Many organizations have been preparing for January 1st, 2015, when version 3.0 of Payment Card Industry’s data security standard (PCI DSS) will come into effect.
PCI guidelines are very important for small and medium businesses and organizations that process credit and debit cards (whether directly or indirectly).
However, meeting the data security standard doesn't necessarily mean an organization meets and maintains compliance. Businesses should stay on top by preventing intrusions with the following PCI best practices:
1. Maintain compliance for security: Businesses want to look good, which means that they often forget the purpose of meeting PCI DSS compliance is to maintain security of card-holder information and not just to achieve a favourable Report on Compliance (ROC).
2. Have a compliance manager: A designated person or team should have the resources and authority to manage security within a business. This might mean engaging with certain personnel and continuous collection of evidence that shows compliance and effectiveness of PCI DSS.
3. Make security a part of the company's culture: Fulfilling PCI DSS compliance is often not enough to secure all risks. Make a habit of protecting an organization's data and infrastructure and implement risk assessment processes, especially during big changes to the IT environment.
4. Monitor security controls and measure success: Have a consistent and continuous documentation of the status of security controls, including the implementation and effectiveness of it. Automated control monitoring tools may be helpful and aim to develop metrics used analyze success and effectiveness of your security. Measure implementation (how many systems have password security), effectiveness (how many vulnerabilities have been patched) and impact (how much return is there for your security efforts).
5. Be prepared: Organizations need to be able to respond immediately following security control failures. Have steps set up to restore operations to normal as soon as possible, and then identify the cause of the failure. Then follow up with better security and higher monitoring frequency. When business objectives change or if a key IT security personnel leaves your organization, have change-management practices prepared and analyze associated risk.
6. Commit to security: Maintaining compliance is critical for organizations, but it also means businesses and their executives need to co-ordinate efforts in sustaining that compliance. Allocate enough resources to be successful in building an ongoing PCI DSS program.
Graphic from NAC
Startup Week is back in Vancouver, with featured events including Devlops Day, Insights on Innovation, Techvibes Tech Fest Jobfair, Fireside Chat with Dan Martell (founder of Clarity), Vancouver Impact, and much more. (View the full schedule here.)
We’re excited to be attending these events that feature workshops to help startups and tech businesses. Canadian Web Hosting is a big supporter of new businesses and host for many small to big ones, many of which have been with us from the beginning of their ventures.
With Canadian Web Hosting, startups can rely on experts for guidance and tech support so that you can focus on building your new product and growing business.
Have you been working on your SEO and hoping to get your website to the top of the search engine?
Google is pushing for HTTPS
On August 6th, 2014, Google tested out using HTTPS as a Ranking Signal. They reported that their test showed positive results when they used encrypted connections as a signal in their ranking algorithm. HTTPS has since become a permanent search ranking signal on Google.
Google stated that the HTTPS is a very lightweight signal that only affects less than 1% of global queries and there has been no reports of ranking changes. So if two sites were the exact same, then the page using HTTPS may rank above the unsecured page. The boost will only be URL specific and not site-wide.
Watch Google’s video on why HTTPS matters: http://bit.ly/1tmM5z5
High quality content on a webpage will still outweigh the HTTPS signal but it looks like Google is pushing for the switch and hinting that the HTTPS signal will become a bigger part of their ranking algorithm in the future.
Even if you are a non-commercial website, it may be wise to switch to a secure server anyway. For one thing, a secure server guarantees that your content cannot be altered, e.g. have unexpected ads added. It also allows your website to look more authentic, an important factor if the content on your website is intended to provide advice, e.g. financial or medical information.
Google may be pushing for HTTPS so that it helps identify site ownership and therefore eliminate spam. It could also be potentially harder for NSA to track the content users are consuming if we browse HTTPS sites.
