Does the PSD2 Worry You?

If the answer is yes, you have clearly not learned any lessons from years of regulatory compliance, breach headlines, every security best practice, or basic common sense. And if you continue to do nothing, for whatever the reason, you likely deserve the bad things that happen to you.

Yes that’s harsh, but non-compliance is all so unnecessary. Just like PCI, nothing the PSD2 mandates is something you should not have been doing a long time ago, and if 2 YEARS is not enough time to fix what’s broken in your organisation, please let me know so I can stop doing business with you.

If you’re a financial institution, did it not occur to you to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest advances in access control? Data classification and meta tagging? Did not the FIRST version of the PSD have enough hints that the ever-worsening threat landscape was only going to increase the security and privacy burdens?

Worse than this are the two major offenders; 1) Payment Service Providers (PSPs) who thought that they were somehow immune to regulation because “it’s not OUR data”, and 2) the FI’s who used them because they thought they could outsource the responsibility.

Yes, security come at a cost, and very little of that expense will ADD to your bottom line, but if it’s an ROI you’re looking for, how about staying is business? Between PSD2 sanctions and potentially EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fines/sanctions, and maybe even PCI fines if it’s cardholder data you lose, I would say your responsibility is clear.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, the path towards compliance is actually very simple. Not easy, simple.

First, get the CEO and/or Board of Directors involved. if they don’t care, no-one else will, and any project to achieve ANY form of compliance will either fail out of the gate, take twice as long, or cost twice as much. As I’ve said too many times now;

Let’s be very clear; The CEO sets the tone for the entire company: its vision, its values, its direction, and its priorities.  If the organisation fails to achieve [enter any goal here], its the CEOs fault, and no-one else’s.

Second, run a risk assessment to determine 3 things; 1) what business assets and processes are affected, 2) what are the gaps between current and required capabilities and 3) how much should you spend to fill those gaps.

In parallel with the risk assessment, fix your documentation!! The cheapest and most important facet of every security program is the one most ignored, thereby rendering everything else you do somewhere on the scale of sub-optimal all the way to completely ineffectual.

Third, do NOT do this just to achieve PSD2 ‘compliance’, do it for ALL aspects of your business, and do it once. Done properly, any progress toward any form of regulatory compliance becomes a standard operating procedure, and eventually the ages-old cliché; business as usual. Anything other than this was wasted effort irrespective of it’s intended goal.

You wouldn’t ask your doctor for a temporary fix would you, security is no different?

In the end, you really only have 2 choices; throw a patch on a gaping wound and hope that you have implemented enough smoke and mirrors to stay under the radar, or do things properly and avoid the worst of the fines regardless of how long it takes to get compliant. While that sounds somewhat counterintuitive, the regulators do not WANT to fine anyone, but if data is lost, it will be the bullshit artist who will be hurt the most.

If you think I'm wrong, please tell me why!

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