Understanding PCI DSS Compliance

Meeting the compliance standards for accepting card payments

Understanding PCI DSS Compliance

What is PCI DSS and why is it important?

PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and is a set of requirements which are designed to ensure that all companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.

The key requirements of PCI DSS Compliance

There are 12 broad requirements for PCI DSS compliance, which are grouped together under six headings as shown below.  Each of these headings represents a whole raft of specific actions. For a more in-depth look at what is needed, The Security Standards Council have produced a reference guide.

  1. Build and Maintain a Secure Network
    • Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect data
    • Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters
  2. Protect Cardholder Data
    • Protect stored data (use encryption)
    • Encrypt transmission of cardholder data and sensitive information across public net
  3. Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program
    • Use and regularly update anti-virus software
    • Develop and maintain secure systems and applications
  4. Implement Strong Access Control Measures
    • Restrict access to data by business need-to-know
    • Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access
    • Restrict physical access to cardholder data
  5. Regularly Monitor and Test Networks
    • Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data
    • Regularly test security systems and processes
  6. Maintain an Information Security Policy
    • Maintain a policy that addresses Information Security

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