PCI Audit? Follow the Complete PCI-DSS Certification Checklist 2022

PCI-DSS audit

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Over the years, traditional transactions have drastically shifted online. While online and credit-card payments have made it easy for us to transmit money from anywhere in the world, payment security remains a challenge for many organizations. Here, PCI-DSS certification comes into play. 


What is PCI-DSS Certification?


How is A PCI-DSS Audit Performed?


Why is the PCI-DSS Certification necessary?


PCI-DSS Certification Cost


PCI-DSS Compliance Checklist


Why Enterprises Choose CyberArrow?


What is PCI-DSS Certification?


Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, also known as PCI-DSS, is a set of requirements and regulations that ensures the security of cardholder data when any organization accepts, stores, processes, and transmits credit card payments. PCI-DSS certification makes sure that organizations comply with PCI-DSS requirements.


With the advancement in internet usage, many organizations brought their payment processing systems online. Organizations benefit from online credit card transactions, and consumers feel comfortable with making transactions from the comfort of their homes.


While organizations and consumers celebrated the use of online payments, the security of cardholder data remained a global issue. In 2004, the five biggest credit card companies set forth PCI-DSS requirements to help cope with this issue. Since then, PCI-DSS certification is mandatory for organizations that deal with credit card payments.


The five credit card companies – Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and JCP, implemented PCI-DSS as a response to increasing data theft. They also established a PCI Security Standard Council that was made responsible for managing PCI-DSS compliance standards. 


PCI-DSS applies to:


  • Card Readers
  • Online payment applications
  • Shopping carts
  • Payment card data stored in paper records
  • Payment card data transmission
  • Stored network and wireless access router 


All requirements of PCI-DSS certification are not the same. They can vary from organization to organization based on their processing volume. In this regard, the PCI Security Standard Council has made four levels of PCI-DSS compliance. 


4 levels of PCI-DSS Certification 


4 levels of PCI-DSS certification

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  • Level 1

Merchants with more than six million online transactions per year must undergo an internal audit once a year. Also, they must submit a PCI scan quarterly by an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV).


  • Level 2

Merchants in this level have to complete an assessment using a Self-Assessment questionnaire (SAQ) once a year. Additionally, they may have to perform a quarterly scan in the organization.


  • Level 3

Merchants in this level also have to complete an assessment using SAQ once a year. 


  • Level 4

Merchants in this level have to to do an assessment using SAQ once a year. Additionally, they need to perform a quarterly PCI scan.


How is a PCI-DSS Audit Performed? 


A PCI audit is a kind of examination by the PCI Security Standard Council to check whether your organization complies with the standard or not. The PCI-DSS certification audit is performed by a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA).  


The security assessors are professionals who run audits at your organization to check your compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). It is performed by checking your internal operations. For a PCI audit, you work with a professional security assessor who performs an onsite audit of your information security controls, policies, and security practices. 


You can also sponsor your organization’s auditor for PCI SSC training and certification. The auditor will then be appointed as an Internal Security Assessor (ISA) to run annual PCI-DSS certification audits. 


Your organization has to pass the PCI audit so that ISA and QSA can send a Report of Compliance (ROC) to your acquired bank. Additionally, you can maintain PCI compliance by running vulnerability tests and risk assessments to keep your payment data secure and private.


Best Tools to perform PCI-DSS Audit?


It is necessary to perform a PCI-DSS audit in your organization. However, choosing the right tools for PCI-DSS compliance can sometimes become difficult. Efficient auditing tools can help organizations understand where they lack in following the PCI-DSS requirements and help them comply with those requirements. 


Some of the best free and paid tools to perform PCI-DSS Audit are:


  • Splunk Enterprise
  • CyberArrow
  • Netwrix
  • ADAudit Plus
  • ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager


Make use of the best tools to stay compliant with the PCI-DSS certification. 


Why is the PCI-DSS Certification necessary? 


It is obvious. No organization wants their customer’s sensitive data to get leaked. While working in online transactions, it is crucial to secure private cardholder data, which includes the cardholder’s name, primary account number (PAN), credit card service code, and expiration date.


They must also protect sensitive authentication data, including CAV2, CVC2, CVV2, CID, PINs, PIN blocks, and more.


