What is PCI DSS
PCI DSS is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is a worldwide standard that was set up to help businesses process card payments securely and reduce card fraud. The way it does this is through tight controls surrounding the storage, transmission and processing of cardholder data that businesses handle. PCI DSS is intended to protect sensitive cardholder data.
There are 12 high level requirements, and they fall into the six categories below:
- Build and Maintain a Secure Network
1. Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect data
2. Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters.
- Protect Cardholder Data
3. Protect stored data (use encryption)
4. Encrypt transmission of cardholder data and sensitive information across public networks
- Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program
5. Use and regularly update anti-virus software
6. Develop and maintain secure systems and applications
- Implement Strong Access Control Measures
7. Restrict access to data by business need-to-know
8. Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access
9. Restrict physical access to cardholder data
- Regularly Monitor and Test Networks
10. Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data
11. Regularly test security systems and processes
- Maintain an Information Security Policy
12. Maintain a policy that addresses Information Security
Why businesses have to comply with PCI DSS
Being compliant with PCI DSS means that you as an organization are doing your very best to keep your customers valuable information safe and secure and out of the hands of people who could use that data in a fraudulent way. Not holding on to sensitive data reduces the risk that your customers will be affected by fraud.
Businesses should not store data that they don’t need to.
If organisation's lose card data i.e. suffer a data breach and they are not PCI DSS compliant unfortunately they will incur Card Scheme fines for the loss of this data and may be liable for the fraud losses incurred against these cards and in addition the operational costs associated with replacing the accounts. Your customers are also far less likley to continue to do further business with you.
Unfortunately data breaches occur on a regular basis and e-commerce sites are a very frequent target for hackers who often successfully compromise e-commerce sites. Do not think that it won’t happen to you as an organisation. It is imperative for businesses today to ensure that they have implemented all of the relevant controls in PCI DSS. PCI DSS is something that you MUST do. Remember: your business is responsible for looking after your customer’s card data, regardless who processes the data on your behalf.