Novell takes steps to harden security for shoppers

It is not an area of business where you'd normally think of Novell providing the infrastructure. But business and retail transaction security is becoming a burgeoning business for the company that helped create the PC network.

As more shoppers use their ATM debit cards for both small and large transactions, the need for tighter security to protect shoppers' identities and bank information has forced companies to scramble to develop security methods that adequately protect users. To that end yesterday, Novell announced it's upgrading its Sentinel security management platform for retailers.

The company is promoting Sentinel as the solution that "enables retailers to easily demonstrate compliance with PCI-DSS" while being the "industry's most effective solution for automation." The PCI-DSS standard aims to build and maintain a secure network to protect data. Its principles include using encrypted transmissions over any open networks, having a proper management program to make sure anti-virus software and similar software is updated, and ensuring the network is actively monitored and secured. The PCI Security Standards Council also has a list of approved PIN entry devices that are thoroughly tested to ensure consumers' personal information remains safe.

The PCI Council was founded to foster the "ongoing development, enhancement, storage, dissemination and implementation of security standards for account data protection." The organization is currently made up of the world's principal card services providers: American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa International, plus other smaller companies. Since the PCI-DSS guidelines are so strict for merchants, Novell hopes Sentinel can be used as a reliable, simple way to meet all necessary security standards in place at the moment. This isn't the company's first attempt at catering to merchants trying to pass the PCI-DSS, but is the most complete solution offered.

While Novell's technology is being implemented into future ATM scanners found in grocery stores and retail outlets, consumers will not notice an increased level of difficulty, but Novell promises there are additional layers of security available that other companies haven't yet implemented.

Along with real-time reporting to let retailers examine what is happening the moment after a transaction, Sentinel was designed to take into account minor incidents and automatically apply remedies. Novell hopes these tools will become the ultimate set of guidelines for automation and validation used by the PCI-DSS going forward.

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