Helcim is committed to helping our merchants stay secure and compliant. We undergo rigorous audits, testing, and inspections to maintain the highest level of compliance in the industry. Our talented team of in-house developers, systems engineers and security administrators work to maintain strict security standards at all times.
This document outlines the steps Helcim takes to secure all merchant and customer data, software and applications, and physical hardware that we utilize to operate our business and secure yours.
Helcim’s systems and security team takes a proactive approach to protect all data that is housed on and moves through our servers. Our firewalls and servers have both Intrusion Detection (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) to evaluate incoming traffic and protect against harmful actions.
Our systems and security team perform regular updates to all company systems and can respond quickly to any major vulnerability by applying patches. The company’s servers are also hardened using recommended guidelines to increase system security.
Firewalls and IDS / IPS
Helcim’s security system includes firewalls with both an Intrusion Detection System and an Intrusion Prevention System to protect against both active and passive threats. The systems monitor network traffic and look for any unusual behavior, abnormal traffic, or malicious coding and prevent exploitation of any potential vulnerabilities.
In addition to inclusion on Helcim’s firewalls, all servers in our environment are also required to have IDS and IPS installed locally to detect and warn system administrators of unusual activity and to inspect attack data if it occurs. If suspicious activity is identified, the IPS will take the corresponding action required to protect the servers. Alerts are also sent to Helcim’s security team for ongoing monitoring and review.
The servers and networks appliances are regularly updated to ensure all software is up to date. If a major vulnerability is discovered, patches are applied immediately by Helcim’s system and security team. Per our compliance, all updates are logged as part of our change-control policies.
By trusting Helcim with sensitive data storage, our merchants are able to shift large portions of their data security and compliance scopes away from their business. This is accomplished using a variety of available tools, including our Card Vault, Helcim.js, hosted payment pages and developer API functionality.
Thousands of merchants trust Helcim to secure the payment and personal information of their customers, removing their own systems from scope. Helcim protects this data by keeping it separate from web servers.
Databases are automatically backed up daily to protect merchants against lost, corrupted, stolen or destroyed data. Backups are performed between data centers, as well as offsite. This is part of our commitment to ensuring ongoing business continuity.
Transaction, cardholder and merchant data is stored on segregated pools of self-replicating database clusters. Our database server architecture ensures uptime and load balancing of database servers. Sensitive cardholder data is stored for up to 24 months of inactivity. Data between merchants is logically separated and inaccessible. All merchant data access by authorized Helcim staff is logged.
Data from customers and merchants is stored separately from the Helcim web servers. Keeping the databases separate from the web servers provides an additional layer of security and is a practice required as part of our PCI-DSS compliance requirements.
Authentication & Access Controls
To protect access to Helcim’s data and systems, our company implements strong access controls.
This includes the requirement for VPN to all internal systems, controlled definitions of user roles, and the requirement of multi-factor authentication. Local and centralized logging ensures that an audit trail of all network access and activity is available.
Internal office networks are kept separate from Helcim platform environments, and do not feature any wireless accessibility. Internal systems are also only accessible by employees who are locally and physically connected to the network. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) provide secure remote access to a limited number of systems, while protecting company data and servers.
Helcim requires all staff to use multi-factor authentication when accessing Helcim systems. Multi-factor authentication is also made to our merchants based on their compliance and internal requirements.
Helcim uses strict password standard to ensure security. Software settings controlled by Helcim ensure that passwords are always complex in nature, changed regularly, hashed and salted, and that users cannot re-use their previous 13 passwords.
Firewalls deployed to our server environments have deny-all policies enabled by default. All connections for inbound and outbound traffic must be approved and added as new firewall rules.
Physical Data Access
Data centers have 24/7 onsite security. Physical access to environments are limited to key personnel, with multi-factor authentication, including biometrics.
Helcim encrypts all sensitive merchant data and cardholder data using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 256-bit keys. To meet PCI compliance requirements, all sensitive cardholder fields, including name, card numbers, expiry dates and cardholder addresses (for AVS) encrypted when stored. Helcim does not store card-verification-values (CVV), PIN, EMV, nor mag data.
Information in Transit
To protect data in transit, Helcim requires TLS version 1.2 connections to its servers, using a limited set of strong cyphers. This ensures that data is encrypted in transit and maintains its integrity. Outdated standards include SSLv3, TLSv1.0, TLSv1.1 are no longer active on our systems.
Helcim is a Level 1 PCI-DSS compliant service provider, which means we undergo rigorous on-site audits, vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and inspections to maintain the highest level of compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). Security practices from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are also followed to maintain the highest level of data security compliance.
Helcim devotes significant resources to ensure the most uptime possible for our networks and merchants. These safeguards include redundant data centers with 6 upstream fiber internet providers as well as backup power generation and dual-path power distribution systems. Data centers are in unmarked locations, with sites selected for low-risk geographic locations.
Multiple Data Centers
Helcim has both a primary and a backup data center to protect merchant data. The backup data center is configured for hot-data replication of the primary data center, replicating data in real-time. In the event of an incident impacting our primary data center, Helcim can move all services and data processing operations to the backup environment with minimal downtime and data impact.
Helcim employs a talented team of in-house programmers who develop all our systems and applications. Building applications in-house ensures that they are built to Helcim’s strict security standards and allows our team to work closely with QAs and security staff to identify and correct any potential issues before they become a problem.
Secure Coding Practices
All applications are developed in-house, and Helcim developers are training and regularly updated on the latest secure coding guidelines, including those set by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). Internal development allows our company to maintain tight controls over coding standards, source codes and deployment cycles.
Helcim completes regular penetration testing to attempt to identify potential network, systems and application vulnerabilities and determine whether unauthorized access or other malicious activity is possible. Penetration testing is performed both internally by Helcim security team, and by 3rd party professionals. Vulnerabilities are addressed immediately by both our systems staff and our development teams.
Regular vulnerability scanning of Helcim’s networks and applications identifies potential security concerns. Per compliance requirements, Helcim performs both internal and external network scans, with external scans performed by Approved Scanning Vendors (ASV).