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VGS Zero Data™: A Warp Drive for Payment Data

December 2, 2021
A Warp Drive for Payment Data

Humans have not been to the Moon in fifty years, but the space race is hotter than ever. In 2012, the Voyager 1 spacecraft left our Solar System with a copy of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. In 2020, a Chinese lunar rover explored what lies beneath the Moon’s surface with ground-penetrating radar. Last week, Russia tested an anti-satellite weapon, which created so much debris that astronauts aboard the International Space Station prepared for possible evacuation. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk hopes to send humans to Mars by 2024.

Eventually, the human race will head for the stars. However, the biggest challenge is distance: the closest star to our own is Proxima Centauri, which is 40 trillion kilometers away. That is just over 4 light-years, but with our current technology, the trip will take many thousands of years. In three decades of spaceflight, Voyager 1 only covered 1/600 of a light-year. Therefore, to reach the stars, humans will need a new type of technology, which enables them to move a little faster, like the Warp Drive in Star Trek.

“When it comes to securing sensitive payment data, VGS has created a ‘Warp Drive’ for your business.”

VGS Zero Data™ Mission

Mastering any serious discipline, such as information security, is a challenge. There are literally dozens of technical topics to know, from basic principles like confidentiality, integrity, availability, and non-repudiation, to key concepts like risk management, security controls, defense-in-depth, and cryptography. And there are continuous processes to maintain, from change management to incident response, regulatory compliance, business continuity, penetration testing, and audits.

In fact, there are so many things to learn about information security that even experts despair of its complexity. Maybe this is why, among techies, there are so many Trekkies. The starship USS Enterprise boldly goes where no one has gone before, but its crew also encounters a never-ending array of Borg, Ferengi, Romulans, Klingons, and Cardassians.

When it comes to securing sensitive payment data, VGS has created a ‘Warp Drive’ for your business. Our approach is called Zero Data™, and it addresses several gaping holes in modern corporate data security defenses.

Here are the basic elements of Zero Data™:

  • Collect: VGS provides multiple methods to securely collect any type of sensitive data, in any format, insulating customers from ever having it in their systems.

  • Protect: VGS vaults the original data in its secure environment, thereby offloading liability and removing the risk of a data breach.

  • Exchange: VGS clients operate on aliased data, and upon request VGS re-inserts the original data in place of the aliased data in real-time.

The revolutionary thing about Zero Data™ is that your business never actually possesses the original data. The VGS Vault securely stores all of your sensitive data with controls including segregated accounts, AES 256 encryption, key rotation, patch management, audit logging, vulnerability testing, and continuous monitoring.

The risk, cost, technical expertise, and liability of sensitive data custodianship are transferred to VGS. At the same time, the inherent value of your data has increased, as you are able to undertake many more business operations than you could before. Your business safely operates on data aliases, just as you would the original data.

Shields Up!

In order to protect Starfleet ships from asteroids and enemy weapons, Captain Kirk sometimes raises a force field around the Enterprise. On Earth, scientists have proposed using a technology similar to our planet’s magnetic field to protect astronauts from cosmic rays on future missions to Mars.

VGS customers benefit from a similar capability: our HTTP Proxy sits in front of your backend and filters payment data from incoming requests. Each customer configures its own rules (routes) on the VGS Dashboard, ensuring that sensitive data never touches their systems. Instead of holding the payment data, our customers store and operate on VGS-provided aliases.

When the time comes to use the data — for example to charge a credit card via a payment processor — the data is again passed through the VGS HTTP Proxy on its way to a payment gateway or other 3rd party, and VGS substitutes the aliased data with the original value.

This diagram illustrates how VGS’ ‘secure forcefield’ protects your enterprise’s sensitive data:

Generic HTTP Redact Reveal Flow

VGS sits between your enterprise, your customers, and the partners with whom you choose to share data. Thus, while customer data remains securely stored in the VGS vault, customers always retain full control over it.

Set phasers to Zero Data™

If your business holds any type of sensitive information, from payment data to personally identifiable information (PII), it also assumes a high level of responsibility -- and risk. A range of threats exists at every level, from server-side code to network connections, as well as social engineering and insider attacks. This is why VGS puts a ‘forcefield’ around its clients’ sensitive data, based on the principle of Zero Data™.

VGS offers the only solution that solves the challenges of security, compliance, and payment optimization with one simple solution. We minimize your compliance scope, and maximize the utility of your data. The time, money, and brainpower you save can be refocused toward growing your business, improving your software, launching new products, and going to market.

Upon integration with VGS Zero Data™ infrastructure, your business inherits our best-in-class security posture, which satisfies the majority of PCI compliance requirements. In as few as 7 business days, your business can achieve PCI Level 2 compliance, and within 21 days, it is possible to achieve PCI Level 1 compliance.

Gain Customer Trust with Zero Data™

Learn More

Hacking the Klingon

Did you know that there are thousands of humans who speak the Klingon language? In case you are a little rusty, here are a few key words to get you started.

  • Information: De'
  • Computer: De'wI'
  • Security: Hung
  • Encryption: Tlhoy
  • Hacking: Tlha'chuq

Google does not translate Klingon, but here is a Bing translator.

So as we say at VGS, veS pegh pagh de'!

Ken Geers Kenneth Geers, PhD

Information Security Analyst at VGS


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