Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance is a topic that’s important for businesses of all sizes. However, what’s required of larger businesses is much different than what’s required of smaller businesses. If you want to make this issue a priority, but aren’t exactly sure where to start, you’re definitely not alone.
This is something that plenty of businesses struggle to get going, so we’ve put together a helpful list of steps that will help large businesses achieve and maintain PCI compliance.
1. Start with a Risk Assessment
The best way to understand what your business really needs to nail down in regards to processing payments is through a risk assessment. By conducting a risk assessment, you’ll be able to identify the issues that pose a threat to your business. Knowing about these risks instead of having them remain unknown will allow you to fully understand them and then take the right approach to mitigating them.
2. Know Your Scope
There are a lot of different elements of a larger business that may have an impact on how secure cardholder data is at any time, including payment processes and the people who process those payments. The same is true for technology like workstations, applications, servers and networking devices. Many larger businesses find that the best way to fully understand their scope of exposure is to utilize a flow diagram that shows exactly where all cardholder data goes through the organization.
3. Segment, Then Scan and Test
Even though creating segmentation that meets PCI compliance requirements can be a challenge, it’s a very important step. The purpose of segmentation is to separate systems that play a role in handling credit card data from systems that don’t. The benefit of segmenting is, once it’s done, it will actually reduce how much time, money and other resources are required to maintain PCI compliance. Most larger businesses accomplish segmentation through a combination of physical gaps and firewalls.
When segmentation is complete, you’ll want to adopt a practice of regularly performing vulnerability scans and penetration tests. This will alert you to any new security holes and provide an opportunity to remedy them before they turn into much bigger problems.
4. Train and Document
Research has found that over half of all data breaches are caused by employees or partners of large businesses. This statistic highlights just how critical it is to make payment and data security training a priority. In addition to training, all these efforts should be documented in a way that keeps everything organized and simple for employees to look over.
There’s no question that larger businesses need to invest some resources to get PCI compliance right. But that doesn’t mean this pursuit has to be stressful or feel like an uphill battle. One of the most important components for success is the right payment processing. By choosing a payment processing company that will take its role as a partner to your business seriously, you’ll have a much easier time getting all the pieces in place for PCI compliance.