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Preparing for PCI DSS Certification? Things to know!

Posted by: MK CS Team
Category: PCI DSS

Anyone who says PCI DSS Certification is expensive must understand that the average cost of the data breach has risen to $3.92 million. Ignorance is perhaps the biggest reason behind the increasing number of attacks. 71% of companies have failed to comply with PCI DSS Certificates after the first year.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a set of regulations formulated by industry players like American Express, MasterCard and Visa. These payment facilitators have weighed in the concerns of consumers, opinions of industry veteran and hazards of growing technology to formulate regulations that help companies keep cardholder’s data safe.

How PCI DSS protect your Company and Users? 

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.

Getting PCI DSS certification is a rigorous process that requires enterprises to go through a series of change, which includes gap assessment, process redesign, and incessant vulnerability scans. When companies go through such a meticulous process they end up eliminating all loopholes and shortcomings.

Once enterprises are PCI DSS compliant, customers reward them with their unwavering loyalty. PCI DSS simplifies a user’s life by assuring them that their card details are safe and untouched.

How failing PCI DSS Compliance Impacts your Business?

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:

  • DDoS attacks
  • Cross-site scripting
  • Dipping customer confidence

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.

If the PCI DSS council identifies your business as a defaulter, they can levy a heavy fine. Failing PCI DSS Compliance generally invites a fine ranging from $5000-$100,000.

Also Read: PCI DSS: A Necessary Evil for Fintech Companies?

How to prepare for PCI DSS Certification?

Choose your QSA carefully: Well! Finding the right Qualified Security Assessor is important because your PCI DSS Certification totally 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:

  • Gap Assessment: The QSA weighs your business processes against the standards set by the PCI DSS Council.
  • Process Redesign: They help you redesign your process that is in line with data security standards.
  • Improvisation: QSAs often improvise your business processes to help you remain compliant with upcoming changes.
  • Re-audit: Once all assessments and process changes are done, QSAs re-audit your processes.
  • Vulnerability Scan: Once all changes are implemented, a vulnerability assessment is carried out to check whether any loopholes are there or not.

Meet 12 requirements of PCI DSS: 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 requirements are: 

  • Install a firewall to protect your system
  • Protect your system with Firewall
  • Protect stored Cardholder Data
  • Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program
  • Restrict Access to Cardholder Data by Business-need-to-know
  • Implement Logging and Log Management
  • Use Authentic Anti-virus and not Vendor Supplied Tools
  • Encrypt transmission of Cardholder Data across all channels
  • Assign Unique ID to Every Authorized Personnel
  • Regularly Update and Patch System
  • Conduct Vulnerability Scans and Penetration Testing
  • Documentation and Risk Assessments
  • Restrict Physical Access to Workplace and Cardholder Data


Must Read: An Introduction to Information Security Risk Assessment

Create and maintain an accurate network diagram: Network diagram is such an essential requirement for clearing PCI DSS Certification because it offers a clear picture of your internal network to the auditor. The growing number of attacks has coaxed auditors into knowing the network diagram to ensure that there are no leaks happening in the middle. Such an intricate approach towards PCI DSS auditing allows customers to engage with businesses without putting their card details at risk.

View compliance as an ongoing effort: Technological advancements like Near-field communication (NFC) and one-tap payment have got payment processors worried. They are continuously releasing best practices to follow. With time these best practices are turning into must-follow regulations hence viewing compliance as an ongoing effort will prepare businesses for upcoming challenges.

Document Everything: Earlier documenting everything was considered a best practice but with the release of PCI 3.0, documentation has turned into a must-follow attribute. Now businesses are required to document their network diagram that clearly specifies entry, exit, and all touchpoints. The same update also requires a documented list of all in-scope devices, their types, and firewalls protecting them.

Apart from the mention of touchpoints and in-scope devices, other requirements that need to be documented according to PCI 3.0 are:

  • List of authorized wireless access points and their justification.
  • Physical location, serial numbers and model number of all devices.
  • A list of all third-party service providers.
  • A list of all processes and behavioral changes within the business.

Must Read: What is Managed Security Services & How it Benefits Your Organization?

How MK Cyber Services can help you get PCI DSS Ready?

MK Cyber Services can offer primitive benefits to organizations which include comprehensive offering related to cybersecurity. The experienced team weighs on standard practices and moderates varied processes to ensure quality output.

MK Cyber Services doubles as a Qualified Security Assessor and Authorized entity for PCI DSS Certification, which simplifies the choice businesses looking for PCI DSS Certification. The commitment to process improvement is what makes us stand out from the crowd. Also, being at the helm of the cybersecurity landscape, we understand how necessary it is to safeguard cardholders’ data and offer a smooth customer experience.

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