How DLP Helps with PCI DSS Compliance

First and foremost, it should be emphasized that there is no requirement to employ DLP in the PCI DSS standard. However, using the DLP tool can help organizations discover, monitor, and control their data stored within the organization and prevent internal threats.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) helps administrators monitor how data is used and transferred, bringing them one step closer to compliance. That’s why Data Loss Prevention is an essential tool for PCI DSS compliance.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) helps organizations meet PCI DSS requirements and protect data against internal threats by identifying, prioritizing, and controlling cardholder information.

See Also: Email Security Best Practices

DLP is the software that serves to prevent data loss in the most concise definition. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software; is used to avoid unauthorized use of data, to monitor and protect data during data transmission.

Data can be in many different categories, but all these data can be tracked and protected thanks to DLP. In addition to these, DLP software; monitors network traffic, ensures that the computer is used within the framework of specific rules, and provides control of emails. It is possible to prevent data leakage in this manner.

See Also: PCI DSS Data Classification Requirements

With the help of DLP software, some rules can be defined, and necessary controls can be provided. Some rules that can be applied on DLP are as follows:

  • The use of USB and CD-DVD Roms can be restricted to prevent data leakage.
  • Emails containing critical information can be tracked or wholly blocked.
  • File accesses can be restricted.
  • Copy-paste and screenshot-taking functions can be blocked to prevent users from extracting data from within the application.
  • FTP restriction can be applied to prevent file upload.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software ensures the security of both systems and end-users thanks to the features it provides. Therefore; It is an essential part of systems and PCI DSS compliance.

What is Data Loss Prevention (DLP)?

Data Loss Prevention, also called DLP, is a technology that helps mitigate risks against unauthorized use or control over sensitive data. An information security strategy ensures that internal network users do not intentionally or unintentionally access or send sensitive data outside the organization or even to unauthorized users within the same organization.

Tools with monitoring, filtering, blocking, and remediation address the risk of unintentional or accidental leaks of sensitive data and work to prevent such situations.

Data Loss Prevention, DLP, refers to the technology used to mitigate risks from losing control over sensitive data. However, not all DLP offerings on the market are created equal.

Due to its unique advantages and powerful capabilities, DLP will stand for “Content-Aware DLP,” often referred to as “Enterprise DLP.” Content-aware data loss prevention (DLP) tools enable dynamic policy enforcement based on content and context during a transaction.

Content-Aware Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools are used to address the risk of unintentional or accidental leakage or disclosure of sensitive corporate information outside of authorized channels using monitoring, filtering, blocking, and remediation.

Features Common to DLP solutions that can be useful to you in PCI Compliance

PCI DSS Compliance is required for financial institutions, banks, and any organization that works with payment gateways. Data Loss Prevention tools can help meet PCI compliance requirements and improve the cybersecurity posture.

See Also: What is Inventory and Asset Management for PCI Compliance?

Most experts today agree that DLP plays a crucial role in preventing unauthorized use of data. Considering that even a single data loss event can result in penalties for cardholders, it is highly recommended to consider a DLP solution to ensure PCI compliance and secure the PCI Environment.

  • Monitoring systems – consists of features such as DLP, monitoring systems, and data that provide visibility and system access to data. This prevents unauthorized access to sensitive information.
  • Filtering data – DLP has features to filter data streams that help restrict suspicious or unidentified activity.
  • Reporting – DLP tools provide logging and reports useful for incident response and auditing.
  • System and Data Analysis – DLP identifies vulnerabilities and suspicious behavior in systems and provides forensic reports to the security team.
  • Policy enforcement – DLP tools can help organizations identify gaps in existing policy, making it easier to correct misconfigurations in applications or database access.
  • Meeting compliance standards – DLP tools can identify gaps in existing configurations based on compliance standard requirements and provide the necessary measures.
  • Data visibility – DLP tools help secure sensitive data and reduce the risk of data leaks.
  • DLP tools facilitate data classification and prioritization, which further assists in implementing necessary data security measures.
  • DLP also facilitates data inventory preventing unauthorized data storage and use.
  • DLP technology facilitates controlled access and use of sensitive information.
  • DLP can prevent data leakage to USB drives, unauthorized emails, unauthorized modifications, and unauthorized uploads to Internet websites.

