PCI compliance as a service helps organizations protect payment data and achieve certification. If your organization handles sensitive payment information, you will want to ensure compliance in order to build trust among your clients and stakeholders and avoid costly consequences. Read on to learn more about what PCI compliance as a service involves—and why it matters.
A Brief Introduction to PCI Compliance
The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) comprises American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, and Visa, among other stakeholders. The PCI SSC outlines requirements for how organizations should best protect their sensitive payment card information from the latest cybersecurity threats. PCI compliance means meeting these expectations by implementing controls laid out in the Data Security Standard (DSS).
To understand what PCI compliance as a service is, you’ll need to understand:
- Why PCI Compliance Matters for businesses
- What happens when PCI requirements aren’t met
- How PCI compliance as a service streamlines compliance
Any organization that handles cardholder data should be PCI compliant, meaning they satisfy the requirements of the most recently-issued PCI DSS standard. Currently, that’s PCI DSS v4.0.
Why Does PCI Compliance Matter?
Depending on the size and location of your organization, your industry, and other factors, you likely have a wide variety of standards and certifications that you must routinely achieve. One of the most widely applicable, across all industries and business models, is the PCI DSS. it applies to most organizations that come into contact with cardholder data, including but not limited to:
- Primary account numbers (PANs)
- Card expiration dates
- Card service codes
- Cardholder names
If your organization handles payment data, PCI DSS certification verifies that your business is managing it responsibly and in accordance with the most current standards. PCI DSS v4.0, released March 31, 2022, updates controls and protocols that were required in 3.2.1.
Organizations will need to comply with the new version by March 31, 2024. Mapping to new requirements may be challenging, but the biggest changes from the previous version include:
- New password requirements
- Additional multi-factor authentication requirements
- Updated e-commerce requirements
- Updated phishing requirements
- New guidance for maintaining security standards
- Increased flexibility for organizations with varying needs, sizes, and structures
Becoming PCI compliant—or renewing compliance with the new framework—doesn’t have to be complicated. Working with a regulatory advisory services provider on a PCI compliance as a service model will streamline the process and ensure seamless payment data protection.
What Happens When PCI Compliance Isn’t Met?
On the most direct level, organizations that fail to meet applicable PCI compliance requirements open themselves up to costly non-compliance fees. There are also other consequences, like reputational damage and seizure of financial processing services from SSC stakeholders.
Fines leveraged by PCI SCC members vary based on the severity and duration of your violation and on your PCI Level (i.e., the number of annual transactions you process). Depending on the SSC Member, you might be charged a fee per person whose data is exposed, and/or a monthly fee that scales upward for each month your organization remains non-compliant.
On another level, when an organization is PCI noncompliant, sensitive information becomes increasingly more vulnerable to cyberattacks as time passes. PCI compliance testing can help you reduce the odds of facing such a crisis. Plus, if your organization were to encounter a cyberthreat related to payment data in the future, the planning you’ve completed to achieve PCI compliance should leave you better prepared to respond to it quickly and appropriately.
What is PCI Compliance as a Service?
PCI Compliance as a service analyzes whether organizations are securely managing cardholder data per PCI standards, then helps them implement any necessary changes to make sure they are doing so efficiently. PCI service providers may also conduct official certification procedures.
PCI compliance entails implementing the 12 Requirements, but the process usually doesn’t begin there. Working with a service provider is a more holistic approach, following these steps:
- Understanding PCI DSS requirements and security controls needed to meet them
- Assessing payment data storage and any vulnerabilities that could compromise it
- Installing and reforming protections to mitigate as many risks as possible
- Documenting and reporting the transition to the appropriate institutions
The transition to PCI DSS v4.0 contains considerable room for variation with compensating controls and customized implementations. A quality service provider will perform rounds of PCI DSS assessments—before, during, and after implementation—to determine compliance needs.
Then, the provider will advise on or directly facilitate the implementation of required controls.
Ultimately, if your provider is accredited as a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) or Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV), they may be able to verify your compliance with the PCI SSC by filling out the appropriate forms—a Report on Compliance (ROC) or Attestation of Compliance (SOC).
Achieving PCI compliance with RSI Security
RSI Security is a QSA and ASV that offers comprehensive PCI compliance as a service. We have helped countless organizations prepare for and certify their PCI DSS compliance, long before v4.0 was released. Whether you’re achieving compliance for the first time or mapping from v3.2.1 (or an earlier implementation), we’ll help you streamline every part of the process.
To get started with PCI compliance as a service, contact RSI Security today!
Download Our PCI DSS Checklist
Assess where your organization currently stands with being PCI DSS compliant by completing this checklist. Upon filling out this brief form you will receive the checklist via email.