How to Get (and stay) PCI Compliant: The Necessary Steps

PCI Compliant

There has been a set of requirements and measures that should be strictly implemented by companies that transmit credit card information in order to guarantee the security process of their data transmission. Such requirements are known as The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). PCI security standards were executed to improve and develop the security system throughout any transaction operation. In other words, the PCI DSS is the foundation keystone that issues the essential structure for the data security development process. The data security standards confine all security measures, in terms of detection, prevention, and the conventional reaction towards any security hazards or suspicious incidents. Read through our article to know how to get PCI compliant and what are the necessary steps to take.

Run a Risk Assessment 

For many organizations, it is quite complicated, difficult, and time-consuming to implement and maintain PCI compliance. PCI compliance is not just hard to apply, it is hard to sustain over time; for companies that are able to build their data protection system, it becomes demanding and hard to maintain the same security standards. The best way to start PCI compliance is to determine the threats and dangers your company is facing or might be facing in the future. A risk assessment framework is going to help you define the environmental weaknesses and threat events that can jeopardize your organization and impact your business. If you intend to get or stay PCI compliant, one of the most important requirements of the PCI DSS is to perform and document a risk assessment annually. A formal risk assessment generates a report that has essential information, such as, risk ranking and remediation tracking.  

Outsource Your PCI Compliance

You’ve wrestled enough with technical jargon and redundant paperwork, you just need to gain back your peace of mind. Outsourcing PCI consulting and validation services will provide you with tools to build a compliance program that defends you from any security hazards. Achieving and maintaining PCI DSS compliance requirements is a great challenge for many organizations, you can learn more about professional methodology and technology to improve an organization’s compliance requirements. Hiring an outsourcing company that provides payment security and compliance to your organization enables you to reduce financial costs and manage risks through tailored compliance requirements that can meet your needs. 

PCI Compliant Firewall

The firewall is a very important security tool, it is a hardware device connected to your IT network that blocks any malignant online traffic. Having a PCI-compliant firewall enables your IT network to operate efficiently by verifying secured payments from unsecured ones without hindering other online services provided to your customers. It also works on protecting the internal network of your organization, since it is configured to settings for card payment acceptance. This means that all transactions are supported and documented according to your business needs, and any anonymous or unauthorized attempts to access secured data will be strictly prohibited. IT technicians must always undergo regular review for your firewall, especially with the configuration updates if any changes are made to the employee’s structure.

Password Security Requirements

One of the major key security elements is the password requirements, which should have clear specific parameters for users that are asked to generate them. Passwords authentication strengths and periodic reset are fundamental PCI requirements in order to create cyber defense and prevent access to card data. PCI DSS terminology has evolved over time to provide advanced security techniques to your company’s data and network. Sometimes a password and a passphrase are required to verify identity in order to access the system, a passphrase includes not only characters, numbers, and symbols, it also requires space. MFA multifactor authentication is also a login procedure that requires two devices for verification, in other words, enter the password on one device while verification is applied on another one. 

Cardholder Protection

For an organization that processes card transactions and transmits cardholder data, PCI DSS compliance is by all means crucial. It is not a matter of protecting the cardholders’ data, which is one of the fundamental reasons, it also prevents banning of transactions or being subject to costly fines. A great deal of your customer’s satisfaction and trust comes from their confidence that their data is secured. Achieving and maintaining PCI compliance should be the ultimate goal of any organization that processes, transmits, or stores payment information from cards. It is a matter of diligence since your clients won’t know if you are PCI DSS compliant or not, but they’d definitely know if any data is breached.

Importance of Data Encryption

The cardholder’s data is very sensitive and vulnerable information that can be threatened by hackers and internet attackers during online transmission. The PCI security standards require strong data encryption to keep any payment information safe. Data encryption means that any readable data is transformed into a coded format to ensure the safety of any online transmitted information.  The encryption algorithm uses an approved cryptographic key between both the sender and recipient. Cryptographic keys are combined mathematical values that should be complicated and difficult to guess by hackers. Encryption should be also applied to passwords, so it’s unreadable to online attackers.

PCI DSS compliance requirements are security standards that are implemented to protect and secure customers’ data, payment information, and data breaching. Even small businesses should comply with measures of PCI DSS in order to prevent leakage of any confidential information. The diligence of customers’ data protection does not only boost their trust and confidence in your organization, but it also protects you from being subject to lawsuits and costly fines, in case of data breaches or loss. Organizations and companies that are dealing with valuable customer information should understand that PCI compliance requirements are the least they could do to safeguard their customers’, employees’, and business’ data. The world witnessed many data and information breaches that put many businesses in jeopardy and cost them not only money but also their client’s trust and reputation in the market.