Merchant Link SecurityCents

A blog that comments on the latest developments in the world of payments, payment data security and technology, PCI compliance, and more.

By Michael Ryan

This week, our team is down in Arizona for the North American PCI Community Meeting.  Each year we look forward to this event as it offers us a chance to network with Qualified Security Assessors (QSAs) and fellow Special Interest Group (SIG) members as well as others in the community and discuss the issues that are facing merchants both big and small.

In fact, the discussions are quite helpful as this is really the time for the PCI Council to outline programs, resources and goals for the coming year.  One of the most interesting aspects is to learn what the Council will provide guidance on next.

Merchant Link has been a part of the SIGs for both tokenization and point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and continues to offer our expertise in an effort to provide guidance to merchants.

We were excited to see that right before the meeting this year, the Council announced guidelines for P2PE focused on hardware-based implementations.  The 96-page document provides guidance on securing systems and devices, implementing monitoring and response processes, developing and maintaining secure applications, protecting sensitive data, and using secure cryptographic key management methodologies.  Interestingly enough, the Council has said that even with these guidelines, merchants should only use applications that have been validated to be PCI compliant.  This list is targeted to post on their website in spring 2012.

Perhaps, this delay, along with the delays for the tokenization guidelines and virtualization guidelines is why the Council is taking a new approach to SIGs.  For 2012, the SIGs will be manned by a Council member to ensure that the group stays on task and will only have a term of 12 months.

Over the last couple months, many proposals were made for what guidance should come next.  The proposals were short-listed and voting will take place on the PCI portal.  I’m looking forward to seeing what’s on the agenda for next year.

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