PCI compliance

What is PCI DSS?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of mandates for organizations that deal with payment information. This mandate is supervised by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). Its objective is to control fraud happening in the payment processing industry and combat the malicious use of cardholder data, such as the payment account number, cardholder name, expiration date, and service code. By staying PCI compliant, businesses can prevent, detect, and remediate threats to cardholder data.

What is PCI data?

Primary Account Number (PAN), cardholder name, and card verification value (CVV) are all examples of payment card information (PCI). To protect this data, rules and regulations specified by the PCI DSS should be followed.

Who needs to be PCI DSS-compliant?

All the entities that access, process, store, and transfer cardholder data are required to be PCI DSS-compliant. A few actors involved in payment card transactions include cardholders, merchants, issuing banks, and card networks.

Benefits of PCI compliance

Some of the prominent benefits of PCI DSS compliance are:

  • Fosters trust in customers and businesses

    By staying PCI DSS compliant, organizations inform all stakeholders that they are taking appropriate measures to safeguard their customers' payment card information. As a result, this opens up opportunities with customers who prioritize secure payment processing and also helps organizations retain customers for the long haul.

  • Improves operational security

    The usage of security infrastructures and adherence to proper security protocols in the PCI environment minimizes the threat of cyberattacks. The implementation of appropriate access controls reduces the likelihood of data tampering, thereby protecting customers and the business overall.

  • Mitigates monetary and legal repercussions

    Businesses that are non-compliant with PCI DSS standards are bound to face backslash such as damage to brand reputation, lawsuits, monetary compensation to the victims in case of a data breach, loss of existing customers, etc. By adhering to the compliance standards, businesses can safeguard themselves against these consequences.

  • Enhances security awareness

    Conduct periodic security training programs to educate all the stakeholders involved in the payment processing industry about the precautions and consequences of failing to meet PCI DSS compliance. This practice will hold them accountable if any security incidents occur and also minimize the potential for human error.

How does PCI DSS compliance work?

PCI DSS compliance is an ongoing process that requires organizations that fall under its purview to continuously perform audits with the below framework.

    Organizations that store, process, and dispose of card data should locate the data and check for vulnerabilities that can be exploited.
    Rectify any security vulnerabilities present in the software and hardware systems that hold payment card information.
    Record the methodologies used to detect and amend the vulnerabilities, and share the document with the stakeholders you are collaborating with.

PCI DSS compliance levels

Based on the number of transactions made annually, the compliance levels are categorized under four spectra.

  • Level 1: Applies to entities that process over 6 million transactions per year.
  • Level 2: Applies to entities that process 1–6 million transactions per year.
  • Level 3: Applies to entities that process 20,000–1 million transactions per year.
  • Level 4: Applies to entities that process less than 20,000 transactions per year.

PCI compliance requirements

The below objectives are mandated by the PCI SSC to protect payment card data in its entirety.

Requirement no. Objective Description
01 Build and maintain a secure network and systems Installation and maintenance of firewalls.
02 Change of vendor-supplied system credentials.
03 Protect cardholder data Implement a thorough action plan addressing what to store, its retention period, and the methodologies that will be used for its disposal.
04 Encryption of transmitted cardholder data across public networks.
05 Maintain a vulnerability management program Regular antivirus software updates.
06 Maintenance of applications and systems within the organizational network.
07 Implement strong access control measures Enforcement of appropriate roles to access cardholder data.
08 Issuance of unique user authentication identifiers.
09 Monitor privileged users and enforce role-based access control to cardholder data.
10 Regularly monitor and test networks Issuance of unique user authentication identifiers.
11 Restriction of physical access to data centers storing cardholder data.
12 Maintain an information security policy Tracking and monitoring of network resources with file integrity monitoring and change detection software.

How can DataSecurity Plus help you achieve PCI DSS compliance?

ManageEngine DataSecurity Plus is a data visibility and security solution that offers extensive compliance auditing capabilities. It helps you achieve PCI DSS compliance by:

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