What Is PCI Compliance?
PCI compliance is one of the most important ongoing projects in any organisation which is involved with credit card data, but what does it mean? The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of 12 technical and operational requirements set by the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) to protect credit card data. All organisations (or entities) that process, store and/or transmit credit card data have to comply with these standards.
PCI compliance is proven through auditing an organisation’s cardholder data environment (CDE), which is any network where the storage, processing and transmitting of cardholder data may occur. How an entity is audited is dependent on which of the 4 merchant levels an organisation is. Large organisations will need to employ the services of an independent Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) to validate their compliance, while smaller organisations will need to complete one or more Self Assessment Questionnaires (SAQs). Amongst other factors, depending on how you accept, process and store credit card data will determine which SAQ will need to be completed.
With all this considered, it’s little wonder that the number of organisations maintaining PCI compliance has been on the decline.
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