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How service providers should obtain PCI compliant?

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Retailers, service providers, financial institutions and data centers, all of them share a standard business component, which is dealing with sensitive information of their customers and stakeholders. They may either directly and indirectly store or using credit card or debit card information of consumers. Growing trend of credit cards and online transactions has made cardholder information a hot target for cyber thieves. This demands entrepreneurs and organisations to make substantial attempts to limit the misuse of client’s personal information and secure online transactions.

When it comes to protecting user financial transactional data, business owners are advised to obtain standard compliance with information security called PCI. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is an international security standard. An international council of Payment Card Industry Security Standards has purposefully created controls to protect cardholder data to reduce credit card frauds. Company owners and PCI compliant data centers possessing PCI certification have to validate themselves annually to renew their certification. They may either conduct validation process either via an External Qualified security Assessor or an Internal Security Assessor relevant to their organisation.

Perhaps your organisation has recently started accepting payments via credit cards; you will immediately need the PCI DSS. Successful integration of this customer data security measure is not a simple task. Applicants have to fulfill not only the standard requirements to obtain this certification but also continue the struggle to maintain the compliance.

Below I am sharing a stepwise guideline for service providers seeking to meet the PCI requirements.

Develop a roadmap for compliance
Integration of PCI compliance is a complicated process and requires proper analysis or pre-audit assessment to identify requirements. This will enable you to list down complete requirements you will need to address and help you to decide how much work you will need to do. PCI DSS gap analysis is the first step, which is performed before performing a formal assessment for Attestation of Compliance (AoC), by Qualified Security Assessor (QSA).

Gap analysis can also help organisations to determine, whether they are ready to develop and present a formal report on Compliance (RoC) audit.  After performing gap analysis, they will send you an assessment report along with a roadmap you will need to follow to meet the standards and to achieve accredited certifications.

A PCI analysis is similar to an actual (ROC) Report on Compliance assessment. It consists of a detailed review of company compliance activities like onsite interviews with staff, evaluation of the in-scope system components and configurations. Gap analysis also includes an examination of out-of-scope elements and a physical/logical data flow analysis.

Simplify the requirements of PCI compliance
Though implementation of PCI DSS compliance project is a complicated process, the gap analysis will help you reduce the scope of cardholder data environment. This can be done by analysing the storage devices your organisation is using to store, process, streamline and transmit data. The best way of simplifying requirements is to reduce the amount of data and number of multiple locations your company is using for data collection.

Always be careful to handover cardholder data to third parties because of expected misuse of this information. In the end, you the service provider will be responsible for ensuring that data processing completely executes the standard safety requirements.

Merge PCI DSS compliance with organisation security framework
When it comes to implementing PCI compliance to enhance the security of cardholder data, inexperienced enterprise owners tends to make a mistake of separating out PCI DSS compliance from rest of the IT security system and compliance schemes. In fact, PCI DSS compliance is a baseline of information security standard. Handling PCI separately will significantly increase the risk of data breaches. If you want to achieve and maintain error-free security compliance, you will need to follow an integrated approach. This will facilitate you not only to integrate PCI compliance in everyday processes but also help you in educating staff about data security.

Endnote:
PCI Compliance is essential to obtain data security. Whether you want to become a PCI Compliant merchant or PCI compliant datacenters, these steps will simplify the implementation of compliance.

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