In the simplest words, PCI DSS compliance can be defined as the set of regulations every enterprise that receives, stores or transfers card information must follow. PCI DSS compliance requirements are subject to timely upgrade. The upgrade is implemented in synergy with the evolving technology.
From standalone e-commerce stores to online marketplaces and from bidding sites to cab aggregators, everyone needs to acquire PCI DSS Compliance to safeguard customer’s card information from unauthorized access.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard pushes merchants to follow a series of steps to safeguard customer’s credit or debit card against fraud payments. PCI DSS compliance also defines best practices in case of a data breach. When followed religiously these guidelines safeguard both cardholders and merchants.
The standard definition of PCI DSS holds every merchant who accesses, stores, transfers, or operates on customer’s card detail liable for the data breach, making it compulsory for them to be compliant. While the standard definition engulfs everyone who receives payment but the technical definition is a little broad and complicated.
A business that usages United Payment Interface, where the customer is redirected to apps like Google Pay and PhonePe for completing transactions, doesn’t require PCI DSS Compliance. Some exceptions and rules allow a few merchants to function without PCI DSS Compliance but customers want flexible payment options like Credit/Debit Card and Net Banking, for which PCI DSS Compliance is a must.
Merchants can let go of PCI DSS Compliance but to offer incomparable customer experience they must offer multiple payment options.
According to the latest norms released by PCI Council any organization that receives online payment or stores cardholders’ data is bound to furnish PCI DSS Compliance. Now the compliance is applicable on organizations that receive payment through debit and prepaid cards.
PCI DSS is industry-specific compliance that offers immense benefits like data breach reduction, customer confidence improvement, and restricts cross-site scripting. Any enterprise that stores, transmits, or processes credit, debit or prepaid card data needs to get PCI DSS Certifications.
PCI DSS promotes confidence among customers
Pivot from earl stage SSL/TLS to technologies like SSH and IPSec VPN
Can Hold Customer’s Credit/Debit Card Details to Facilitate Better CX
Better ability to hash Primary Account Numbers and important details
PCI Encryption helps businesses avoid the need of getting expensive Disk Encryption
Promotion of healthy and safe handling of data at the workplace
Safeguard Passwords of servers and employees, since PCI DSS rules out the possibility of password sharing
Enhanced Physical Security to POS Terminals
Improved Resistance Against Unauthorized Access tested via Penetration Testing
A Verizon report presents a worrisome picture stating “Only 29% of enterprises continue to be compliant after the first year of certification”. For many businesses, PCI DSS is just a box they need to tick. These businesses are least concerned with customer’s data security.
When businesses fail PCI DSS compliance they are putting themselves in line for damages like:
While cyber-attacks and data breaches become a common affair, businesses also get under the radar of payment processors like American Express, JCB International, and Discover Financial Services. These payment processors are members of the PCI DSS Council and they are concerned with proper safety of cardholder’s data.
Well! Finding the right Qualified Security Assessor is important because your PCI DSS Certification relies on their expertise. A good number of QSAs are authorized to issue PCI DSS certificate to organizations. Finding the right QSA not only solves your compliance woes but also takes your business through an overhaul that includes
The QSA weighs your business processes against the standards set by the PCI DSS Council.
They help you redesign your process that is in line with data security standards.
QSAs often improvise your business processes to help you remain compliant with upcoming changes.
Once all assessments and process changes are done, QSAs re-audit your processes.
Once all changes are implemented, a vulnerability assessment is carried out to check whether any loopholes are there or not.
Without adhering to these 12 commandments of PCI DSS, no business can attain the certificate. Fulfilling these 12 requirements prepares businesses to avoid upcoming challenges. Some of these requirements are designed to remove obscurities while the rest are here to ensure cardholders’ data is safe and untouched.
The 12 PCI DSS Compliance requirements ensure that organization has requisite measures in place to protect cardholders’ data. Fulfilling these 12 requirements helps enterprise all attempts of internal sabotages obsolete and reduces the impact of any hacking attempts.
PCI certification cost
The cost of getting PCI Compliant depends upon several factors. Bootstrapping companies that are offering basic services need lesser compliance while industry leaders need to get their workplaces optimized too. PCI DSS has 12 unique requirements as mentioned earlier hence the cost varies accordingly.
Apart from the PCI requirements the cost also depends upon the following:
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard aka PCI DSS Compliance safeguards cardholders’ data from external attacks and internal sabotages. The compliance came into existence in 2004 and became fully functional in September 2006. Ever since 2006, the PCI council, which includes VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and JCB International has laid out norms and security standards that need to be adhered to by all companies that stores, transfers, or processes cardholders’ data.
PCI DSS is not a law, no government has either tabled it or passed it from any legislative assembly. While PCI DSS is not yet law but the government of a few states in the US have incorporated in plastic card protection law.
Unlike GDPR and CCPA, which were officially tabled in constitutional houses of countries and passed by majority votes, PCI DSS is not a law and is governed by a council that includes VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and JCB.
PCI DSS Council that came into existence in 2004, the council looks over the regulations and enforces them. They remotely conduct audits and also act on complaints received anonymously. The five members of PCI DSS namely includes:
Keeping up with the technology: The council actively looks into the technological breakthroughs and revises the PCI DSS paradigms to suit the needs of businesses and organizations.
Optimizing the PCI requirements: They play an instrumental role in making the certification an effective way of safeguarding cardholders’ data by putting businesses through a thick forest.
Publish Updates and Concerns: The council works with a motif making the world a better place. They often publish concerns related to new technologies and advises businesses to wait until they release guidelines related to the latest technologies.
There are three levels of PCI DSS namely Level 1, 2, 3 and 4. All 4 levels are meant for organizations of different capacities. The level of PCI DSS Compliance/Certification you need depends upon the kind of transactions your online store processes.
How Breaching PCI DSS Levels Impact Organizations?
Abiding by the regulations of the level you are subscribed to is very important, failing will invite complications from PCI Council. The council can take strict measures and downgrade levels or cancel the PCI DSS Certification. To ensure compliance in accordance with level at all times requires organizations to understand the levels intricately.
Since Levels are decided on the basis of number of transactions, organizations often to try to hide it and save cost, which puts cardholders’ data at risk. To stop businesses from risking cardholders’ data, PCI Council looks after strict implementation of the
Organizations need to conduct audits annually irrespective of the level of compliance. Conducting compliance audits regularly ensures that businesses are protecting cardholders’ data against the latest cyber threats.
Conducting PCI DSS audits regularly has its own set of benefits including:
Qualified security assessor is an individual who handles compliance auditing and consulting for companies willing to get PCI DSS compliant. A PCI certified QSA is eligible to audit, suggest corrections, or even revamp the entire network. Such individuals are motivated to help organizations work in sync with the 12 commandments of the PCI DSS Council.
A qualified security assessor assists businesses with other network issues and challenges. Hiring an experienced QSA can benefit enterprises exceedingly.
Here’s a checklist that will help businesses identify and hire the right Qualified Security Assessor:
PCI SSC (Security Standard Council) is vigilant towards the growing enemies of online payment. The huge amount of transactions owing to billion-dollar valuation invites trouble that needs to be addressed strictly. By keeping up with the technological changes and landscape development, PCI SSC helps vendors, organizations and payment facilitators ensure full security of cardholders’ data.
Some of the other reasons why PCI DSS requirements keep changing every year are: