Archive for the 'PCI Compliance' Category

PCI DSS 3.0: An Overview of Core Changes

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard 3.0 (PCI DSS) changes became effective on Jan. 1, and many businesses will be working to ensure they are meeting new and updated requirements throughout 2014.

Last month, Layered Tech become one of the first managed hosting service providers to become certified under PCI DSS 3.0 standards. Since we handle the majority of IT controls for many of our clients, it was an easy decision for us to seek certification as early as possible to help them address potential gaps in security and reporting requirements between now and the end of the year.  In 2015, all hosting providers must be in full compliance with the new PCI 3.0 standards.

The PCI DSS Lifecycle

PCI DSS (and its counterpart PA DSS) rules live on a three-year lifecycle, and PCI 3.0 began its life when announced in October 2013. Since the new standards became available in January, most cloud solutions providers (CSPs) will spend 2014 implementing the changes pushed by PCI 3.0.

Old PCI 2.0 rules are grandfathered in for 14 months (through Dec. 2014), but merchants and vendors alike will be working diligently to complete their transitions as soon as possible. Here are some of the most noteworthy changes under the new requirements that you should be aware of:

Requirements in PCI DSS 3.0 Go Beyond Compliance

The major changes in PCI 3.0 focus on raising user awareness of potential security and compliance concerns, beefing up security standards, and making user-controls more flexible. At its core, PCI focuses on securing cardholder data, so the new standards put a lot of emphasis on securing internal infrastructure, managing third-party access and authenticating systems with access to data.

  • Establish a culture of security through education. One of the largest themes of PCI DSS 3.0 is to maintain and drive accountability at every level of client organization by educating employees on security.
  • More rigorous requirements for penetration testing.  Earlier standards required some testing, but 3.0 requires more strenuous testing on both application-layer and network-layer levels, and QSAs will have to put more emphasis on penetration testing. Tests must cover the entire cardholder data environment and use an accepted testing model, like NIST. Unlike most of the PCI DSS 3.0 changes, however, organizations have until July 15, 2015 to fully comply with rules regarding penetration testing. Despite the longer deadline, we expect that penetration testing methodologies will come under increased scrutiny in years to come, so having a rigid testing method in place will be crucial.
  • Organizations must have written security agreements with service providers to define security obligations. PCI 3.0 requires that any business, third-party vendor or organization that accepts card payments is fully aware of their responsibilities in data security. The new standards provide an extra level of guidance to both CSPs and merchants to ensure that responsibility is shared, not outsourced.
  • Enhanced service provider scrutiny. CSPs must now use unique credentials for each of their clients (spurred by a data breach caused by a vendor using a single password across each environment), and must give customers documentation confirming their responsibility for data in their possession and maintaining compliance in the data environment.
  • Merchants and vendors must maintain a complete inventory of the cardholder data environment (CDE). This includes documenting each component of the environment, along with its function and purpose.

It shouldn’t be a big surprise that so many of the changes encourage CSPs and third-party vendors to share responsibility for maintaining security. So as more businesses seek help with their IT operations, third-party providers will have a  more prominent role in guaranteeing compliance. At Layered Tech, we manage all the IT controls through internal staff, without third-party support, helping clients limit scope, risk and costs.

The Value of Early Adoption

Since all organizations – vendors, assessors and CSPs alike — must adhere to the new standard by the end of 2014, Layered Tech felt it was important to achieve early certification. As our clients begin to recertify for their own business, we can now safely manage their controls and leave no gaps between their compliance efforts and our own. Layered Tech has always been on the leading edge of PCI DSS certification, and we continue to support the needs of our clients by staying ahead of the curve.

About the Author: Dennis Pickard holds CIA & CISA certifications and is the IT Audit Lead in the Compliance and Security Group of Layered Tech. He has more than 20 years of experience in compliance and technology audits, primarily in the Financial Services industry. Throughout his professional career, he has directed and performed numerous HIPAA security and privacy analysis activities.

