What is PCI DSS?
PCI DSS stands for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It is a set of data security standards that were first created back in 2004 by some of the major players in the electronic payment industry, including MasterCard and Visa. PCI DSS certification is required for any company that wants to process debit and credit card transactions – this means that even if you’re just trying to open up a small online store, you still need this certification to be able to process payments from customers. The goal of this certification system is to protect debit and credit card transactions from data theft and other fraud attempts. Getting this certification also shows your customers that you take concrete steps to protect their sensitive data.
What is needed to get PCI DSS certification?
The good news is that PCI DSS certification requirements are not too difficult to fulfill. This certification’s requirements mostly cover basic cybersecurity practices, such as password security, the use of firewalls and anti-malware software, encryption of information during its transfer, restriction of access to cardholder information, etc.
Who can grant PCI DSS certification?
Before a business can get PCI DSS certification, its security practices, measures and controls have to be properly evaluated and tested. This is typically done by Qualified Security Assessors, who are independent entities that have been certified by PCI DSS to perform compliance assessments. For larger companies, there may be an Internal Security Assessor on staff. This is a person that has been sponsored by its company to get a PCO DSS certification to perform PCI self-assessments in its own organization or company, give recommendations on how to improve security and control the fulfillment of security requirements.
Frequently asked questions about PCI DSS certification
What are the downsides of not being PCI DSS certified?
Failing to comply with PCI DSS certification requirements can result in loss of certification or, more dangerously, cause a security breach at your business. This can have huge financial implications, as your company may be required to pay fines to payment card issues or the government, pay restitution to customers whose data has been affected, plus, it can cause huge reputational loss and higher insurance premiums in the future.
Are there different compliance levels with PCI DSS?
There are four PCI DSS compliance levels depending on the number of customer transactions your company processes per year. The more transactions you have, the more complicated the security requirements to get your company certified will be.
What are PCI DSS compliance levels?
The fourth level of compliance is dedicated to companies with less than 20,000 transactions per year. Companies with over 20,000 but less than 1,000,000 transactions fall under level three of PCI DSS, businesses that have between one and six million annual transactions are at level two and all companies that process more than six million transactions every year are at level one.