Feeds

Firms still struggling with data security standard

PCI DSS dissed

3 Big data security analytics techniques

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. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
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
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.