The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council recently published an update to its Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) guidelines to help improve data security.

The new P2PE procedures are designed to make it easier for merchants to deploy different encryption solutions than previously recommended, allowing for individual components rather than entire packages.

The move is a response to the increased number of data breaches at retailers with systems that are susceptible to attacks from hackers.

"Malware that captures and steals data at the point-of-sale continues to threaten businesses and their ability to protect consumers' payment information. As these attacks become more sophisticated, it's critical to find ways to devalue payment card data," said PCI Security Standards Council Chief Technology Officer Troy Leach in a statement. "PCI Point-to-Point Encryption solutions help merchants do this by encrypting cardholder data at the earliest point of acceptance, making that data less valuable to attackers even if compromised in a breach."

Traditionally, credit card information is transmitted in clear text, which can be copied by thieves who illegally obtain access to point of sale systems. P2PE attempts to stop this by encrypting data before it is transmitted, making whatever information obtained through the use of malware useless to hackers.

According to Business Wire, the new guidelines make merchant adoption easier by reducing their risk and allowing for customized security solutions to fit their individual needs. These include the separation of duties, systems and functions between the merchant and banks. The new guidelines do not replace previous ones, as all in one solutions are still considered compliant.

Speaking to Business Wire, Honey Baked Ham's IT vice president called the new regulations simplified and cost effective and will help protect their brand from the potential negative impact of a data breach.

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