Documenting PCI DSS-compliant Policies and Procedures

It has become trending news, with vast numbers of Credit/Debit card details being leaked on the Dark Web. The card details are crucial and highly demanded data that could sell for millions to exploit. Since 2005, data breaches that compromise millions of credit card details have been rising, affecting financial organizations’ reputations. Such data leaks happen due to improper implementation of adequate data protection policies and PCI DSS compliance.

This article will guide you in documenting PCI DSS compliance, policies, and procedure. But before digging deep, let’s check out What is PCI DSS Compliance?

What is PCI DSS Compliance?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security policies and procedures to ensure that the organization securely collects, stores, processes, and maintains cardholder information. It helps to maintain and implement the technical and operational standards to secure and protect the card details of cardholders. 

PCI DSS Compliance is mandatory for every organization that maintains card details. It is also mandatory to provide proper PCI DSS compliance documentation, including the organization’s policies, procedures, and best practices. 

Documentation for PCI DSS Compliance

Three core documentation areas are required to have a fully compliant PCI DSS. Properly written and user-understandable documentation is helpful for better understanding and supporting the organization’s requirements. This documentation should be verified and updated regularly to ensure that the organization complies with PCI standards.

  1. Policies
    Policies are instructions that define directions and guide in making effective decisions for the organization. The curated PCI DSS policies should cover all the areas, including internal and external traffic rules protecting confidential data from cyber risks. Implementing PCI DSS-compliant policies will provide evidence for the organization’s security controls and procedures.
  2. Standards
    The standards are the core component required to maintain PCI DSS compliance policies, and these PCI standards might vary based on the organization type and size. It helps to ensure that the policies are implemented to determine whether the organization complies with PCI DSS policies.
  3. Procedures
    Organizations should enforce management and personnel procedures to meet the PCI DSS requirements. These procedures contain the necessary steps to perform a compliance function, so it is essential to document each step of the procedure that helps to identify the compliance gap in the organization. A proper document helps to have a clear understanding of organizational policies and procedures, thus reducing the system’s vulnerabilities and threats.

Requirements for PCI DSS Compliance

The following are the essential requirements for PCI DSS Compliance: 

Install and update a firewall to protect cardholder data

A Firewall is the front line of defense against data attacks; it helps to mitigate unauthorized access to confidential data. Firewalls are an essential requirement for PCI DSS compliance in the organization.

Do not use vendor-supplied default system passwords and other security parameters

Changing vendor-supplied default passwords and security measures for all vendor-supplied devices, such as routers, modems, point of sale (POS) systems, etc., is essential. Documenting a list of all vendor-supplied devices helps to verify devices comply with PCI DSS.

Protect stored cardholder data

The protection of cardholder data is an essential requirement for PCI DSS. The card data must be encrypted using cryptographic algorithms, and the encryption keys must be stored securely to meet compliance.  

Encrypt transmission of cardholder data over public networks

The cardholder data is transmitted across open and public networks, which must be encrypted to protect the data from exploitation. 

Use and update anti-virus software  

Installing and updating anti-virus software is a best practice to fulfill PCI DSS compliance and it helps to identify and mitigate malicious activities in the system.

Develop and maintain secure systems and applications 

Develop and maintain the system components and software that are protected from vulnerabilities. Organizations must ensure that all internal and external software applications are held securely. 

Restrict access to cardholder data by businesses need to know

It is essential to limit access to the cardholder data strictly maintained in the organization. Only the roles that require access to sensitive data should be regularly held and updated as PCI DSS mandates.

Provide a unique ID to each resource with computer access

Assigning a unique ID helps to ensure popper user authentication for the users on system components. Unique IDs create less vulnerability and provide an on-time response if data is compromised.

Restrict physical access to cardholder data

The organization must secure the cardholder data by using appropriate entry controls to limit and monitor access to the data. Implementing and maintaining strict controls to identify and authorize data users is essential. 

Monitor all access activities to network resources

The automated audit trails are required to implement all access to the system components for each individual. It helps track and monitor network access to documented cardholder data, including all authorized users.

Regularly test security systems and processes

The essential requirement for meeting PCI DSS compliance is to scan and test for security vulnerabilities to identify and detect authorized and unauthorized access points regularly. There are many security threats associated due to improper access to the data. To mitigate that non-compliance, the PCI DSS requirement for security testing for systems and processes is essential.

Maintain a policy that defines information security for all resources

The Inventory of equipment, software, and employee details who has access to the data must be documented for compliance. It is essential to include all the security policies and procedures and the personnel’s responsibilities in the document.

Stay PCI DSS Compliant with Azpirantz

Azpirantz is a cybersecurity consulting, advisory, and service-based firm. It provides Security and Regulatory Compliance services, including PCI DSS compliance, to strengthen an organization’s security compliance requirements.