IT security issues represent a common challenge among businesses in all industries. In 2020, there were 1001 data breaches in the U.S., according to Statista, resulting in more than 155.8 million individuals experiencing data exposures. With the prevalence of data breaches increasing at a steady rate, the security and privacy of sensitive customer information have become a major concern for businesses. The PCI Security Standards Council (SSC) and other regulatory bodies have established requirements to help enterprises to remain in compliance.
Security compliance requirements are constantly changing and evolving; therefore, it is essential to stay up-to-date on the latest requirements. Here is a look at the latest IT security compliance requirements for 2021.
Secure Business Systems And Networks
Companies should secure and maintain business systems and networks to quickly identify potential IT issues and resolve security concerns. Install a firewall configuration to protect sensitive cardholder information and ensure that it is maintained regularly. A well-built firewall configuration will restrict inbound and outbound traffic from untrusted networks and deny any traffic that is unnecessary to perform the required action.
Never use default passwords supplied by vendors and instead change the passwords to something unique that is difficult for hackers to decipher. A strong password typically has at least 12 characters, is not a dictionary word or a combination of dictionary words, and includes a mix of numbers, capital letters, lower-case letters and symbols. Remember to change default passwords on software, apps and plugins.
Ensure Secure Storage And Encryption Techniques
Cardholder data must be stored safely and in a form that cannot be easily stolen and misused. Cardholder data refers to any processed, printed, stored, or transmitted information in any form via a payment card. All businesses that accept credit or debit cards as payment are responsible for protecting cardholder data and preventing the unauthorized use of cardholder information.
To help keep cardholder information safe, businesses must store cardholder information securely that unauthorized individuals cannot access. When dealing with open, public networks, cardholder data must also be encrypted before being transmitted to prevent stolen client data if interference occurs during transmission.
Develop A Vulnerability Management Program
Vulnerability management refers to the process of continually and systematically identifying potential weaknesses in a business’s payment card infrastructure system. Security gaps can often be found in the system design, security procedures, internal controls, implementation or other areas that can be exploited by cybercriminals.
To comply with this important requirement, businesses must secure their systems to protect against cyber threats like malware attacks. Programs and antivirus software should also be updated regularly. Creating and maintaining secure applications and systems is critical to protect sensitive customer information.
Limit Access To Sensitive Data And System Components
Businesses are responsible for storing a wealth of sensitive information, such as customer addresses, credit card details and other private data. To keep this information out of the wrong hands, businesses must execute effective control access measures. Access to cardholder data should be limited only to businesses, partners, vendors and other entities that need access to this information.
Access to certain system components should also be limited and businesses should require identification and authentication before allowing anyone to access these components. One way to achieve this compliance requirement is to assign each authorized user a unique username that they can use to log in to a secure portal. It is important to remember that any physical access to systems or data puts the cardholder data at risk and should be restricted whenever possible.
Continually Test And Monitor Networks And Record Findings
The testing of all security controls is essential in any business environment, but especially businesses that are in the process of changing system configurations or deploying new software. These updates can lead to new vulnerabilities that may only be discovered through detailed testing of networks. Continue to test security systems and processes to ensure that security is continually maintained.
Businesses can use logging mechanisms like system activity logs to easily track and monitor access to cardholder data and other network resources. The ability to see who is accessing this information and when can be invaluable in preventing exploitation. If sensitive data is compromised, having concise records also makes it easier to determine the source of the threat.
Speak With An Experienced Cybersecurity Firm Today
Companies of all sizes and in all industries depend on the strength of their cybersecurity infrastructure to protect against outside attacks and to safeguard sensitive information from potential exposure. Following an IT security compliance checklist can help businesses better understand where their current infrastructure stands and what changes need to be made to meet compliance requirements and prevent financial and reputational damage. To learn more about IT security compliance in 2021 or to speak with a reputable IT security professional, contact SeaGlass Technology today.