 

How to Ensure a Smooth Data Center Migration

We know that the word “migration” is enough to make most IT professionals lose sleep, and for good reason. Moving production data and applications to a new data center can be an undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Properly managing a data  and application migration begins with a plan and understanding the needs of your business.

There are two types of data migrations: forced migrations and planned migrations. Obviously, a planned data migration offers more opportunity to strategize your move around hardware lifecycles, development timelines and the needs of your business. Forced, emergency migrations are certainly not as easy, but they can be managed easily if you and your IT staff and resources take the proper steps beforehand to ensure a smooth transition. Here are a few tips to truly prepare for data migration.

Continue reading ‘How to Ensure a Smooth Data Center Migration’

PCI Compliance Management: What To Expect



Many hosting providers offer a PCI- or a HIPAA-compliant solution that meets industry standards for high security and includes various tools to enable compliance. But at Layered Tech, we’ve taken this up several notches by offering complete compliance management through our Layer 4 Compliant Services.

With Managed Compliance, we take care of the majority of the work needed to pass a PCI audit. In fact, our clients are able to offload up to 80% of the 220 PCI controls, when they engage our Guaranteed Compliant offering.  This work includes taking on roles and responsibilities like centralized logging, change control, managing code rolls, full documentation, and audit support.

Continue reading ‘PCI Compliance Management: What To Expect’

Why Education and Certification Matters for Tech Service Providers

It seems obvious that better trained employees will have a positive impact in any business. Yet, a recent survey by Accenture found that 35% of executives say they have not invested enough in training to develop the skills they need, and 64% anticipate loss of revenue due to this skill gap

Continue reading ‘Why Education and Certification Matters for Tech Service Providers’

Startups That Fly – Layered Tech’s Role

As Director of Compliance and Security services at Layered Tech since 2008, I have seen our Compliant Services business grow significantly during that time. With that growth, there has been a noticeable phenomenon related to our startup clients who have reached an attractiveness level high enough to become acquisition targets.

We are in a unique position to see this happen from start to finish. It is a behind-the-scenes supporting role where our economy of scale and simplified audit-service goals lend upward momentum. I have seen this happen several times, including with Layered Tech itself. It is a topic that deserves some background, so let me lay out an example of what I mean.

Continue reading ‘Startups That Fly – Layered Tech’s Role’

Q4 Update From Layered Tech CEO Jack Finlayson

I’m excited to update you on the progress and status of Layered Technologies (LT) Inc. as we begin the fourth quarter of 2013.

Continue reading ‘Q4 Update From Layered Tech CEO Jack Finlayson’

Preparing for New Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards

The PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is in a release cycle this year, meaning version 3.0 will be released shortly. At this year’s recent Community Meeting of the PCI Security Standards Council, much discussion centered on the new version of the standard, which is why both me and our Chief Risk Officer, Jeff Reich, attended.

Continue reading ‘Preparing for New Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards’

What You Need To Know About Application Performance Management

I have seen a shift in responsibility for overseeing and managing applications. Application monitoring and management is increasingly moving from application architects and developers and into IT operations. Our clients’ IT management folks are expected to be responsible for ensuring application health and performance and therefore are increasingly relying upon Layered Tech to provide management information and dashboard.

Continue reading ‘What You Need To Know About Application Performance Management’

Is It Safe?

Some of you might remember the movie Marathon Man starring Dustin Hoffman as Babe.  In it, he is repeatedly questioned by the former Nazi SS dentist, Dr. Christian Szell and asked, “Is it safe?”

Christian Szell: Is it safe? Is it safe?

Babe: You’re talking to me?

Continue reading ‘Is It Safe?’

Should You Care About Application Performance Management?

Every customer running revenue-critical business applications should consider adding application performance monitoring and management.  For this reason, we have taken our experience deploying application performance monitoring tools for our customers and released a standard managed solution.  Our new Application Performance Management (APM) service, powered by AppDynamics, offers a “managed with” model in which we integrate APM with our customers’ managed hosting and cloud service. We handle the deployment, configuration, monitoring and assist clients with utilizing the APM solution.

Continue reading ‘Should You Care About Application Performance Management?’