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Things you should know about PCI DSS Compliance!

Things you should know about PCI DSS Compliance!

Is your business dealing with credit card payments? If then, PCI DSS compliance would be a significant factor in running your business safely and smoothly. So, what does it mean to comply with the standard? It is a critical process to protect your or your partner’s payment card data. Moreover, it is an effective strategy to protect your business against potential breaches.

Being PCI DSS compliant is not an easy task if not aware of the standard in detail. Unfortunately, many organizations lack a clear picture while looking for compliance with the regulation. The following blog will help you address queries regarding the valued certification, requirements, essential things to consider and 12 basic rules of the standard.

What is PCI DSS Compliance Certification?

Firstly, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards developed by the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). The standard requires all enterprises connected with collecting, transmitting, storing, and processing payment card data to ensure a secure environment.

PCI DSS Compliance Certification Process help enterprise follow the best practices of payment card data security in line with the regulatory requirements. The standard needs both administrative and technological sides of your business process to meet its provisions. The particular benchmark traversed timely updates from the initial version, and we are currently on DSS 4.0.

PCI DSS compliance requirements depend on the size of your business

To effectively understand the PCI DSS Compliance requirements, PCI SSC has made a 4-level system according to which merchants get classified based on risk levels. It purely relies on the overall number of transactions (payment cards) conducted annually by a business. Merchant risk level 4 is the lowest, whereas level 1 is high in risk proportion. Transaction split-down for classification is as follows: –

  • Level 1 – Above 6,000,000 transactions on an annual basis/ having a record of data breach or compromise
  • Level 2 – 150,000 to 6,000,000 transactions on an annual basis
  • Level 3 – 20,000 to 150,000 transactions on an annual basis
  • Level 4 – Below 20,000 transactions on an annual basis
    Small scale businesses typically surface at level 4, and those multinational enterprises and fintech firms end up in level 1. And, if your organization has a previous record of breaches or data compromises, you may be likely to end up in level 1.

5 Things to cite about PCI DSS Compliance

So, the question that arises here is whether your organization handles, processes or stores card payments. If yes, then the PCI DSS compliance assessment and certification process cites an obligatory requirement. Here we discuss five scenarios that require a close look while looking to comply with PCI DSS.

  • Find whether the QSA is qualified!

Finding the right PCI DSS QSA is significant as they are held responsible for auditing your organization’s PCI DSS compliance practices. Merchants can make use of the following traits while picking the right QSA.

  • Have real-world security and engagement experience.
  • Have the capability to resolve issues pragmatically.
  • Deep understanding of your environment related to PCI challenges.
  • Collaborative consulting and being up to date.
  • Have an innovative and directive leadership.
  • Always available and unbiased.
  • Ensure third party payment processors are PCI DSS compliant!

It is always a widely discussed topic if there is any difference between PCI DSS compliance requirements for enterprises and those for third parties. Many enterprises outsource their processes to different third-party organizations and share cardholder information to make payments. As a result, both parties must stick with the regulation and prove effective compliance.

  • Confirm evidence of compliance for third parties!

Your third-party PCI DSS compliance should have material evidence that they adhere to the regulatory requirements as stated in the standard. Rather than just asking third parties if they are compliant, it should be a legal requirement to show compliance within the contractual relationship of payment processing companies. Organizations can seek an Attestation of Compliance report. The form is of use for merchants & service providers for verifying PCI DSS assessment results.

  • Remove inappropriately stored payment card data!

Cardholder data issues happen when there is an inappropriate entry by employees in database fields. The specific situation causes data thefts and breaches in no time. Hence, incorrect information or data entered wrongly should be removed without further delays. For this, merchants and service providers can conduct staff awareness training and programmes, preventing any such error from happening the next time.

  • Understand the possibility of storing cardholder data!

