According to the Verizon 2014 PCI Compliance Report, which was released today, more than 82 percent of organizations were compliant with at least 80 percent of the PCI standard at the time of their annual baseline assessments in 2013, compared to just 32 percent in 2012.
The study, which aggregates data from actual PCI assessments done by Verizon during the course of the year, offers a look at the actual experiences of businesses that must comply with PCI DSS, which is the mandated set of guidelines for any organization that handles credit card transactions.
While assessment-time compliance is up, many organizations tend to fall out of compliance between audits, the study says.
"We continue to see many organizations viewing PCI compliance as a single annual event, unaware that compliance needs to have a 365-day-a-year focus," stated Rodolphe Simonetti, managing director for the PCI practice at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.
Areas where businesses struggle the most in achieving initial compliance include security testing (23.8 percent); security monitoring and the ability to effectively detect and respond to data compromised (17 percent); and protecting stored sensitive data (55.6 percent), the report says.
The compliance problem is not an issue of technology or flaws in the standards, but in the ongoing implementation, Verizon states.
"Anything less than 100 percent compliance is an issue for businesses today," Simonetti said . "We have seen time and time again that noncompliance leaves an organization open to credit card theft, which can potentially cost hundreds of millions of dollars when you factor in all the damages -- not to mention lost consumer trust and the impact on brand reputation. Organizations need to rethink how they factor in maintaining a PCI-compliant environment, whether it's devoting more resources or working with a managed security services provider."
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