Tips and Strategies for PCI DSS Compliance

PCI DSS Compliance
PCI DSS Compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a propriety information security (infosec) standard used internationally and made (ostensibly) by the PCI Security Standards Council itself. 

It was also created for companies to better deal with user info of people with credit cards and the like. It applies to the largest credit card companies in the world, such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. 

The Card Data Being Protected by PCI DSS

Companies and organizations serving as merchants or sellers are required to follow PCI DSS if they wish to accept credit card payments on the Internet, on the phone, or in-person interaction. 

The standard was developed to protect your privacy as a card holder of a credit card, debit card, and so forth. It specifically keeps the following info protected:

  • Service code
  • Name of the cardholder
  • Credit card expiration date
  • Primary account number (PAN)

Doing an Internal Audit of Your Systems

Do an audit of your systems internally even before starting to comply with PCI DSS. Actually, you can argue it is part of the process. 

Is your system storing and processing cardholder info safely? What are your store policies for infosec handling? Which safeguards are already in place? What does it lack? The internal audit allows you to come up with pertinent information that will serve as a framework for PCI DSS compliance. 

It should include involvement from information-technology departments, privacy and compliance executives, top-level executives such as CIOs and CISOs, and the admin management.

Remote Network Conformity with PCI DSS

Because of the pandemic, the council for PCI DSS protocols has added special rules and guides for remote workers or those working remotely by Zoom, Skype, or Instant Messenger apps. It assists merchants in ensuring data safety to protect their cardholder info with work-at-home workers.

This involves the following best infosec practices. 

  • Working at the Home Office: Workers should do processing operations in the privacy of their own home apartment, condominium, rooms, basements, or spaces that double as their office.
  • Authorized Access: They should secure gadgets, equipment, and devices so they’re only accessed by authorized personnel. 
  • Using the Same Solutions In-Office as Work-at-Home: Companies should operate in accordance PCI DSS to guarantee that they’re PCI-DSS-compliant when all is said and done especially now that they’re operating away from work. 

Scanning Networks and Discovering Protocols

The internal audit should make use of Data Loss Prevention solutions. They’ll scan the networks of an organization to search for the exact virtual location wherein card info is stored. 

They’ll also audit how the info is utilized by workers.  This includes data-at-rest scans and monitoring card data for detection and tracking. A judgment call is then done on whether the security protocols you have in place can protect the info sufficiently or not. 

You can’t reinforce protection without knowing the current level of protection you got with an audit on data flows within your organization networks.

Ensuring Business Process Security

To ensure business process security, organizations should have infosec apps installed in their systems and maintained regularly such as antivirus programs and firewalls. This ensures that only absolute excellence is observed when it comes to following security protocols.

  • Shields from the Inside and Out: This should serve as protection or shields from hack attacks. It should also defend card user info from human error and threats from within (like threats from workers, spies, and whatnot).
  • Restricting Access to Your Eyes Only: A system must have restrictive access to card info on a need-to-know basis. Only those who needs to know the info gets the info while the rest of the people are blocked by encryption.
  • DLP Solutions Manages User Data: Data Loss Prevention apps and programs can be utilized for monitoring, restriction, and transfer blockage of encrypted user data outside the network of the company.
  • Cardholder Info Tracking: The merchant tracks how the user info moves, which allows them to keep tabs on the status of the info and come across vulnerabilities in the strategies for PCI DSS conformity. They can also learn which workers need additional compliance training.

All the Same

The PCI DSS compliance checklist is quite extensive since it features twelve main requirements with 250 associated controls. Merchants need to do simple things like firewall installation and maintenance as well as antivirus apps for infosec purposes.

They’re also obliged to do advanced defensive measures that deal with developing secure systems and applications. In other words, they’re required to ensure leak-proof security protocols are included systematically or on the system level.