Robust Strategies for a Successful PCI DSS Compliance


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The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a proprietary information security standard providing a security framework and best practices to transmit store, or process credit card information.

Financial organizations must ensure and maintain PCI DSS compliance to minimize risks of data breaches, brand reputation damage, and hefty fines. PCI DSS secures the entire data of a customer’s payment card, like their primary account number (PAN), the cardholder’s name, and credit card expiration date.

Achieving PCI DSS compliance is inescapable and challenging. Here are a few robust strategies financial organizations must know to achieve successful PCI DSS compliance.

Regulate an Internal Audit

Before employing PCI DSS compliance, businesses must understand how cardholder information is stored and processed and the policies for handling sensitive data. It necessitates an internal audit with adequate input from compliance and privacy executives, administrative management, IT departments, and executives.

Businesses must utilize Data Loss Prevention solutions to track company networks to assess where and how the cardholder information is stored and used by employees within adequate policies. Organizations can compare current policies and practices against PCI DSS requirements after using data-at-rest scans and monitoring features allowing cardholder data detection and tracking.

It allows businesses to make meaningful decisions and establish PCI DSS compliance that resonates with current policies without misspending time and resources.

Protect Business Processes

Businesses must install and maintain cybersecurity solutions- firewalls and antivirus software to protect against external interferences to protect business processes. They must also secure cardholder information from internal threats and human error.

They must restrain access to cardholder data by business need-to-know. They must employ DLP tools to monitor, block, and restrict cardholder data transfer outside the company network.

Financial organizations can efficiently determine weak links in compliance strategies by tracking cardholder data movements. Moreover, this allows businesses to identify employees who may require training to ensure they follow best security practices.

Employee Training and Systems and Processes Testing

Without efficient employee participation in compliance, strategies can fail. Therefore, companies must ensure that the team working with cardholder data knows PCI DSS requirements and their importance. An informed team is less likely to detour policies.

Robust training helps businesses raise awareness of common mistakes and minimize security incidents caused due to negligence. Conducting annual penetration testing is required for companies that comply with PCI DSS. They must perform the test via an Approved Scan Vendor (ASV).

However, companies must test the internal policies’ effectiveness by monitoring cardholder information and regular data at rest scans. Regular testing of security mechanisms will allow businesses to detect and readily deal with potential vulnerabilities.

Gain an understanding of PCI DSS Scope for the Environment

Identifying an organization’s PCI DSS scope refers to determining the people, processes, and technologies and whether or not they affect cardholders’ data security.

All these factors within the PCI DSS scope adhere to PCI DSS requirements. System components, for example, servers, network devices, applications, and workstations, are in the scope of the environment.

Gaining a better understanding of where the data enters the system is essential to ensure the data’s security. Businesses must build swift data flow for all the networks within the scope.

Assess the Data that Requires Protection

The primary factor is determining what qualifies as sensitive information that needs security from PCI compliance. Businesses must remember that not only credit card numbers information should be utilized with caution but also personally identifiable information that links to an individual. The determination of the location of the sensitive data follows it.

Businesses must understand the state of the information by analyzing where the stored customer data is in the environment. Determining and noting how information transfers occur within systems allows businesses to take essential steps to secure sensitive data.

Moreover, securing data includes online systems and what happens in an organizational office environment or customer’s premises.

Avoid Storing Sensitive Information

Sensitive information storing is one of the primary activities that help businesses to achieve PCI compliance. Financial organizations must decide whether the data needs storage at every cycle just by looking at the systems they analyze as a part of the PCI.

Sensitive data authentication includes- wide magnetic stripe, PINs, equivalent chip data tracking content, card verification codes, and values. Therefore, businesses must not store sensitive data after the authorization.

Simultaneously, companies ask for CVV codes to customers to help eliminate fraudulent activities. Hence, processing this information during a transaction is not an issue; however, PCI does not allow data to be stored anywhere on the system.

Moreover, when there is an absolute requirement to store sensitive information, businesses must ensure that only the required team member accesses a database.

Also Read: Ways to Secure Financial Software Systems with AI and Automation

Regularly Test the Security Controls’ Effectiveness

Businesses must perform numerous different security tests in the environment to ensure PCI DSS compliance. The standard tests are internal network vulnerability scanning, ASV scanning, and penetration testing.

Organizations must conduct internal network vulnerability and penetration tests with the help of local resources. However, they must run ASV tests on a PCI-certified ASV. They must perform ASV scans as early as possible.

Businesses must remember to send “clean” scans- no vulnerabilities in the tests, while both organization and its ASV approve the scans. Companies often prefer to run their first few scans earlier, quarterly, perhaps to readily fix the vulnerabilities or issues.

Penetration tests affect the running systems; hence, businesses must perform the testing outside working hours. They require a qualified professional since this test requires a talented, skilled individual who adheres to ethical standards.

Deploy QSA Rotation

PCI SSC actively raises the primary standard of quality within the evaluation community. A Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) rotation has recently evolved as the best practice to enhance an assessment’s quality.

PCI SSC encourages organizations to review, implement, and explore it to enable the highest quality of assessments. It allows businesses to procure a different perspective on security and compliance since numerous QSAs perform annual audits.

Apoorva Kasam
Apoorva Kasam
Apoorva Kasam is a Global News Correspondent with TalkCMO. She has done her master's in Bioinformatics and has 18 months of experience in clinical and preclinical data management. She is a content-writing enthusiast, and this is her first stint writing articles on business technology. She specializes in marketing technology, data-driven marketing. Her ideal and digestible writing style displays the current trends, efficiencies, challenges, and relevant mitigation strategies businesses can look forward to. She is looking forward to exploring more technology insights in-depth.


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