Townsend Security Data Privacy Blog

Gambling with Data: Gaming Industry Must Protect Credit Cards

Posted by Liz Townsend on Aug 14, 2013 11:11:00 AM

More than any other industry, it is surprising that the gaming industry struggles with protecting customer credit card information. For businesses that deal in money, you’d think that protecting this asset would be their number one concern. However, just like every other industry, some casinos still lack many proper controls such as encryption and encryption key management to keep customer card data safe.

eBook - Encryption Key Management Simplified

The truth is, there are so many credit and debit card transaction points from the moment a customer walks into a casino. At every single point a customer swipes their card, that card information needs to be encrypted. This isn’t just a best practices--credit card encryption is mandated by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI-SSC). This means that at any point during any transaction, credit card numbers should never be transferred, processed, or stored “in the clear.” PCI also sets regulations around how businesses handling credit card data should manage encryption keys.

Even though encryption key management is required by PCI, not every business manages their encryption keys, and if they do, not every business does it right. Just like in the financial world, there are several critical encryption key management “best practices” that should be put in use in order to manage encryption keys in the most secure way possible. The number one risk associated with not following best practices is data loss. A data breach of credit card numbers can be devastating, especially if your business relies on customer loyalty.

Whether you’re a casino, gaming vendor, or gaming ISV providing card processing applications to casinos, always look for an encryption key management solution with these 3 features:

  • Follows Best Practices - Your encryption key management vendor should have best practices integrated into their solution in order to guarantee your success. Best practices include having certified solutions, using industry standard encryption, and implementing controls such as dual control and separation of duties.
  • World Class Support - When protecting critical customer data, your reputation is only as good as your encryption key management vendor’s reputation for providing solid products and world class support. Choose a vendor that has a reputation for helping customers.
  • World Class Partner - If you’re a gaming ISV that sells applications that handle credit card data inside casino IT networks, you should be offering your customers encryption key management to protect that data. Choosing an encryption key management partner is a big decision, and you should look for one with a powerful solution that will grow with you and is focused on your success.

The gaming industry isn’t exempt from needing to protect sensitive data, although it is sometimes the industry that flies under the radar and has some of the biggest issues around data security. As we have seen, data breaches "are not a matter of if, but when."  Encryption key management is fundamental to protecting yourself from a data breach. By protecting yourself from a breach, you in turn will in turn maintain your customers' loyalty to your casino - because who wants to play at a casino who gambled with their personal information and lost.

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Topics: Data Privacy, Encryption Key Management, Hospitality/Gaming