What Is PCI DSS?

What Is PCI DSS?

PCI DSS was founded in 2004 by Visa, MasterCard, Discover Financial Services, JCB International and American Express. The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) reviews the compliance strategy to protect credit and debit card transactions from data theft and fraud.

Despite PCI SSC’s lack of legislative authority, every firm that processes credit or debit card transactions must adhere to the regulations. Businesses may build long-term and trusted connections with their consumers by using PCI certification to protect sensitive data and information.

PCI DSS Certification

The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) has set several rules to ensure card data security at your firm. Many well-known best practices are included in this list:

  • There should be firewalls in place.
  • Encryption of data during transmission.
  • The use of anti-virus software is mandatory.
  • Cardholder data must be restricted, and network resources monitored.

Customers may rest easy knowing that doing business with you is secure thanks to PCI-compliant security. The financial and reputational implications of noncompliance should be enough to persuade any business owner when it comes to data security.

The ramifications of a data breach that exposes sensitive consumer information are likely to be dire for a business. A data breach could result in fines, lawsuits, decreased revenue, and a tarnished reputation for a payment card issuer.

Companies may be required to stop accepting credit card payments following a data breach or face higher future fees than the initial cost of security compliance. To safeguard your organisation from online criminals, PCI security protocols are a great place to start.

What Is PCI DSS?

Steps on How to Get PCI DSS Certification in India

A PCI DSS certification in India might cost in the range of Rs. 8-12 lakhs depending on the level of technical competence or consultancy assistance you receive from a PCI certification vendor. This is followed by quarterly scans and annual audits, which quickly add up to the expenses. Obtaining and maintaining a PCI compliance certification can be time-consuming and difficult. However, you can take steps to make the process easier as you work to protect your cardholders. The four steps are as follows:

1. Make sure you are familiar with the 12 standards of PCI certification

A corporation must meet every one of the PCI-DSS requirements, which are divided into six main objectives. The PCI-DSS version 3.2.1 standard lists a total of 12 requirements and about 251 sub-requirements that must be met to achieve PCI compliance certification. As an overview, the PCI compliance criteria are as follows:

  1. Building and Maintaining a Secure Internet Environment.
  • Maintain a firewall configuration to keep cardholder data safe.
  • Do not use the settings provided by the manufacturer for system passwords or other security parameters.
  1. Protect cardholders’ personal information.
  • Keep a close eye on the data you’ve stored.
  • Encrypt the transmission of cardholder data via open networks.

iii. It’s essential to have an ongoing program for identifying and mitigating security risks.

  • Use anti-virus software regularly and keep it updated.
  • The development and maintenance of safe systems and applications are an absolute necessity.
  1. Adopting Strict Controls Over Access Is Essential
  • Data on cardholders should only be available to those with a legitimate business reason to know about it.
  • Computer users must all have their unique IDs.
  • Data on cardholders should only be accessible by authorised individuals.
  • Monitoring and tracking network resources and cardholder data is a must.
  • Regularly evaluate the security of your systems and procedures to ensure they are up to date.
  1. Make sure you have a plan in place for protecting your company’s sensitive data.
  • Keep a data security policy in place.

2. Decide what your organisation needs to do to comply with the law.

Each type of business has its own set of criteria, according to the PCI Council.

Your company’s yearly transaction volume affects your PCI-DSS validation requirements, so figure that out first. The following is a high-level summary of PCI compliance levels:

  • 1st Level: Annual Transactions of More Than $6 Million.
  • Up to six million transactions annually at Level 2.
  • Third-Level Transactions: 10,000 to 1,000,000 every year.
  • Level 4: Transactions of less than 20,000 per year.

Companies in levels 2 and 3 of the PCI DSS must complete a Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) to certify that their security measures are in place. The SAQ is not mandatory for Level 4 businesses, but they are encouraged to do so. Consult with your payment card provider or acquiring bank if you are unsure which questionnaire is appropriate for you. They ought to be able to help you out. Two components make up the Self-Assessment Questionnaire:

  • Based on the PCI Data Security Standard, this questionnaire was designed for retailers and service providers. Listed below are the documents you’ll need to bring with you when you take the Self-Assessment Questionnaire.
  • PCI-DSS certification attestation based on your eligibility and appropriate Self-Assessment paperwork. Accurate PCI compliance audits and assessments are verified by the Attestation of Compliance (AOC). A proper attestation includes the SAQ that belongs to your organisation.

