What Are the 12 Requirements of PCI DSS Compliance? 

Every business that wishes to accept credit and debit card payments must meet all PCI DSS compliance requirements. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard requires businesses to securely handle all credit and debit card transactions safely and securely. Here’s a look at the twelve requirements surrounding PCI compliance that you must meet if you wish to accept these card transactions.

Requirements of PCI DSS Compliance 

Establish a firewall to protect cardholder data.

The first requirement is to start a firewall to ensure criminals cannot access cardholder data. You can utilize both hardware and software-based firewalls. A software firewall protects a host from inside threats, including ones that might come from employees’ devices. A hardware-based firewall is more secure and protects an entire network. It monitors all connection activities within the business.

Use proper and unique passwords.

The second rule is to avoid using vendor-provided default passwords for all your security systems. You can create unique passwords with various character requirements. Default passwords from a vendor might be too easy for people to predict, so using something unique will be necessary for your protection.

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Secure all cardholder data.

Your business must ensure all cardholder data stays safe and private. All card data must be encrypted and secure through an encryption key management system. You can produce a cardholder data flow diagram that displays how all cardholder data will move through your business. The diagram can help you see how data moves between people in the network, helping you make the right decisions when protecting all data.

Encryption is necessary for all data available over public networks.

Cardholder data can be easy to collect when it is posted over a public network. Your business must encrypt all data as it is transmitted and then decrypt it after receiving the content. You can utilize secure TLS encryption to ensure all data can securely move over your network without exposing any of its contents.

Use and update your antivirus programs.

Your business can benefit from various antivirus programs. These include solutions that will identify foreign entities and block them from causing further harm to your computers and other systems. The most effective antivirus programs will also prevent malware from infecting your system and potentially stealing cardholder data. Any antivirus programs you utilize must also receive regular updates.

Secure your existing applications and systems through regular updates.

Your business must regularly update all its programs to ensure it stays protected from whatever new threats might develop. You can update your firewalls, online browsers, POS terminals, databases, operating systems, and anything else you utilize when handling credit card data.

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All cardholder data must be restricted on a need-to-know basis.

Your business must be capable of denying access to cardholder data unless the entity that requires it needs the information for legitimate purposes. You can restrict all cardholder data on a need-to-know basis. The term means you will allow access based on the client requesting the data and the situation at hand. The goal is to make the data available only to parties who have a legitimate reason for using the data. You can also establish a role-based access control system that provides access to limited parties as necessary.

Each person in your business who has computer access must have a unique ID.

You can assign an ID to each person to help you identify who is accessing certain things in your databases or systems. You can also create unique access rules surrounding each ID, with some IDs having more of a right to access certain things than others. You can also utilize a two-factor authorization system for remote access situations. Having unique safety setups helps you trace what your employees are doing with your data. You can track activities or events where specific workers access cardholder data back to certain people in the business.

Physical access to cardholder data must stay restricted.

Your business must have a system for securing and protecting physical data surrounding your cardholders. All media devices and systems must stay secure while following defined access rules. All backups must stay at a place other than your main site for business. You can also create rules surrounding who has the right to access the physical data, who is authorized to use the content, what is being stored, and where your devices can go. You must also destroy all physical devices that your business no longer requires. A professional team must destroy the content, as specific processes are necessary for permanently erasing this data.

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Log all instances of people accessing network resources and cardholder info.

You must have a real-time system that lets you track when people access your network data. You can prepare audit trails that review when people access data. A daily review of your logs is necessary for identifying potentially suspicious activities within your network. These include events on your computers, printers, firewalls, or anything else you utilize. There must also be a plan in place for how you’re going to resolve cases where something suspicious develops.

Test your security systems on occasion.

Regular tests surrounding your security systems are necessary for confirming your business will stay safe against various threats. Some issues in your system may develop when you add new code or other data. A quarterly test of your wireless access points is necessary. You can also monitor all your sensitive files and list details when someone changes the data, configurations, or other features involved with the work. Regular reviews can help you find possible changes in your system.

Create the necessary documents for your work.

The last of the PCI DSS compliance requirements to follow entails preparing security documents for your business. You can prepare employee manuals, third-party agreements, incident response documents, and other items necessary for reviewing what to do if anything difficult happens. Your business will also require an annual risk assessment and employee background checks for your safety.

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