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With over 2.5 million cardholders, Debenhams upgrades its data protection programme to comply with stringent Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) requirements

We wanted a solution that would protect credit cards from the point of sale through our back- end decision support systems

due to the sheer amount of touchpoints with customer data generated by its 170 UK stores and e-commerce operation. Debenhams’ IT environment includes IBM i


systems to house an Oracle data warehouse, Windows server, AIX and SQL server systems. It required a single system that would protect customer card details on any system they passed through. The solution also needed to manage secure transfers through Debenhams’ private network as well as external networks. Aqil Nasser, Debenhams’ technical architecture

controller, said: “We wanted a solution from a single provider that would protect credit cards from the point of sale through our back- end decision suppor t systems, including our merchandising data warehouse and processing systems that run on the IBM/400 platform.” PCI DSS requires

organisations to encrypt cardholder data when in transit and in storage. Debenhams was therefore confronted with the prospect of upgrading every system that stored or transmitted credit card numbers in order to handle the metadata created by traditional encryption technologies. Nasser tapped

analyst firm Gar tner to narrow the solutions for evaluation. Criteria included ease of installation, level of encryption security, tools and utilities for application and data suppor t, impact on existing applications and


n 2008, Debenhams under took a programme to get its heterogeneous IT environment totally PCI compliant. This is of huge impor tance

systems and the ease of ongoing administration and operations. Only a few vendors could cater to these

demands on the IBM i platform. But Liaison Protect was able to meet all of these requirements as well as suppor t tokenisation technologies, key management and logging in Debenhams’ extended enterprise. Using tokenisation, card numbers are

encrypted at the point of sale and transferred through a secure connection to headquar ters. Here, Liaison Protect decrypts the numbers and tokenises them. The tokens are used in place of the clear text values for back-end processing and weekly business and customer relationship management (CRM) repor ts. Tokenised credit card numbers expose only the last four digits of the card numbers, which limits the incidences where the full card number appears to authorised employees, solving a key data security issue. Because Liaison tokens retain the 16-digit size

of the original credit card number, applications and business processes run without modification. Many encryption technologies, by contrast, extend the length of the number to 24 digits. Fur thermore, by tokenising only the

crucial middle-eight digits of the card number, Debenhams is also able to cut the amount of metadata on its systems. It additionally does not store the additional decryption values that traditional encryption technologies provide, which also saves a huge amount of storage. “Liaison Protect perfectly fits our requirements

for an all-encompassing data security solution,” said Nasser. “Because of its ability to run on all of our systems non-intrusively, we were able to meet all PCI DSS encryption requirements with minimal effor t.” He added: “Other solutions involved copying

data out or having to separate columns dealing with cipher text. This would have required look- up tables, which would have meant adding more system resources. The Liaison advisors worked closely with our security and technical teams to implement the solution, making the process much easier and less expensive than originally anticipated.”

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