The Green Sheet Online Edition
June 27, 2011 • Issue 11:06:02
Network security for small merchants
Statistics reveal that 85 percent of data compromises occur at Level 4 merchant locations. To provide relief to this sphere, the SecurityMetrics Vision plug-in network threat sensor links merchant networks directly to a secure online portal where it performs internal vulnerability scanning, log analysis and wireless detection to fulfill key Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard requirements.
The product targets merchants who are using Self-Assessment Questionnaire C or D, and who perform scans. "They're generally the more sophisticated merchants," said Brad Caldwell, Chief Executive Officer at SecurityMetrics Inc. "It's really people who have their own systems, their own networks, their own machines that they're already scanning."
Caldwell said merchants lack the time and expertise necessary to manage network security. "This new product provides a simple, low-cost, one-box solution to help smaller merchants keep their businesses safe against hackers and simplify one of the most difficult security challenges: network monitoring," he said. "They just schedule a scan and it runs. They can select all the machines on their internal network and scan them all."
Real-time security benefits
Caldwell said when merchants install the system it "actually creates an encrypted, secure tunnel between Vision in their network and our data center - the SecurityMetrics Data Center. Our scanners can see their internal networks like it's ours. So now we have the ability to scan their data thoroughly, like we do a normal external scan, the exact same scan, but on machines that are inside their network that you normally couldn't access through their firewall."
Jon Clark, Product Marketing Manager for SecurityMetrics, added that when a security issue is detected, the alerting system notifies merchants both by email and through the product's interface. Merchants receive preconfigured email alerts based on predetermined security threats. The opening screen on the system's control panel provides a list of alerts.
Built-in security features function as follows:
- Internal vulnerability scanning searches merchant networks for internal security weaknesses. The scan engine is updated daily and provides detailed results after scans are completed.
- Log alerts transmit account data and email/text notification when suspicious system activity has been detected.
- Log storage collects system logs, ensuring merchants have the required log records in the event of a data breach.
- Wireless detection identifies all wireless access points within the network and reports potential rogue devices that could pose a security risk to the network.
In describing Vision's wireless detection, SecurityMetrics Product Manager Bill Davis said, "It detects wireless access points in the area. The customer defines which are theirs and which are not, and then they get alerted as to new wireless access points that are visible.
"They're able to detect new modes on the network, so if somebody brought in a laptop from home that wasn't one that they had seen before, it would detect that or a rogue box."
SecurityMetrics offers several pricing models to ISOs. "This product needs to be part of their entire PCI solution," Caldwell said. "We know that ISOs and acquirers have real PCI costs and they need to cover those costs, so we give them the same type of revenue share that we do with our other programs just to make sure the ISO is incented and wants to offer this."
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