PCI Compliance, Where to Start?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of requirements intended to create a secure environment for transmitting credit card information.

Companies, involved in processing, storing, or transmitting credit card information, are required to meet PCI DSS requirements. In this blog, we are going to discuss the importance of PCI DSS compliance and its requirements.

Why PCI DSS Certification was Introduced?

PCI DSS Certification was introduced to ensure the credibility of the payment system. The credit card payment system was getting compromised due to faulty security systems. As a result, credit companies such as Visa and Mastercard created their own security systems.

Visa and other credit companies struggled to streamline the security processes. It led to a joint initiative by big card companies including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and JCB.

They all agreed upon creating a fixed security protocol for credit card payments.


PCI DSS V4.0 is an upgrade to PCI DSS V3.2.1. It has improved payment safety to avert ongoing cyber threats. The latest update has provided guidance to payment-based organizations on executing security.

In addition to that, it has given an option of reporting to highlight areas of improvement. This has helped organizations to try innovative methods to achieve security standards.

PCI DSS V4.0 has made the following modifications to the security standards:

  • Introduced new updates to meet multi-factor authentication (MFA) requirements.
  • Made changes to password requirements with the latest standards.
  • Issued guidelines for the security of e-commerce stores.
  • Updated requirements for Sensitive Authentication Data.
  • Internal Vulnerability Scanning was added for organizational insights.

PCI DSS Compliance Requirements

The goal of the PCI DSS system is to protect cardholders’ data. Here are the requirements to get PCI DSS compliance:

Protect Cardholder Data

It is the most crucial requirement for PCI DSS compliance. The user data should be encrypted across all networks in accordance with the algorithm standards. This requirement also sets rules regarding the display of primary account numbers.

Install and maintain a firewall configuration

Service providers must maintain a firewall configuration to protect card data. Firewalls restrict incoming and outgoing traffic data through rules and regulations, set by the organization.

Encrypt data transfer of cardholder data across open platforms

Secure data when it is being transmitted to open and public networks. Hackers are very active in open networks. Hence, the deployment of secured transmission protocols such as TLS, SSH, etc. can protect your organization from data theft.

Install or update antivirus software

Updating antivirus can protect your system from malware. All systems such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones must have antivirus software installed. Do check whether your antivirus is generating auditable logs.

Limit physical access to cardholder data

Physical access controls prevent unauthorized user to access and destroy critical security systems and cardholder data. It requires the use of access controls to physical locations such as data centers. Organizations must create processes to distinguish employees and authorized visitors.

Restrict access to cardholder data

Merchants should have the control to allow or deny access to the cardholder data system. The requirement depends upon the role-based access controls (RBAC). Create a documented list of users and their respective privileges in relation to data access.

Assign a unique ID to each person

Every authorized user must have a unique ID and password. The passwords must be complex and not predictable. Enable two-factor authentication for remote access in your systems.

Stop using vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords

The majority of operating systems contain factory default settings for usernames and passwords. These are highly insecure because they are quite easy to guess. Thus, keeping them leads to instant disapproval.

Track all access to cardholder data

This requirement demands systems to send logs to a centralized syslog server. These logs must be reviewed from time to time to check for malicious activities. PCI DSS also requires certain standards in maintaining audit trail records. The audit data must be synchronized in accordance with the time period.

Test security regularly

You should check your security on a regular basis. The periodic check involves a set of activities. Internal Vulnerability scan must be conducted quarterly. Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) must be done once a year. In addition, Application penetration test and network penetration test enhances the security of data.

Compliance Assessments

An organization can check its level of compliance with PCI DSS through compliance assessments. The assessments guide companies in fixing the loopholes in their security systems. Organizations can identify potential gaps and fix them with the help of compliance reports. Types of compliance assessment reports are:

Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ)

Companies can use SAQ to document their compliance with PCI DSS requirements. SAQ can help them in obtaining temporary status. However, the company has to submit the SAQ to a certified assessor.

Report on Compliance (ROC)

A Report on Compliance (ROC) is a form that is mandatory for all VISA merchants undergoing a PCI DSS compliance check. ROC has two levels. A level 1 merchant is one who processes over 6 million Visa transactions in a year. Level 2 is the one with transactions between 1 million to 6 million annually.

Network Scans

Network Scans are necessary for organizations. It is important to check the security of the system periodically.

Final Words

If you are looking for a reliable and top-notch cybersecurity service provider, look no further than CyberSigma Consulting Services. We have clients in India, Singapore, the Philippines, Australia, the USA, and various parts of the world.

We have expertise in helping organizations in obtaining PCI certification. Our team of experts will suggest you the best measures, depending upon the level of compliance.

Related Stories

Popular Categories


DMCA.com Protection Status