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The Best File Sharing Solutions for the Payment Card Industry
Martin Horan

By: Martin Horan on October 18th, 2017

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The Best File Sharing Solutions for the Payment Card Industry


If you work in the finance industry, you know how crucial it is that you keep your clients’ card payment information safe. Not only could your company face the risks of lost business and a damaged reputation, but you could also be subject to fines for failing to meet Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance regulations.

Finding a file sharing solution designed to facilitate PCI DSS compliance is essential for mitigating these risks and keeping your customers’ information safe when you’re transferring files. However, not all file sharing solutions are created equal. You need to look for specific features that help you protect your most sensitive data.

Explore this article to discover the five features you should look for in the best file sharing payment card industry solution.

Learn more about maintaining compliance by downloading this PCI DSS readiness statement now.

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Granular Access Controls

Sometimes, the greatest threats exist within your own company. Whether it’s malicious individuals looking for ways to profit from valuable information or just well-meaning employees who are careless with sensitive data, your employees could pose a threat to security that can only be mitigated with granular access controls.

Many file sharing solutions only enable limited controls. However, if you’re searching for the best file sharing payment card industry option, you need to look for a solution that allows you to regulate file access down to the specific user account. When you can deny user access to sensitive files, you can better protect your clients’ data.

Make sure to select an FTP solution that offers the following access control components:

  • User Authentication - Determining the requirements for a password, an SSH-key, or both forms of authentication ensures the user accessing your file sharing solution is actually who they claim to be.
  • Workspace Access - Control over workspaces guarantees that users are only able to view the directories that they have been assigned.
  • Workspace Permissions - Take your file protection a step further by controlling upload, download, delete, and list permissions.
  • User IP/Protocol Enforcement - Deny access to users accessing your FTP solution from any location or using any protocol.

Top FTP providers like FTP Today, ExaVault, and SmartFile offer these granular level access controls, but you may require more than that to remain PCI DSS compliant.

At-Rest Data Encryption

Secure file sharing solutions protect data while it’s in transit, but data at rest can be vulnerable, too. Choosing the best file sharing payment card industry solution means finding an option with at-rest data encryption capabilities to ensure that your stored files are thoroughly protected.

So, why does data need protecting at rest? Not only does at-rest encryption align with many compliance standards, it also is the frontline defense against hackers seeking to access payment card data. If you’re looking for at-rest data encryption, look to FTP Today, SmartFile or Brick FTP.

Unbeatable Encryption Strength

In addition to the necessity of at-rest encryption capabilities, the file sharing solution you choose for your payment card data needs compliance-grade encryption strength for transmissions.

The TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol and 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standards) cipher suite are the strongest combination of protecting data in transmission. It’s basically impervious to hackers due to a 256-bit key used to encrypt transmission packets. TLS 1.2 provides the best data security for transmitting data.

Also, look for a file transfer solution that’s FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) 140-2 certified. FIPS 140-2 is a government standard established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology with guidelines on protecting data during transmissions. If you want government-grade file transmission security, choose an FTP solution that’s not only based on a FIPS 140-2 certified library, but make sure the provider’s application can enforce FIPS cipher strength on the end-user’s browser or FTP client.

There is no better way to protect your payment card data or to stay PCI DSS compliant than to choose a solution that offers AES-256 (or higher) encryption strength. And, FTP Today is the only company that offers a custom cipher strength, such as FIPS enforcement, making it superior to any other file sharing option.

Secure Authentication

As discussed briefly in relation to granular access controls, the best file sharing payment card industry solutions require secure authentication to verify that the correct, authentic users are accessing data.

Think about how you log into accounts in your personal life. Whether it’s a social media account or your personal email, you typically input a username/email address and then a password. This is single-step authentication. All you need is a password and you have access to the account.

However, in the financial industry, you may need a multi-layer authentication process to vet those who are trying to access your file sharing solution. This means your users would need a password and also a second form of authentication, like a unique code or a verified IP address.

An SSH-key is another single-factor authentication method that can be used as an alternative to a password. Since they are longer and more complex than most passwords, and since it requires both a public key and a private key (held only on the end-user’s machine) to crack, SSH-keys are far more secure than passwords. When you use an SSH-key for authentication, a pair of keys is created – one public, one private. The public key is submitted by the user to the server and the private key remains secret. The private key and the public key must match to successfully log onto the server.

Administrators can also restrict and permit successful logins based on the end-user’s IP address -- a second authentication method in addition to the correct password or SSH-key. This aspect of multi-layer authentication has become increasingly important as more and more companies enable employees to work remotely.

If you want to leverage the security benefits of multi-factor authentication, FTP Today and BrickFTP are your only true options.

Compliance Certifications

Finally, you need to take compliance into consideration. When you fail to comply with government data security regulations, you could face the risks of damaged reputation, exorbitant fines, lost business, and in the most extreme cases, prison time. That makes selecting the best file sharing payment card industry solution an urgent need.

Compliance certifications such as ISO 27001, SOC2, and more, are essential features in a secure file sharing solution. By choosing a solution with built-in, best practice compliance measures, you’re safeguarding your business from potential risks. These solutions, designed by file sharing experts, are built with compliance, as it relates to file sharing, in mind. That means you’re reaping the benefits of expert file sharing knowledge, without having to do the research and learning yourself.

To find a file sharing solution that features these compliance certifications, consider FTP Today or ShareFile. FTP Today has not only gained these compliance certifications, it’s cloud infrastructure has gained Visa certification, as well.

When you compare the best file sharing payment card industry solutions available to your company, you’ll find that FTP Today offers all the data security you need at an affordable price point. Maintain PCI DSS compliance and provide your clients’ data with the ultimate layer of protection by choosing FTP Today.

Learn more about maintaining compliance by downloading this PCI DSS readiness statement now.

Get My Copy Now

About Martin Horan

Founder of FTP Today and an expert in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.

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