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Auditors Put High Importance on CHD Discovery But Fail to Conduct Regular Reviews

Despite the fact that over 76% of QSAs and ISAs consider card holder data (CHD) discovery to be an important methodology to verify the scope of a PCI Audit, only one third of auditors carry out regular network discovery audits to identify un-secured CHD and ensure that correct processes are in place to achieve compliance. This is according to the results of a recent survey carried out by critical data auditing specialists PixAlert in advance of the 2014 Autumn PCI DSS community events in Orlando and Berlin.

Questionnaires were distributed globally to over 1200 QSA’s, ISAs and organizations who are required to comply with PCI for the storage, processing and transmission of CHD. The survey found that while the majority of auditors regularly use CHD discovery to prove that CHD does not exist outside of the defined card holder data environment (CDE), 44% ‘rarely or never used’ the process. Providing ‘verification and evidential proof that no CHD exists out of scope’ is a prerequisite of the PCI standard and could be a contributing factor to high assessment failure rates as reported in the 2014 Verizon PCI Compliance Report.

Survey respondents who answered that they did not use CHD Discovery as part of their PCI audit, submitted that the following processes (most common responses) were used to review their CDE:
• Random sampling from servers outside of CDE
• Monitoring changes to existing applications
• Custom Toolset
• Review server administrators, application developers and database auditing

Commenting on the report findings, Gerard Curtin, CEO of PixAlert stated ‘the survey results provide a realistic insight into the ‘preferred practice’ of PCI auditors. Interviewing and manual review are a vital part of the audit procedure but it needs to be aligned to an automated process which allows auditors to document, validate and reduce the scope of their compliance projects as well as provide an effective security benchmark for managing CHD risk continuously’. With increased penalties and reduced tolerance levels for CHD breach, it’s essential that proper controls and monitoring structures exist’ stated Mr. Curtin.

The process of CHD discovery helps to create a more manageable and verifiable process for auditors to understand the scope of their CDE and demonstrate an easier and less costly route to PCI certification. For further press information on PixAlert’s research, contact Niamh Hayes, Marketing Advisor, PixAlert, +353 1 8994750 or contact PixAlert on [email protected]

References: Verizon 2014 PCI Compliance Report

About Card Auditor

About PCI DSS: The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is the global data security requirement that businesses must adhere to in order to accept card payment when storing, processing and/or transmitting CHD.

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