No, migration to HTTPS doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s relatively easy to purchase the Security Certificate from your web hosting company. But sometimes you may experience a 301 error code, which means the redirect from your HTTP domain to your HTTPS is corrupted. This happens when there is a potential for duplicated content and several other technical issues during transition.
To avoid potential problems during migration, site owners should avoid redirect chains, similar to this one:
- I click on your website at http://iloveyoyos.com
- You redirect me to http://www.iloveyoyos.com
- Then you redirect me to https://www.iloveyoyos.com
If you’re building a new site, changing domain names or making a change to your URL structure (e.g. platform changes) then you won’t be experiencing the redirect issues.
It is estimated that we have two years to move to HTTPS before a non-secured website becomes a critical SEO problem. So you can take your time, but we are starting to see warnings generated on websites that tell visitors they are connecting onto a non-secured website:
So for a low annual sum, it may really be worth it to make the move now and avoid these privacy warnings that kill site traffic.
The different kinds of security certificates
These are the different types of secured/non-secured URLs you will come across:
On Google Chrome:
So which one should we choose for our website?
Google won’t factor in the different kinds of certificates into site rankings at this time, but they do affect user trust and conversion rates, so it is good to understand how to choose from the variety of security certificates available.
- Shared Certificates are commonly offered by web hosts. You use their certificate but the security certificate isn’t connected to your domain name. www.iloveyoyos.com will contain your non-secure content while your shopping cart will go on www.iloveyoyos.cartprovider.com. This is less costly but takes away from your brand name and user confidence.
- Free Certificates are sometimes used for personal websites or forums. Companies may offer these free security certificates for specific reasons, e.g. if you are part of qualified Open Source project. These certificates will not be valid for businesses but may be applicable for non-profit projects.
- Domain Validated (DV) Certificates are the most common SSL certificates. It is often used by small businesses and covers a single subdomain, e.g. www.iloveyoyos.com but not iloveyoyos.com. Users to this website will see a security icon by the domain.
- An Organization Validated (OV) Certificate requires both the organization and the domain registry to verify information. The OV certificate will check to make sure the business is legitimate and is therefore more expensive to get than the DV certificate. Users can only tell the difference between the two if they click the padlock icon.
- The Extended Validation (EV) Certificate is the most expensive and hard to get SSL certificate. It requires a business to include domain ownership and organization information, as well as show legal existence in their organization. The EV Certificate takes more time to process and are more expensive. Users of EV certified websites will see a green bar on their browser and likely be more confident in their shopping experience.
Hopefully by now you have learned more about security on websites and how to improve your business online.
Founder and General Manager of KATS Sy Silverberg, is a retired physician. At age 72, he and his wife Catarina wanted to give back to their community and so they started their own non-profit society to provide children in poor financial circumstances with an opportunity to play tennis for free.
Board of Tennis BC presents Sy Silverberg with 2014 "Excellence Award"/KATS
Sy wanted to help these children foster physical, emotional, and social well-being. He believed in setting kids up for success so that they can develop a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Physical activity would also provide significant benefits in a society where childhood obesity is climbing at an alarming rate.
Besides free equipment and instruction, KATS employs the Tennis Canada “progressive tennis” approach. KATS uses age-appropriate racquets, courts, and balls because adult-intended equipment can be overwhelming and frustrating for younger people to use. Sy believes that this will help build their confidence, especially for those who are not “natural athletes”.
Through their partnership with local community centres and inter-cultural centres, KATS has instructed 112 kids and conducted 97 hours of lessons in their first spring and summer of operation. Sy plans to work with six lowest-income schools in the near future and anticipate that close to a 1000 kids will sign up with KATS next spring.
For more information on Society for Kids at Tennis, visit them at kidsattennis.ca.
Canadian Web Hosting is a leading managed hosting company that specializes in hosting business and enterprise-class clients. One of only a few SAS70 Type II and CICA 5970 certified service providers in Canada, Canadian Web Hosting delivers a secure and scalable service delivery for a diverse range of companies throughout Canada.