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What Is PCI-DSS, The Complete Guide To Online Payments Security

Compliance 11/14/2019 - 07:35 by Swami Nathan

What is PCI DSS?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a series of security standards developed by Visa, MasterCard, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, and American Express in 2004. The compliance scheme is governed by the Council of Payment Card Industry Security Standards (PCI SSC) to secure credit and debit card transactions against data theft and fraud.

While the PCI SSC has no legal authority to comply, any business processing credit or debit card transactions is required to do so. PCI certification is also considered to be the best way to protect sensitive data and information, thus helping businesses to build long-lasting, trusting relationships with their customers.

Why is PCI DSS Compliance Important?

Being compliant with PCI DSS means you’re doing your utmost to keep your customers safe and secure valuable information and out of the hands of people who could fraudulently use that data. Not holding on to the data reduces the risk of fraud affecting your customers.

Infringements of data are a regular occurrence for small businesses that are less equipped to implement security measures. For example, in the UK, 2015 Information Security Breaches Survey found that over the past year, 74 percent of small organisations experienced a security breach.

With that in mind, it is now more important than ever to take responsibility for the data of your customer and ensure that you make the necessary provisions to keep that data secure.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard certification

PCI certification ensures the security of card data in your business through a set of requirements established by the PCI SSC. These include a number of commonly known best practises, such as:

  1. firewall installation
  2. Data transmission encryption
  3. Use of anti-virus software

In addition, businesses must restrict access to cardholder data and monitor access to network resources.

PCI-compliant security provides a valuable asset that keeps customers informed that your business is safe to deal with. Conversely, in both monetary and reputational terms, the cost of non-compliance should be sufficient to persuade any business owner to take data security seriously.

A data breach revealing sensitive customer information is likely to have a severe impact on a business. A violation can result in fines from issuers of payment cards, litigation, reduced sales and a reputation that has been severely damaged.

A company may have to stop accepting credit card transactions after a breach, or be forced to pay additional charges higher than the initial cost of compliance with the protection. PCI security procedures investment goes a long way to ensuring that other aspects of your trade are safe from malicious online actors.

What Do I Need to Do to Become Compliant?

For companies that want to comply with PCI DSS, you need to first understand how to collect, store and organise payment data. To handle it, most organisations will use a completely hosting solution.

Compliance is assessed by conducting an inspection of your cardholder information system against the norm by the retailer or service provider.

12 requirements that every merchant or MSP must do in order to be PCI-DSS compliant.

  1. To protect cardholder data, install and maintain a firewall configuration
  2. Do not use defaults provided by the vendor for system passwords and other parameters of security.
  3. Protect cardholder information that has been processed.

Include data retention and disposal policies, procedures and processes to ensure that it is always up-to-date and accurate. Some data, such as the magnetic strip content, card verification number, or personal identification number, should never be stored. Encryption should be used to encrypt the information of the cardholder.

  1. Encrypt cardholder data transmission through open, public networks.

Internet, wireless technologies such as Bluetooth, GPRS and satellite communications are examples of this.

  1. Use and update anti-virus software or programmes on a regular basis.

Secure malware networks and upgrade antivirus programmes to block viruses, worms and trojans on a regular basis. Unless absolutely necessary, antivirus tools should be implemented, maintained and maintained.

  1. Build and manage stable software and systems.

This means that software updates are checked and software is kept up-to-date at all times to protect against the latest vulnerability.

  1. Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know.

Systems and processes need to be put in place for this data to be accessed by WHO and WHY they need access. Access should only be available to individuals who need it to perform their role.

  1. Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access.

This means making sure that you know who is accessing what at any time, so that you can always make sure that in specific systems and components only people with proper authorization are allowed. One way to ensure proper authorization is to use two-factor authentication to enhance safety, such as using smart cards, tokens or biometrics.

  1. Restrict physical access to cardholder data.

Data loss is also possible due to physical security breaches, so care should be taken to ensure limited and monitored access to physical records. Server rooms and data centres should be restricted, media should be destroyed, and data-carrying devices should be protected and monitored.

  1. Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data.

To detect and minimise the risk of data breach, logging all access is required. Safe and managed audit trails should be enforced to record all user activities including data access, permissions, invalid login attempts, and changes to security mechanisms such as object deletion. All of these reports should be updated periodically.

  1. Regularly test security systems and processes.

Penetration testing is an important part of the resources of the IT security team and should be conducted regularly, as well as after any major changes to the network.

  1. Maintain a policy that addresses information security for employees and contractors.

Review it twice a year and update it to any new risk environment. To identify any risks or weaknesses, a risk assessment should be undertaken to allow the strategy and incident response plan to be established. To order to share and update personnel of any new security protocol, an awareness system must be established and enforced when created.

Speak to a Compliance expert

We provide services to support you at each stage of your organisation’s PCI DSS compliance project. Call our team on 02080505014, or request a call back using the form below. Our experts are ready and waiting with practical advice.

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What are the benefits of PCI Scan Compliance?

  1. Gain PCI scan compliant with PCI Approved Scanning Provider
  2. Get PCI Compliance Reports as ‘Ready-to-Submit' to your merchant bank
  3. Detailed reports describe safety gaps found by Hacker Guardian’s 30,000 + checks and include suggestions for actionable fixes
  4. Questionnaire for PCI ‘self-assessment‘ accessible through the online wizard
  5. Secure web based software allows you to schedule unlimited PCI scans on up to five servers per quarter
  6. In order to search additional external IP addresses, IP Address Packs can be added to your licence
  7. Our external vulnerability scans comply with PCI DSS Requirement 11.2.2.

The PCI DSS is an information security standard for organizations that handle branded credit cards from the major card schemes.