As we know, this data is very sensitive and a data breach in the organization can lead to severe consequences, such as bank account theft of the organization and its consumers.


PCI-DSS certification is necessary to protect cardholder’s sensitive data and secure against data breaches. Non-compliance with PCI-DSS can put your company at risk, resulting in cybercrime, severe data theft, and heavy fines. 


Benefits of PCI-DSS Compliance


Compliance with the PCI-DSS certification will:


  • Build trust among customers
  • Help prevent a data breach
  • Help put security first
  • Help meet global standards of security
  • Reap Financial benefits


PCI-DSS Certification Cost


PCI-DSS certification cost depends on the size and level of your company. Small companies can expect to pay between $300 to $500 yearly, and large organizations pay between $50k to $70k yearly.  Organizations between levels 1 and 4 can expect to pay somewhat between the cost range of level 1 and level 4.


For example, the risk compliance cost at CyberArrow starts from $1500 monthly to $11000 yearly, depending on your company’s size.


PCI-DSS Compliance Checklist


PCI-DSS Compliance Checklist

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The compliance requirements for PCI-DSS certification by the PCI security standard council consist of the following steps:


  • Install & maintain firewalls


Installing firewalls protects your systems and processors from cybercrimes. It is the first step to following PCI-DSS compliance. Firewalls keep your information secure from outgoing and incoming network traffic.


  • Implement password protection 


It is essential to implement password protections on your systems. Never use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords. Strong passwords can help you create a defense against hackers and data breaches. 


  • Protect cardholder data


Another important thing to consider in the PCI-DSS compliance checklist is the protection of cardholder data. You need to protect data using different encryption methods so that no one can tackle the cardholder’s sensitive information. 


  • Encrypt data transmitted across public networks


Organizations use multiple channels to transmit data, including system processors, homes, offices, etc. Data transmitted through these channels must be encrypted properly to protect it and comply with the PCI-DSS regulations.  


  • Protect against malware


Hackers can get into the system through different malware. PCI-DSS compliance checklist requires you to install and regularly update the anti-virus on the devices that interact with or store PAN.


  • Update software 


As firewalls and antiviruses need to be updated regularly, so do the software and applications the organization uses. Regular software updates discover new patches to address vulnerabilities and provide new security levels.


  • Restrict access to cardholder’s data by business need-to-know


PCI-DSS certification requires you to restrict access to cardholder’s data. Not every executive, employee, or third-party needs to know the stored information, and they should not have access to it. 


  • Create unique IDs for access 


The employees who need access to the cardholder’s data should be assigned unique credentials, such as ID name and password. Also, the unique ID assigned should not be used by anyone else. 


  • Restrict physical access


Physical access to data should also be restricted. Any space or storage where data is kept should not be accessed by everyone. 


  • Create and maintain an access log


Another thing to consider in the PCI-DSS certification is the creation and maintenance of access logs. Every time there is a need to access the cardholder’s data, it must be properly documented to ensure accuracy and privacy. 


  • Regularly test security systems and processes


Despite complying with the PCI-DSS certification, systems can fail if not regularly tested. You must regularly check your security policies and system processes so that you can get to know if any update in the policies or processes is required. 


  • Document policies


PCI-DSS certification requires you to keep a record of all the processes, policies, equipment, software, and employees that have access to their respective roles. Document everything and every step you take to comply with the PCI-DSS.


Why do Enterprises Choose CyberArrow? 


Enterprises choose CyberArrow because of the simplicity it offers. Today’s GRC tools are very complex to handle. CyberArrow has built GRC with simplicity in mind. All-powerful features can be accessed with minimal training.


Moreover, it saves time by eliminating the need to manually handle the software. It offers automated solutions for the selected regulation or standard. Also, CyberArrow GRC supports leading standards such as UAE IA, SAMA, NCA, and ISO 27001.


In addition, it offers different modules to manage your risk assessments. These include the compliance module, risk management module, and policy management module. Not only this, CyberArrow GRC consists of powerful dashboards to report different features. 

Enterprises choose CyberArrow because it helps them automate cybersecurity GRC with ease. Make use of the best risk management solutions with CyberArrow.

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