Addressing Data Security for Companies That Can't Always Keep Up

Article excerpt

Byline: David Heun

When something is amiss at a location relying on tight security, officials often immediately implement a lockdown. Imagine the same scenario on a merchant's payments system, and one can start to understand how PaySecure software works.

PaySecure addresses card data security in a retail market where payments network technology has expanded much faster than most merchants can grasp, says Alan Stephenson-Brown, director of U.K. operations at Phoenix Managed Networks of Reston, Va.

"As technology expanded, many merchants went from a dial-in network to broadband, and there are [Payment Card Industry] data security issues that come with that, whether the payment system is personal computer-based or through Wi-Fi," Stephenson-Brown says.

Phoenix often finds merchants unaware that payments data moves through or is stored on "low-security networks" at their businesses, Stephenson-Brown says.

"Banks and processors have to educate merchants, as things move quickly from stand-alone systems to broadband, and we believe that makes it a good time to integrate security software," he says.

Phoenix, a payments network services provider, and Mako Networks Ltd., a provider of cloud-based network management systems, on Feb. 29 announced an agreement to provide PaySecure to acquirers and processors.

Constant updates to PCI standards along with technology developments can cause retail merchants to fall behind in payments network security, says Scott Strumello of Auriemma Consulting Group.

"It hasn't reached an overall dangerous level in terms of retailers not being aware, because the retail landscape is so diverse, and some businesses are on top of security technology and others are not," Strumello says.

"PaySecure fills a real need for those who have a hard time staying ahead on security technology," Strumello says. "If I were running Joe's Deli, I may find it very challenging to understand data security technology, and Phoenix and Mako are providing what almost amounts to a plug-and-play service that is really helpful."

PaySecure simplifies the important elements of PCI compliance by using a preconfigured template for merchants to follow and monitor for enforcement and firewall and security protocols that can sense intruders, says Chris Nation, Mako's commercial manager for Europe.

Besides protecting data by ensuring encryption from the payments terminal until the information leaves the network for authorization, PaySecure automatically locks down the system firewall/router if an unauthorized person attempts to enter or change system parameters, Nation says. …