What Is PCI Compliance? Definition and Meaning - Ikajo Glossary


What Is PCI Compliance?

The term is introduced by credit card institutions to strengthen the protection of payment processing. PCI DSS is applied to an institution of any size as long as it accepts credit cards issued by Visa, MasterCard, and other credit card brands. The goal of rules is to perfect security and avert various card schemes.

PCI compliance mainly implies the technical and operational sides. The guidelines help create and support a safe network that shields cardholders’ data from threats. It means that a customer doesn’t risk losing personal data when paying for items or services with a credit card.

  • A business that accepts credit cards ought to be PCI compliant and stick to the PCI DSS.
  • The PCI DSS is established and adjusted by the PCI Security Standard Council.
  • Taking into consideration the number of annual transactions, a firm may belong to one of 4 levels.
  • PCI compliance consists of 6 objectives, 12 crucial & 78 basic requirements, and 400 tests.

A brief overview

To preserve the security standards unified and equal for all companies, the PCI Security Standards Council was created. QSA or ISA validates compliance and delivers an annual report as well as one every quarter.

Merchants, companies, organizations, and encrypted online payments ought to follow the recommendations. PCI compliance is essential for the security protocols for every institution which accepts credit cards.

The FTC now oversees the card processing, too because it belongs to consumer protection and supervision.

One may come up with plenty of advantages to PCI compliance. They include system security, customers’ trust, increased reputation, etc. Besides, it greatly adds to the corporate security strategy.

Top 3 peculiarities

  • The existing standards mainly want institutions to deal with cardholders’ data. They help create and use particular control measures for the enlarged cardholders’ security.
  • A goal is to decrease the possibility of card owners’ financial information being stolen by other parties.
  • When an enterprise neglects the recommendations, there is a high probability of the data interception by other parties. Consequently, it’ll result in fraud and other malicious intentions. What’s more, this can even lead to cardholder’s identity loss.

The main objectives to be aware of

It implies adhering to the recommendations brought by the PCI Standards Council. Since the creation of this institution in 2006, these rules and recommendations aim to bring the safety of credit cards to the next level. The official term is PCI DSS. Based on what we have previously mentioned, they’ve got 6 main objectives. Let’s go over them all:

  1. Creating and maintaining the secure network and system
  2. Cardholder data protection
  3. Ongoing vulnerability management
  4. Access control
  5. Ongoing monitoring and testing of active networks
  6. Policy documentation

So far, there is the latest edition from May 2018 – 3.2.1. Aside from 6 above-mentioned objectives, merchants must stick to 12 requirements. The enterprises have to evaluate network security including a firewall, system passwords, encryption methods, and credit card processing.

Control and maintenance help eliminate the issues and shield cardholders from data theft. For instance, during credit card processing, a user may not only lose its banking information but also SSN, driver’s license data, etc. Escalation can even lead to worse problems as big as one’s identity theft.

Every business has to deliver reports regularly. The credit card processing agreement makes sure of that. The reports are crucial for the business’s security department, too.

This agreement also states that enterprises must stick to PCI compliance. A standard violation might bring huge fines. Aside from that, violations might lead to data theft and other security issues that can destroy the enterprise’s reputation.

Recent reports from Verizon

Every year Verizon delivers the assessment of payment security in the special document. Its name is Verizon Payment Security Report. Last year the paper dedicated a complete segment to PCI compliance. The main facts from the last year’s paper are:

  • The biggest percent of compliant businesses are located in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The smallest percent of compliance is in the hospitality industry.
  • 36.7% of all companies verified complete compliance in 2018.
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