How DLP Helps with PCI DSS Compliance

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions are among the most valuable technologies available for PCI DSS compliance. As its policies apply directly to sensitive data rather than devices or the entire network, it enables cardholder information to be identified, logged, and controlled to meet PCI DSS requirements.

See Also: Card Hunting: Finding Card Data For PCI

Most Data Loss Solutions come with predefined policies for the PCI DSS standard that comes ready, so companies don’t waste time creating policies from scratch. DLP developers have already identified what sensitive data should be protected and have built-in definitions for them.

Companies can establish efficient data security policies that address identified issues rather than taking a broad compliance approach by knowing where data is stored and how it is used.

A vulnerability targeting strategy protects data more effectively and helps companies save money by ensuring that the solutions they choose are necessary.

DLP solutions can help organizations comply with most PCI DSS compliance requirements in the following ways:

  • Protecting Stored Cardholder Data
  • Restricting access to the cardholder based on business need
  • Monitoring and monitoring access to network resources
  • Periodic Safety and System Tests

PCI DSS compliance is required for every business that deals with banks or credit cards. DLP tools can bring organizations one step closer to compliance by helping them discover, monitor, and control where their data is stored, how it is used and transmitted.

Let’s take a closer look at the PCI DSS requirements that DLP tools help.

Protection of stored cardholder data

The third requirement of PCI DSS refers to the need to protect stored cardholder data. Businesses must first understand where data resides on their servers and how it is used to do so.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions enable companies to scan their entire networks, discover where sensitive data is stored, how it is used and transferred, thanks to its content discovery capabilities.

Most DLP solutions scan sensitive data through predefined policies for standards like PCI DSS, meaning companies don’t have to waste time creating policies from scratch.

Companies can establish efficient data security policies that address identified issues rather than taking a broad compliance approach by knowing where data is stored and how it is used.

A vulnerability targeting strategy protects data more effectively and helps companies save money by ensuring that the solutions they choose are necessary.

When Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions come into play, businesses can control the transfer and storage of sensitive data at company endpoints. Its transmission over the Internet through unprotected channels or to unencrypted removable devices can be blocked.

Organizations can define allowlists of allowed targets, such as company-issued encrypted USBs or email addresses.

Encryption of transmission of cardholder data over open, public networks

PCI DSS requirement 4 requires encryption of transmission of cardholder data over open, public networks. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Network tools identify and encrypt any unencrypted data before being sent from outside the organization to a public network. DLP Network tools help identify and encrypt unprotected data before it is shared on a public network.

Also, the tool allows the administrator to monitor credit card information. It enables the transfer of data with predefined policies and prevents its transfer from origin points considered unsafe.

Restricting access to cardholder data by need-to-know

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) content discovery scans can also be used to verify and enforce restricted access to sensitive data, which is the seventh requirement for PCI DSS compliance. These powerful scanning tools can detect sensitive data on the devices of unauthorized persons by searching their working computers and immediately delete or encrypt data on the spot.

DLP accurately identifies all file shares containing unencrypted PCI. Unauthorized access can be fixed by encrypting the data or moving it to an appropriate repository with the proper access controls. This way, organizations can ensure that any authorization policy violations are detected and quickly addressed.

All access to PCI in-scope network resources and cardholder data should be monitored.

Companies must report all security events, servers, and essential system components under PCI DSS requirement 10. While antivirus software can give logs of security events, data loss prevention (DLP) solutions can demonstrate that a firm effectively protects its data from intrusions by providing logs of attempted illegal transfers and how they were addressed.

Companies can also use logging and reports to make better decisions about the technologies they need and don’t need to implement their future data protection plan.

