If your business stores, processes, or transmits credit card information, then you are probably familiar with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). The PCI DSS requirements were designed to protect cardholder data from cyber fraud as more customers opted for cashless transactions.

In this blog post, we provide an overview of the 12 PCI DSS compliance requirements from the PCI Security Standards Council (SSC).

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Overview of PCI DSS requirements for compliance.

Here is an overview of the baseline of technical and operational requirements for PCI DSS compliance.


Install and maintain network security controls.

Businesses must configure and maintain network security controls, such as firewalls or cloud access technologies, to mitigate the theft of payment account data. This includes restricting network access to cardholder data environment (CDE) and mitigating risks to the CDE from untrusted networks.


Apply secure configurations to all system components.

This includes changing default passwords and vendor settings as well as removing unwanted software, services, and accounts to minimize the attack surface.


Protect stored payment account data.

Businesses that accept and store payment card information are obligated to protect this data through proper encryption. Under this requirement, storage of account data should be kept to the bare minimum and sensitive authentication data such as card verification code and PIN should not be stored.


Encrypt cardholder data during transmission over open, public networks.

Primary account numbers (PAN) should be strongly encrypted during transmission over open, public networks to prevent hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in these connections to gain unauthorized access to the CDE.


Protect all systems and networks from malicious software.

Businesses should implement anti-malware and anti-phishing mechanisms and processes to ensure malicious activity can be detected and mitigated.


Develop and maintain secure systems and software.

This includes applying new vendor-released security patches to your software to mitigate vulnerabilities as well as following secure development and coding practices.


Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know.

Businesses should limit exposure of cardholder data by implementing processes and systems that restrict access based on need-to-know and job responsibilities.


Identify users and authenticate access to system components.

Implement user identification processes to ensure all access to data and associated actions can be traced and authenticated. This requirement also includes implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) to allow secure access to the CDE.


Restrict physical access to cardholder data.

Businesses should ensure physical access controls are in place to restrict unauthorized entry to systems and locations that store cardholder data. This also includes the protection of point-of-sale (POI) devices from tampering.


Log and monitor access to cardholder data.

Businesses should maintain audit logs to monitor access to cardholder data and systems. By implementing logging and monitoring, businesses can detect any suspicious activities and perform forensic analysis in the event of a breach.


Regular security testing of systems and networks.

Businesses should conduct frequent security assessments, including internal and external penetration testing, of systems and networks to find and correct weaknesses or update security controls.


Maintain information security policies and programs.

This includes the development and maintenance of information security policies that address risk management, PCI DSS compliance, security awareness training for employees, and incident response.

PCI DSS compliance validation requirements.

PCI DSS compliance validation requirements generally vary by payment card brand and are determined based on volume of transactions, among other factors.

Depending on the card company’s compliance programs, businesses might be eligible to submit a Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) to confirm that they have fulfilled the PCI DSS requirements. SAQs come in many forms, and businesses should review the criteria to determine which SAQ type applies to their organization.

Generally, larger businesses will be required to provide a more detailed Report on Compliance (ROC), which involves an independent audit by a certified assessor. For instance, see Mastercard’s PCI validation requirements and associated merchant categories.

Work with GraVoc to achieve PCI DSS compliance!

PCI DSS requirements and validation can be overwhelming, especially if you have limited knowledge of the different rules, merchant levels, and compliance processes. But, working with a qualified cybersecurity company like GraVoc that has deep expertise in PCI compliance can help!

Our highly skilled and trained team, which includes a certified PCI Qualified Security Assessor (QSA), can not only help you get accredited but also deliver all the documentation and testing you need to establish compliance with PCI DSS requirements.

Check out our PCI compliance services by clicking below or contact us today to get started!

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