Cisco Updates Wireless Networking to Support PCI Standards
Think about how many times you swipe your credit card or debit card in the course of a day. Now think about how many of those transactions ran over a wireless network – all those ones and zeros floating around for wardrivers and hackers to grab. Wouldn’t it be great if your credit card transactions were as secure over wireless networks as they are over wired connections?
Cisco thinks so, and has upgraded its wireless network solutions to address the data security standard requirements of the credit card industry, commonly known as PCI. The company’s Adaptive Wireless IPS now comes with Enhanced Local Mode (ELM), a new technology that lowers the cost of securing the wireless network by integrating the wireless monitoring into data-serving access points without reducing performance or compromising security, according to the company.
“With ELM, historically companies would deploy a data-serving access point and overlay a monitor mode access point, either by Cisco or by third-party providers,” said Chris Kozup, director of mobility marketing at Cisco. “This updated version of ELM allows the access point to provide full capability for the Adaptive Wireless IPS in the same platform that’s serving data. So rather than having an AP in monitor mode or an overlay deployment, a company can reduce their expenditures while keeping their security the same.”
In other words, companies can reduce the amount of hardware they need to keep their wireless networks secure and meet PCI compliance requirements.
For companies that conduct credit card transactions wirelessly, having that extra level of security built into the data-serving access point can reduce the cost of a secure wireless network by as much as 50 percent, according to Cisco. And for companies with ELM currently installed, there is no excuse not to have the new technology; it’s available as a free software upgrade for existing Cisco 11n access points.
The company also upgraded its Wireless Control System management and monitoring software to include support for PCI compliance. The latest version includes a PCI summary report (in addition to previously available compliance report); the ability to filter and focus on individual locations or devices; and internal security reports and audits to allow organizations to stay updated with external compliance requirements.
Smaller retailers in particular – which historically have not had the technology nor the expertise to stay on top of PCI requirements over wireless networks – can benefit from ELM, offering a real area of opportunity for the channel community, Kozup said.
“Security continues to be one of those areas where partners can show their customers a lot of value – moving beyond being the box suppliers to being the strategic partner in giving advice and guidance around appropriate security techniques,” he said. “Our partners continually look for ways to increase their revenue opportunity with their customers, and we have seen much interest in these types of solutions because they can be automated. Often we see partners who want to be able to go to their customers’ premises and provide a service where they review their current security and offer advice on making changes.
“The Tier One retailers have been looking at PCI for many years now,” he continued. “They have the internal expertise. On the other hand, small to midsize retailers have to be PCI compliant but they generally don’t have the expertise. Solutions like these that make it simple, and VARs that can help them implement these best practices offer a real value.”