While chief information officers may already have a lot on their plates in terms of keeping their companies on the cutting-edge of technology, they have to step away from all their solutions for a second and set their sights on compliance. Given all of the recent instances in which high-profile corporations have fallen victim to cybertheft, if there is one thing that is critical throughout the sphere of IT, it is ensuring everyone is on the same page in terms of data protection.
Although protecting sensitive information in general is crucial, CIOs have to make their businesses compliant with the latest round of payment card industry guidelines so that they can better ensure that their organizations mitigate cyberattacks.
Computerworld pointed out that many times, IT executives view compliance as an obligation that they need to fulfill just for the sake of following the rules. However, they should not simply go through the motions for no other reason than being able to check compliance off of their to-do lists. There are actually numerous benefits that their businesses can reap from guaranteeing they have the proper PCI applications and protocol in place.
“Too many companies still look at PCI as pure compliance and don’t use it to mitigate risk,” explained Rodolphe Simonetti, managing director of PCI practice for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, according to Computerworld. “Often, compliance is managed as a project – particularly as the build phase of a project.”
Keep compliance an ongoing process
Simonetti stated that in many cases, once IT professionals pour the time and resources into making their organizations meet compliance standards, they proceed to put it on the back burner so they can move on and focus on other projects. However, this does not do them any good in the long run. Unless they constantly keep up with maintaining compliance, CIOs are likely to undo almost everything they accomplished, meaning that their PCI data would be just as vulnerable as it was before.
Not to mention, if tech professionals do not stay on top of keeping their companies PCI complaint on a continuous basis, they create more work for themselves. Each year, they have to demonstrate their compliance, otherwise they could face a variety of punishments, ranging from fines to restrictions on their companies’ ability to handle credit cards. Bearing this in mind, it is more efficient to evaluate and ensure compliance routinely, preventing people from scrambling to overhaul their operations as soon as a deadline is in sight.
Address key issues
With these efforts, tech teams have to be swift and strategic, addressing all of the issues that could keep them from being compliant. Forbes explained that there are some common problem areas that individuals normally overlook, which thwarts their compliance endeavors. If IT professionals direct their attention to these trouble spots, they could be more successful in passing audits, in addition to keeping company and customer information out of the hands of hackers.
The source stated that one of the most effective measures to take when driving PCI data protection is to break a network into silos. By and large, companies’ internal networks can be accessed by a multitude of devices capable of carrying out PCI functions. If organizations leave their infrastructure alone, these tools have the potential to access any fragment of information from wherever in their databases. Consequently, if hackers manage to infiltrate a system, they can tap into the entire network and obtain any piece of data they desire.
In segmented systems, though, this cannot occur. By creating silos, IT professionals can group different types of information together based on the level of confidentiality, restricting access to the various segments of their networks. Even if unauthorized users make their way into a system, they will not have free rein in terms of the data they can come across.
This is especially true if tech teams encrypt confidential portions of their databases. PCI places importance on encrypting credit card information so that hackers breaching a siloed network cannot actually read the data they encounter. Whenever employees decrypt information, it is essential that they follow a precise set of protocol so to guarantee data is secure and that representatives do not leave it susceptible to hackers after they undo the security checks that had been put in place.