I kicked off a bit of a dust storm some months ago when I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post titled "Please Help Me: I Need a QSA to Assess PCI/DSS Compliance In the Cloud." It may have been a little contrived, but it asked some really important questions and started some really good conversations on my blog and elsewhere.
Cloud Sites, Mosso|The Rackspace Cloud’s Flagship offering, is officially the very first cloud hosting solution to enable an Internet merchant to pass PCI Compliance scans for both McAfee’s PCI scans and McAfee Secure Site scans.
This achievement occurred just after Computer World published an article where some CIO’s shared their concern that Cloud Computing is still limited to “things that don’t require full levels of security.” This landmark breakthrough may be the beginning of an answer to those fears, as Mosso leads Cloud Hosting towards a solid future of trust and reliability.
Mosso's blog featured an example of a customer -- The Spreadsheet Store -- who allegedly attained PCI compliance by using Mosso's offering. Pay very close attention to the bits below:
“We are making the Cloud business-ready. Online merchants, like The Spreadsheet Store can now benefit from the scalability of the Cloud without compromising the security of online transactions,” says Emil Sayegh, General Manager of Mosso|The Rackspace Cloud. “We are thrilled to have worked with The Spreadsheet Store to prepare the Cloud for their online transactions.”
The Spreadsheet Store set up their site using aspdotnetstorefront, “Which is, in our opinion, the best shopping cart solution on the market today,” says Murphy. “It also happens to be fully compatible with Mosso.” Using Authorize.Net, a secure payment gateway, to handle credit card transaction, The Spreadsheet Store does not store any credit card information on the servers. Murphy and team use MaxMind for fraud prevention, Cardinal Commerce for MasterCard Secure Code and Verified by Visa, McAfee for PCI and daily vulnerability scans, and Thawte for SSL certification.
Cloud Sites is not currently designed for the storage or archival of credit card information. In order to build a PCI compliant e-commerce solution, Cloud Sites needs to be paired up with a payment gateway partner.
The fact that Mosso is seeking ways to help their customers off-load as much PCI compliance requirements to other 3rd parties is fine - it makes business sense for them and their merchant customers. It’s their positioning of the effort as a “landmark breakthrough” and that they are somehow pioneers which leads to generalisations rooted in misunderstandings that is the problem.
Next time you hear someone say ‘Cloud Provider X is PCI compliant’, ask the golden PCI question: is their Cloud receiving, processing, storing or transmitting Credit Card data (as defined by the PCI DSS)? If they say ‘No’, you’ll know what that really means…marketecture.