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‘Tis the season for PCI Compliance

One doesn’t often think of security audits while prepping for the Christmas season, with most happening months in advance when we IT pros have time to spare to focus on meeting compliance standards.

For cybercriminals though, the festive period is a prime time to take advantage of the peak shopping period and there is a chance your IT environment could have gone through more changes than the seasonal weather since your last audit. Throughout the year changes could have left your infrastructure potentially vulnerable.

We IT pros need to busy ourselves ensuring security is audit-worthy in the run up to the festive season. This means accounting for not only changes since the last audit, but anticipating the challenges of the Christmas rush.

Security measures as unique as snowflakes

Increased consumer demand from the holiday shopping season leads to greater security risks. We’re all frequently using our credit cards, and it’s this surge in activity that makes it easier for an attacker to slip through undetected. There’s little rhyme or reason to Christmas shopping sprees, with midnight sales and around the clock shopping making detecting abnormal activity harder than usual. It is important to make sure something isn’t a threat, but you also don’t want to prohibit illegitimate traffic.

Improving security before the festive avalanche

The answer to holiday season security threats is preparation. We need to ensure organisations have a more discerning eye at this time of year - more focus as the traffic and sales transactions increase. IT pros can look to automate processes to lessen the festive burden.

IT pros need to ensure they have the right tools for the job. You’ll want to confirm it automates the collection of data and analyses to ensure compliance long after audits have been completed. Aggregating is one thing, but if you aren’t pulling knowledge from the data, you could be missing critical indicators of compromise.

While making sure your security is audit-worthy, make sure your automation tools are too. Ensure any tool can easily demonstrate compliance for when your next audit season rolls around. By having an off-the-shelf tool, you can demonstrate compliance as soon as possible - the less time spent logging, the more you can spend securing.

Searching for anomalies goes beyond credit cards and infrastructure performance monitoring tools that can be used to identify potential threats based on performance anomalies. Network, application, and systems performance management and monitoring tools that highlight potential threats, all help to effectively ensure PCI compliance and security on an ongoing basis, not just during the holidays.

While security audits may not coincide with the festive period, Christmas is when your security measures are tried and tested the most. To avoid potentially destructive security situations during the busiest time of the year, make sure you have the right tools in place to help you automate and ensure ongoing compliance, leaving you to enjoy the holiday festivities with family.

Kent Row, IT admin and superhero, SolarWinds

Image source: Shutterstock/donskarpo