70 per cent of larger companies (75,000 or more employees).

"Companies devote 35 per cent of their IT security budgets to PCI compliance on average, making cost a significant obstacle, especially for smaller companies," explained Amichai Shulman, CTO of data security firm Imperva, which commissioned the study. "This is why Imperva is recommending that the PCI DSS Council modify the requirements for larger and smaller companies to take into account different environments and security needs."

Avivah Litan, VP at analysts Gartner, agreed: "The PCI Security Standards and the card brands must update the PCI-DSS so that it’s risk-based, depending on the system configuration of the complying company. The ‘one size fits all’ approach of the current standard imposes unreasonable requirements on many companies that have simple networks, or have implemented security technologies that aren’t included in the PCI standards, but provide equal or greater levels of protection."

The PCI DSS standard is under review, with a deadline of submissions set for 31 October. Imperva has published recommendations to businesses and the PCI DSS Council ahead of this deadline. It wants the PCI DSS council to modify compliance needs for larger and smaller companies and to run a compliance logo scheme, so consumers can see if a firm has reached the standard.

Imperva wants PCI to be used in implementing "broader, more effective security programs" in business. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.