All You Need to Know About PCI DSS Compliance Requirements


Post By: Vitaly Kuprenko

Digitalization is one of the main courses of development for many service providers. And this is not surprising. Technology brings convenience and safety to the daily shopping and payment routine. The PCI DSS protocol helps to ensure the security of payment transactions.

In this article, we will analyze in detail what is the PCI DSS and what are the strict requirements of the PCI DSS that should be adhered to.

When Do You Require PCI DSS Compliance?

Before you can answer this question, you need to understand in detail what the PCI DSS is.

What is PCI DSS?

PCI DSS is a Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard which appears to eliminate the disparate and different security standards of various payment systems. PCI DSS was created in 2004 to unite all payment systems under a single security protocol.

PCI DSS Compliance Levels

There are four compliance levels for service providers that work with credit card payments. Let’s consider each level separately.

  • 1st Level. This level for enterprises with over 6 million annual transactions via MasterCard or Visa. For enterprises with American Express, the number of transactions is slightly lower — 2,5 million per year. Within this level, all enterprises must pass an annual audit.
  • 2nd Level. This level lies between 1 and 6 million annual transactions and annual ASV scanning.
  • 3rd Level. This level lies between 20,000 and 1 million annual transactions, and the requirements are the same as for the 2nd level.
  • 4th Level. This is the smallest level under 20,000 transactions per year. All requirements are the same as for the 3rd and 2nd levels.

All PCI DSS Requirements

Before entering PCI DSS compliance, every entrepreneur should be aware of strict requirements that must be adhered to. There are 12 PCI DSS requirements so let’s take a closer look at each one of them.

Establish Firewall Protection

What is a firewall? A firewall is a protection method that controls incoming traffic, and if the traffic differs from predefined rules, the firewall blocks it from entering the system.

Set Stronger Passwords

Setting strong passwords is a cornerstone of security. Make sure that every device in your network has a strong password. Moreover, password changing every 90 days is the recommended process to set a reliable defense.

Encrypt Cardholder Data

Encryption is another level of data protection since if hackers get access to data, but without cryptographic keys, data will have no value for them since it’s unreadable.

Provide Data Transmission Security

Keeping data encrypted during transmission is also an important security aspect. To meet strict requirements, developers must use various encryption protocols such as TLS, IPSEC, and SSH, ensuring the transmitted data’s security.

Constant Security Software Updates are Mandatory

The state of anti-virus software is one of the main control criteria when checking compliance with the requirements of the PСI DSS. It should work continuously on all interaction devices and always be updated to the latest version to be ready for any new attacks by hackers and viruses.

Provide Secure Apps And Systems

A well-formed and safe development process affects a lot. Developers must follow the rules of secure coding, proper handling of memory, and data to avoid any leaks. In addition, a security check before the release of applications is vital to ensure the safety of users and their data.

Limit Access to Cardholder Data

Ensure access to important information and data only to authorized and verified employees. In addition, create a system with access levels and assign authority to each level. Besides, it would be wise to introduce documentary evidence of permission to access certain data and request it every time an employee wants to access this or that data.

Check Requested Accesses to System Components and Modules

The system of two-step authentication and individual numbers or identifiers will provide easier tracking of actions with system users’ data. Besides, it will greatly simplify the tracking of suspicious activity in the system. You should also keep in mind that one of the PCI DSS requirements is to disable inactive accounts within 90 days.

Restrict Physical Access to Cardholder Data

Data processing centers must be under constant video surveillance, and only authorized personnel must have access to them. Each employee must have an identification badge with which you can verify their identity.

Monitoring Access to the Network

Constant control and monitoring of system users’ actions will provide higher security and reduce the chance of data leakage and compromise. To do this, you need to create an activity control log that will allow you to track them and identify unusual behavior that can be a potential threat to the data.

Regular Test-Check

Checking software for security holes is a top priority before releasing it. This process can be managed via an Approved Scanning Vendor, which must be approved by the PCI Security Standards Council. Moreover, every PCI DSS subject must be checked after each update to make sure there are no security holes that appeared. To make no mistakes and pass this check with ease, consider choosing a software development company with extensive experience.

Security Policy Awareness Among the Staff is a Must

Every employee in the company that’s PCI DSS compliant must be aware of security policy, and this awareness must be updated each time the policy is changed. To make this process more convenient for employees, all policies should be packed in the form of documentation so every employee can get acquainted with it.

Wrapping Up

PCI DSS compliance is a complicated thing, but every enterprise that is dealing with a huge amount of financial operations and wants to digitalize their businesses must adhere to PCI DSS requirements to stick with it. When customers know that their payments and data are under reliable security, this brings more clients to you and saves you from reputational losses.

About the Author: Vitaly Kuprenko is a technical writer at Cleveroad. It’s a web and mobile app development company in Ukraine. He enjoys telling about tech innovations and digital ways to boost businesses.