The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a collection of security features developed to guarantee improved credit and debit card information security.
The PCI Security Council that pioneered the concept comprises leading credit card brands globally. They include MasterCard Worldwide, JCB International, Discover Financial Services, American Express, and Visa Inc. Their major goal is to fortify data security in the transaction industry. Find more about their provided checklist here:
So, How Do The Security Council Define PCI DSS?
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of requirements created to secure credit and debit card data storage, processing, and transmission.
There is an all-time high record of data breaches across locations and industries. A 2021 Thales Data Threat report showed that about 50% of US companies suffered a data breach the previous year. The worrisome part is that this figure could rise, going to the potential for undetected breaches.
The formulation of the PCI Data Industry is to provide support to merchants, service providers, and payment software developers to assure high protection of cardholder data. As a result, created a set of technical and operational requirements to process payment transactions by adhering to standards.
Is PCI DSS Compliance Necessary for Your Business?
Every company that handles cardholder data is required to deploy PCI DSS. So, if your business falls in this category, you must incorporate the requirements into your organization.
The benefits of PCI compliance maintenance are immense. Organizations that want to guarantee long-term success must be PCI DSS compliant. One leading benefit is gaining the trust of your customers.
Cardholder customers can feel safe making purchases from your company through their credit cards without fear of being exploited. And even being non-compliant can attract penalties, especially if there is a data breach situation as a result.
When data is compromised, customers lose confidence and trust in the company. Employees will also lose their jobs, and your company can suffer huge losses.
What are the Most Common PCI DSS Control Failures?
In situations where the PCI DSS controls were either inactive or poorly implemented, there are usually some common failures associated with it. Another issue could stem from poor scoping decisions, leading to a cardholder data environment being exposed to weaknesses within the network that are of less standard regarding security.
Common failures include:
- Storage of sensitive data such as track data after authorization. Many business owners were unaware that their systems were curating cardholder data. Users should be notified to only process payments and skip data storage after a successful authentication process.
- Insufficient access controls caused by poorly installed point-of-sale (POS) systems and open passage to bad actors through paths intended for POS vendors.
- Retaining default system passwords and settings. Passwords unchanged at the point of installation can be an access to hackers, and badly coded web applications could lead to SQL injection and other loopholes that give attackers access to databases and store sensitive data information from the web.
- Poor monitoring through log reviews change-detection mechanisms, intrusion detection/prevention, and quarterly vulnerability scans.
- Poorly managed encryption keys. A huge failure is the effective utilization of tokenization and encryption tools.
When Should You Consider PCI DSS Compliance?
As a result of problems noncompliance with the PCI requirement could pose, it is best not to handle payments until your compliance is validated. In essence, once you’re handling customer card data, you must be PCI DSS compliant.
The PCI DSS Compliant Process
Figure out credit data for every cardholder and take necessary records of business processes and technology assets of the payment card processing and vulnerabilities.
Fix weaknesses in the system and avoid storage of sensitive data except storage is important.
Acquiring brands and Individual payment brands determine PCI DSS compliance validation since they integrate the program for data security. Hence, check with these companies to see what you require to attain full compliance since you’re expected to provide reports.
Implementing PCI DSS: General Strategies and Tips
- Do not store sensitive authentication data after authorization. Avoid Storing sensitive authentication data such as card PINs, verification codes, and PIN blocks.
- Limit credit card information stored on the company system. It is best not to store at all; if you must, store only what is necessary. You may want to weigh the options and risks of storing such sensitive cardholder data on your system. As well as the maintenance efforts to retain being PCI DSS compliant.
- Consider compensation controls. There are approved controls for the PCI DSS requirements, but if you have alternatives that meet the PCI DSS definition of compensating controls, you can also consider them with the ideal documentation.
- Ask your POS Vendor or a QSA about the state of your system security. If you run a business that utilizes POS in a retail store, you must be sure that your POS vendor considers adequate security measures by requesting that they limit common control failures as much as possible. Seeking the assistance of a Qualified Security Assessor will also help.