As technology continues to advance, cyber security threats become more prevalent, posing risks to your business’s and customers’ personal information. Trusted QSA service providers are necessary for all companies that handle cardholder data.
Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) services are outside companies that help businesses identify gaps in their cyber security and cyber security awareness training. The PCI Security Standards Council qualifies these independent security corporations to validate an organization’s adherence to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, also abbreviated as PCI DSS.
PCI DSS Compliance
PCI DSS collects data security requirements for any business that stores, transmits, or processes customer debit/credit card data. This practice became standard in response to reported fraud and card theft incidents from payment card brands such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. PCI puts the responsibility of data security in the merchant’s realm rather than in the hands of major payment card brands.
These requirements set by PCI SSC are both operational and technical. Protecting cardholder data should always be the core focus of these rules:
Install and Maintain a Firewall Configuration To Protect Cardholder Data
Firewalls are the first line of protection for your network. Properly established firewalls protect card data by restricting incoming and outgoing network traffic as allowed by your organization. Firewall configuration should be reviewed bi-annually to ensure secure access and avoid the risk of cyberattacks.
Do Not Use Vendor-Supplied Defaults for System Passwords and Other Security Parameters
Secure your organization’s servers, network devices, and applications by making usernames and passwords unique to you and your business. Most operating systems and devices come with a factory default setting for usernames and passwords, which are simple and easy to hack.
Protect Stored Cardholder Data
Protecting cardholder data is the most crucial requirement of PCI Compliance. First, you must know which information you plan on storing along with its location. All cardholder data must be encrypted using industry-accepted algorithms. Along with card data encryption, you should have a strong encryption management process.
Encrypt Transmission of Cardholder Data Across Open, Public Networks
Cybercriminals have been known to access cardholder data when transmitted across public networks, such as the internet. Encrypting cardholder data before using a secure version of transmission protocols can reduce the likelihood of compromising data.
Use and Regularly Update Anti-Virus Software or Programs
All systems, including workstations, laptops, and mobile devices, must have a reliable antivirus solution. Ensuring antivirus and antimalware programs are up to date will prevent the risk of corruption.
Develop and Maintain Secure Systems and Applications
Define and implement a process that allows you to identify and classify the risk of security vulnerabilities in the PCI DSS environment through reliable external sources.
Restrict Access to Cardholder Data by Business Need to Know
Service providers and merchants must allow or deny access to cardholder data systems to implement strong access control measures. This requirement focuses on role-based access control (RBAC), which grants access to card data on a need-to-know basis, meaning you can prevent exposure of sensitive data to those who don’t need this information.
Assign a Unique ID to Each Person With Computer Access
Each authorized user should have an individual identifier and password that is not shared with anyone else, whether they are allowed access to cardholder data or not. Unique usernames and passwords ensure activity can be traced to a known user and accountability can be maintained.
Restrict Physical Access to Cardholder Data
Without physical access controls, unauthorized persons could gain access to cardholder data. Extensive security measures such as camera surveillance are necessary to monitor the physical location where data is stored.
Track and Monitor All Access to Network Resources and Cardholder Data
All systems should have an audit policy, which includes sending logs to a centralized syslog server. Records should be reviewed daily to look for questionable activity. Security Information and Event Monitoring tools (SIEM) help log network activities and alert your PCI assessor of any suspicious activity.
Regularly Test Security Systems and Processes
All systems and processes must be tested frequently to ensure that security is maintained. Ensure your security by:
- Using a wireless analyzer scan to detect all wireless access points every quarter
- Scanning the network using a PCI Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) quarterly to check for any exposure to external IPs and domains
- Conducting an internal vulnerability scan quarterly
- Applying an Application penetration test and Network penetration test to external IPs and domains yearly or after suspicious activity
- Performing file comparisons each week to detect changes that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Implement and maintain an information security policy for all employees and other relevant parties. This policy should be reviewed yearly and discussed with anyone involved with the organization who may have access to cardholder data.
Achieving full network PCI Compliance is made easy by partnering with RCS Secure. Our QSA consultant services work with various industries and our security experts have extensive knowledge in working with hospitality, health tech, government contractors, nonprofit organizations, and content producers. Contact us today to get started on your QSA Assessment!
RCS Secure offers a full spectrum of cyber security safeguards and services. Our services combine compliance standards expertise with cutting-edge technology to identify risks, prioritize remediation, and ensure you are both secure and compliant.