How to Prepare for the TLS Migration Deadline

With summer on its way, you’re probably dreaming of a day at the beach or planning your next vacation. But, don’t forget about a very important deadline coming up: starting on June 30th, merchants will need to be fully migrated to Transport Layer Security (TLS) version 1.1 or higher, in accordance with the Payment Card Industry’s (PCI) standards. Here’s what you need to know.

What is TLS?

TLS is the technology that encrypts sensitive data, so that it can be securely transmitted between different devices/systems over the internet in order to prevent third parties from gaining access. Since internet connection is needed for so many aspects of payment processing, TLS plays a significant role.

The original TLS version was called Secure Socket Layer (SSL). Since SSL is older than TLS, it is already considered unacceptable for PCI compliance.

Why Do Merchants Need to Upgrade?

PCI discovered several vulnerabilities in SSL/early TLS, and hackers have been able to exploit them. Newer TLS versions have addressed these vulnerabilities, so that merchants will be more protected.

What Do Merchants Need to Do?

The specifics of what merchants need to do will vary greatly, depending on their payment setup. Some terminals may require a new file download, or the terminal may need to be phased out if an upgrade is not possible. Merchants may also need to update their operating systems and POS systems. If the merchant uses a hosted e-commerce platform then the upgrade has likely been taken care of for them, but if they are using a customized software or e-commerce solution they should contact their programmer.

What Happens if Merchants Don’t Upgrade in Time

Merchants who have not migrated to TLS version 1.1 or later by June 30th will encounter processing issues. They will also be at risk for a data breach, and will not be in compliance with PCI Standards.

We hope that by now, your migration to TLS version 1.1 or later is fully underway. If you are in need of assistance, Fidelity is here to help!

For more information, click here for PCI’s Resource Guide.