The payment processor First Data will provide its small and mid-size clients access to data security services provided from Trustwave.

The partnership focuses on helping merchants secure their entire payments environment, thus making it easier to comply with Payment Card Industry data security standards, says James Taylor, vice president at Chicago-based Trustwave. The PCI standards describe how companies that handle payment card data must protect it.

Merchants will have access to Trustwave's cloud-based Trustkeeper PCI manager portal, from which they can monitor card data security, e-commerce vulnerability and PCI compliance.

By securing the business environment first, a merchant can more easily comply with data standards, leaving more time to operate its business, Taylor says.

The Trustkeeper portal includes a way to monitor a PCI checklist, but this partnership seeks to have merchants understand that much more is involved in security that checking off a few boxes, Taylor says. "This approach emphasizes security and protecting sensitive data."

In addition to various PCI compliance tools, Trustwave and Atlanta-based First Data plan to offer businesses malware and anti-virus protection, file integrity monitoring, unauthorized device alerting, security configuration monitoring and payment card storage scanning, which verifies data is encrypted.

First Data establishes the pricing and bundling of services to its clients, and merchants have the option to obtain additional Trustwave managed security services, Taylor says.

Too often, merchants wrongly view PCI compliance as the end goal in their security measures, Taylor says. "PCI really should be the ground floor, and this program's focus goes beyond PCI by enabling compliance through a secure environment."

The program targets the "mom-and-pop shops" that tend to need the most help in securing data, Taylor says.

"The fact is most of these merchants don't have core security employees they can rely on to do it themselves," Taylor says. "They need help from trusted experts like, in this case, First Data and Trustwave."

The need for security is not lost on small merchants in light of recent highly publicized data breaches.

"Most of them understand the need for physical security for their store in locking the doors, but they are now recognizing they need to do the same thing with their IT security environment," Taylor says.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry