All businesses that accept credit card payments must meet PCI compliance standards. While PCI compliance isn’t a mandatory government mandate, credit card brands make doing business difficult or impossible unless all requirements are met.
PCI DSS version 3.0 features 12 main requirements with over 300 sub-requirements that mirror security best practices, making achieving compliance a daunting challenge without professional assistance.
Protection of cardholder data should be of top concern for businesses, with policies in place and all areas of vulnerability addressed. Policies must also be regularly reviewed and revised in light of new threats that pose risks to data security.
The PCI Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) establishes requirements for entities that store, process, and/or transmit cardholder data, such as payment processing networks, point-of-sale devices, e-commerce applications, mobile systems, computers, and servers. The standards consist of 12 main requirements with over 300 sub-requirements that reflect best practices in information security.
To comply with PCI-DSS requirements, you must conduct a risk evaluation. This evaluation should identify important system resources and their vulnerabilities, calculate losses according to estimated frequencies and costs of occurrence, and suggest measures designed to lower overall exposure levels.
An on-site PCI evaluation can be carried out by a Certified Security Assessor (QSA), but you may also choose to complete a Self-Assessment Questionnaire, or ROC, which typically consists of 22–329 questions.
A virtual QSA (vQSA) will assist in the creation and administration of your security programme as well as provide quarterly compliance status reports to keep you on track with compliance, which could otherwise lead to substantial fines from credit card companies or banks. A vQSA may also identify areas for improvement while providing assistance with remediation activities.
Firewalls are one of the key defence tools against hacking attacks for businesses. But to make sure they’re configured properly, you need a third party with expert knowledge in setting up firewalls, updating them, and scanning them for vulnerabilities to ensure they’re operating as intended.
PCI compliance services also provide businesses with other services designed to help meet data protection regulations and avoid security breaches, including tracking access to network systems, identifying security issues with automated tools, and conducting penetration tests with them; additionally, they can assist businesses in creating policies and procedures for managing and monitoring potential security threats.
Install and maintain antivirus software on systems that access card data environments, such as laptops, desktops, mobile devices, and tablets, in order to safeguard them against viruses and Trojan horse malware that could steal card details.
These services also assist you with recording changes to your firewall’s processes so you can review them later to see whether any have had positive or negative effects, which will allow you to improve its configuration in the future. They also enable you to monitor security incidents and identify patterns of behaviour that could signal breaches.
PCI compliance mandates that businesses limit access to sensitive data. This means making sure only employees, contractors, and vendors with an established need gain access to it; others have no right to it whatsoever. Furthermore, they should receive unique identifiers to log into their systems, so if there is ever an incident of theft or breach, they can be quickly traced.
Implementing authentication, which verifies user credentials against those stored in your database, is one way of protecting a business against theft and identity fraud. When credentials don’t match up, your system blocks them from accessing your network if they do not match up; additionally, this security measure helps limit what needs to be secure during PCI audits by narrowing their focus.
Reducing the size of an audit requires segmenting data. This includes isolating cardholder environment data (CHD) from standard corporate information so auditors can more easily comprehend and evaluate it.
Furthermore, CHD should always be encrypted when stored to further reduce the risk of exposure for businesses. Finally, system updates—from databases to browsers—must take place regularly.
PCI DSS security standards mandate rigorous monitoring of cardholder data environments (CDEs) at businesses that accept credit and debit cards; this includes retail stores, e-commerce businesses, banks, and other financial institutions that accept these payments. Many of these organisations face considerable difficulty meeting and maintaining compliance.
Maintaining PCI compliance can be challenging for even large and complex businesses, especially those with multiple IT departments and integrations with third-party providers. Utilising an integrated security monitoring platform like Datadog makes it simpler to keep an eye on everything happening within their networks, including PCI compliance requirements.
To comply with PCI requirements, all companies must document and update their systems, documenting the equipment that stores credit card data as well as who has access. Furthermore, companies must conduct regular network tests in order to detect flaws and vulnerabilities in their networks.
Although PCI compliance isn’t legally mandated, many contracts or agreements between merchants and their payment card brands include PCI compliance as a requirement.
Since these companies enforce compliance measures themselves, it’s critical that merchants work closely with both their payment card brands and merchant account providers so as to have adequate support in maintaining system updates while safeguarding customer data.