One common misconception among card issuers is that conducting the PCI DSS compliance certification process and achieving the attestation report enables them with the right to store cardholder data in their own way. Even though you have the control defences upright, the standard provisions let you store card data only if there is a genuine business requirement. In all other cases, the card number goes partially masked, and the last four digits are displayed.

12 Basic rules of PCI DSS compliance certification process

The golden standard establishes six goals known as control objectives. Although the latest version has brought in several changes to the standard requirements, lets analyse what were the 12 basic rules that PCI initially focussed on.

  • Build and maintain a secure network
  • Secure cardholder data
  • Maintain a vulnerability management program
  • Deploy strong access control measures
  • Regularly monitor and test networks
  • Implement an information security policy

To meet these six specific goals, organizations should comply with 12 PCI DSS rules as follows: –

  • Establish & maintain a firewall configuration to secure cardholder data

    Organizations cannot store card information on unprotected networks. Also, having a firewall isn’t enough to protect your card information. Enterprises need to build a firewall set-up and maintain it with proper configuration.

  • Avoid using vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and protection parameters

    Default vendor-supplied passwords are an easy target for an attacker, and a known fact that they aren’t secure enough. Hence, keep default passwords away and use strong password protection policies for your systems and devices.

  • Secure stored cardholder data

    The rule pinpoints the requirement of secure cardholder data storage for your network. Enterprise networks need to go guarded and protected for the safe storage of card data information. It could be related to the usage of firewall configurations, encryptions and security mechanisms that protect them from harmful external intrusions.

  • Encrypt cardholder data transmission across public networks

    While we just pointed out the need for encryption at rest, card data also require encryption in transit. Organizations need to be mindful while transmitting data through public networks and avoid insecure pathways. They can use a secure file transfer tool for driving data safe to the intended destinations. Version 4.0 includes a broader usage of cardholder data on trusted networks and has put forward the need for the data discovery process.

  • Update antivirus software, and protect systems against malware

    The next rule sounds simple but is often less thought after or missed by organizations. Malware is any software that accesses your network and is a threat exploiting your weaknesses. In order to cease their access, you must maintain antivirus software with regular updations.

  • Develop and nourish secure systems and applications

    Security patches shouldn’t get missed by any chance. The rule requires enterprises to develop their systems and applications with the needed resilience against sophisticated threat vectors. For this, timely patches are vital.

  • Apply access restrictions to cardholder data in line with business need-to-know

Cardholder data access needs limits based on employee roles and requirements. These rights            should stick with business essentials and be revoked if no longer you need to.

  • Authenticate access to system components & features

    Users given access permission to cardholder data should also have a specific identifiable access method. Also, each instance of the access should get verified appropriately. The latest version of PCI DSS 4.0 has a greater emphasis on multi-factor authentication and enforcing best practices for password protection.

  • Limit physical access to cardholder data

    The rule requires organizations to control all physical access to cardholder data. Any such access should get restricted to authorized personnel only.

  • Identify and monitor all access to cardholder data & network resources

    The rule wants organizations to have a solid network monitoring system to create logs, detect & record failures and, at the same time, monitor all accesses to the critical systems and audit them.

  • Regularly test security systems and processes

    Your enterprise network may be scattered, but the standard requires them to go regularly tested against vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and security flaws, relying on merchant risk levels. A pen test can test and measure the resilience of your systems against real-world attacks. Version 4.0 expects a much greater frequency of testing enterprise security systems and processes.

Build and maintain a policy for information security for all personnel
An organization-wide information security policy is significant from all corners of data protection. Your organization should create, deploy, and maintain a policy addressing information security for all personnel.

Final Thoughts

PCI DSS isn’t a law, but the aftermaths of non-compliance can be hefty as the infraction of federal regulation. Any non-conformities with PCI DSS could make you liable to fines in the long run, if a breach surfaces. It could also have much impact on your businesses fame, trust and can also end up with the cessation of your partnership with credit card companies. PCI DSS compliance assessment and management service prove the key towards the valued certification.