Regular testing of security systems and processes

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools, which are required by PCI DSS Requirement 11, allow businesses to validate the efficacy of their data protection methods by ensuring the security of sensitive data via automated and manual scanning.

Continuous Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Discovery scanning can be used to check security status and keep awareness of PCI data locations on a regular or on-demand basis. The DLP Endpoint will prevent unencrypted card data from being copied to connected devices.

By tracking its movement, organizations can see if employees are training in practice or if best practices have been bypassed in any way. They can also discover whether specific solutions implemented were effective or whether previous vulnerabilities persist.

This can enable companies to understand better which policies work for them and which do not and discover potential blind spots in their data protection strategies.

How to Get the Most Out of DLP tools for PCI Compliance

An essential use of DLP is revealed in PCI Risk Analysis audits. If you perform a fraudulent compliance audit at an early stage, your organization will not only be ready when undergoing an audit. Still, it will force them to ask questions about where to focus on risk mitigation.

More than a Security system, DLP is a valuable management tool once understood and adequately deployed. Its benefits are focused on protecting against regulated information leaks. However, a DLP solution that fits the broader security systems context and general policies for information governance can be applied.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a management tool that will be most effective when applied in iterative stages. Iterative phases mean setting achieved goals and achieving them. Afterward, it is necessary to assimilate what has been learned and move on to the next goal.

Following such a blueprint would make implementing DLP less inconvenient for those affected and those responsible for making it work. It will be easier to measure progress, and it will be easier to change course as needed as things develop.

Before starting the live controls, iteratively examine the overall situation:

1. Identify the Data to Check. Scanning for a simple combination of customer name and card ID is recommended as an initial dataset. While this dataset is simple, it will serve as a good marker for identifying PCI-protected records on a scanned target.

There are many ways to use DLP to discover where PCI-related information is located or transmitted. For example, detecting and intercepting unencrypted PCI data in outgoing communications is applicable in many situations.

2. Identify possible locations where PCI card data could leak. For most organizations, it is recommended to review the following channels:

  • Emails – Consider all outgoing email traffic, including attachments.
  • Web traffic – web traffic, webmail providers, and social media sites should be monitored.
  • Other protocols – In particular, unencrypted communications should not pass the corporate firewall without identifying the information.
  • Data storage – Identify and categorize information about all storage under the organization’s control, including file servers, file shares, SAN, SharePoint servers, user directories, workstations, and laptops to identify assets that require review.
  • USB, DVD – Consider workstations that allow USB mass storage or DVD burning and any device that can be physically disconnected and moved.

3. Scan the data stores for cardholder information. Once assets are identified, identify potentially regulated or sensitive information about that information asset. A DLP solution will help with this; for example, as a first step, identify all files that contain a customer name plus the primary account number PAN.

4. Review all PCI data found. Review the information that comes up in the scans. Is it appropriate to transmit sensitive data to destinations? Especially when it comes to large transfers, is this data encrypted and sent to known partners? Is it okay to have sensitive data on this network share?

5. Apply the controls. Repeat these steps until a satisfactory level of understanding in the form of a map for protected information and appropriate controls is developed and understood by stakeholders and system users.

Most organizations should initially expect to encounter many minor potential breaches, such as discussing a single customer record with a banking institution or attempting to upload files to a third-party system from all customers who have purchased in the last 24 hours.

Surkay Baykara
Surkay Baykarahttps://www.pcidssguide.com
A passionate Senior Information Security Consultant working at Cyberwise. Over the past 15+ years my professional career has included several positions beginning as a developer and IT administrator, working my way up to a senior Technical Performance Consultant before joining Biznet back in 2015. I had several different roles at Cyberwise, including Penetration Tester and PCI DSS QSA. In my job as a QSA, I found my passion and worked closely with the Audit and Compliance team. I've been working inside InfoSec for over 15 years, coming from a highly technical background. I have earned several certifications during my professional career including; CEH, CISA, CISSP, and PCI QSA.

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