The Payment Card Industry Qualified Security Assessor (PCI QSA) must be hired by large merchants (level 1) to undertake an audit to evaluate whether or not they meet the security criteria. Qualified Security Assessors (QSAs) are trained and accredited cybersecurity experts who are fully familiar with the requirements for PCI certification. PCI-DSS Level 1 merchants are also required to provide an annual report of compliance (ROC). As part of your yearly PCI compliance audit, the QSA will also provide you with a yearly Compliance Report.

What Is PCI DSS?

3. Make Your PCI Certification Preparation Easier

Following your understanding of PCI compliance criteria and levels, the following step is to find out exactly how to implement the requirements that will bring your firm to PCI-DSS certification. It can be difficult to comprehend the entire process, so we’ve broken it down into manageable chunks. Taking a closer look at each one:

PCI-DSS is designed to prevent a payment card data breach; thus, every company must do a thorough risk assessment. Payment card assets and services should be assessed for potential risks and weaknesses.

To have a complete view of your payment card security threats and dangers, the risk assessment will help you determine your organisation’s security posture. Your policies and procedures will therefore serve as the foundation for many of the requirements for PCI-DSS certification. The organisation’s business processes and security measures must be taken into consideration while developing policies and procedures. When it comes to cybersecurity, remember that compliance is usually always a byproduct.

This time around, you’ll want to read over the PCI-DSS certification criteria once more and look for any possible compliance gaps. These issues must be addressed if they are discovered. After completing the repair plan, it’s a good idea to have a PCI QSA do an independent gap analysis. However, this inspection will be more like a “practice run” to ensure that any missing requirements will not jeopardise your PCI-DSS certification process.

4. Use a PCI QSA or Take a Self-Assessment Quiz

The Self-Assessment Questionnaire and the Attestation of Compliance (AOC): Levels 2 through 4 of the Self-Assessment Questionnaire can now be completed. (SAQ). A self-validation tool for cardholder data security is the SAQ. Each PCI-DSS standard that pertains to your firm has a set of yes/no questions. When filling out an SAQ, you have two options: study the instructions and do it yourself, or hire a QSA to assist you. You’ll need to complete an Attestation of Compliance after you have finished the SAQ (AOC). Auditor Certification of Compliance (AOC) is a document that certifies the results of a PCI audit.

Compliance certification and a report on compliance If you’re a Level 1 merchant or service provider, a Report on Compliance (ROC) is the final step in obtaining PCI-DSS certification. Only Level 1 merchants who are being audited for PCI-DSS compliance are required to submit a ROC. More than 6 million transactions are processed by a Level 1 merchant each year. After completing their annual PCI compliance evaluation, a certified PCI QSA must complete both an AOC and a ROC. Think of it as a sort of PCI-DSS certification report card.

How Can Businesses Demonstrate to Customers That They Have Achieved PCI Certification?

Once you have achieved PCI-DSS certification, you should educate your customers about it. Why should they trust you with their credit card information? Customers should know that you are PCI-DSS certified because of the Attestation of Compliance (AOC) and the Report on Compliance (ROC) documentation. Although the PCI-DSS certification process is time-consuming, processing payment cards is a need in today’s marketplace. PCI-DSS certification is also significant since it helps businesses build strong cybersecurity practices, which will go a long way toward discouraging cyberattacks on payment card data.

Bottom Line

Even for firms with the greatest of intentions, PCI DSS compliance is a challenge. The benefits outweigh the difficulty of maintaining the standard. PCI DSS compliance is challenging, but firms must adhere to it because non-compliance can have serious consequences.

Olufifun A.

Content Writer

I write unique, well-researched, educative and entertaining articles and blog posts to meet specific needs. I deliver articles on time, and I am diligent, dedicated, and focused on generating amazing results.