PCI DSS Best Practices for Merchants for PCI Certification

PCI DSS best practices for merchants consists of businesses understanding a number of key components relevant to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).  While many merchants – and service providers – often get into a costly and time-consuming engagement regarding PCI compliance, it’s something that can often be avoided.  What you need is the knowledge and understanding of the entire PCI DSS landscape, and that begins by taking note of our PCI DSS best practices for merchants.

PCI DSS best practices for merchants consists of businesses understanding a number of key components relevant to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).  While many merchants – and service providers – often get into a costly and time-consuming engagement regarding PCI compliance, it’s something that can often be avoided.  What you need is the knowledge and understanding of the entire PCI DSS landscape, and that begins by taking note of our PCI DSS best practices for merchants.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards are not going away, in fact, they’ll continue to increase in terms of complexity and security requirements, so now’s the time to get serious about PCI compliance.

PCI Policy Templates for Merchants for Instant Download

Before we get into the PCI DSS best practices list, just a quick note that one of the most time-consuming and demanding requirements for PCI compliance is documentation. More specifically, you need to have in place a wide-range of InfoSec policies and procedures for becoming PCI DSS compliant.  But it’s much more than just policies, it’s also about implementing key operational initiatives, such as performing a risk assessment, undertaking security awareness training, monitoring third-party providers.  These mandates require documentation to fulfill the task, and it’s why pcipolicyportal.com offers PCI policy templates and toolkits for instant download today.

Looking to save hundreds of operational hours and thousands of dollars on PCI DSS compliance, then consider downloading the PCI policy templates and toolkits today. We offer SAQ policy packets, along with documentation for Level 1 onsite audits, so visit pcipolicyportal.com to learn more.  Now, back to the PCI DSS best practices list!

6 Important PCI DSS Best Practices for Merchants/Service Providers

1. Understand the True Intent and Scope of PCI:  Many merchants and service providers start off poorly with PCI compliance largely because they fail to understand the true meaning of what PCI compliance actually means.  Here’s what you need to know. It’s not some simple, check-the-box assessment that can be done in a few hours.  It’s not something you can ignore and pick up on the 11th hour of a deadline and hope to become compliant.  PCI compliance is about a change in culture and ideology for an organization.

It requires a true commitment to understanding today’s security issues, challenges, threats – and best practices – facing businesses.  Additionally, PCI compliance is an assessment process that “can” potentially require a large number of security tools/solutions to be acquired, along with developing a wide-range of PCI policies.  Both the technical and documentation aspect of PCI compliance can become challenging, so keep this in mind.  Bottom line, just be forewarned that PCI compliance is often not a “walk in the park”.  So, where to start, with a scoping & readiness assessment – our next PCI DSS best practices recommendation.

2. Be Aware of Critical Scoping Considerations: What business functions do you perform that result in the storing, processing, and/or transmittal of cardholder data for your business? What actual system components, people, physical locations, and third-party organizations are in scope for PCI compliance? How does one determine the maturity of each of the PCI test requirements and what steps have to be taken for remediating such issues?  Questions look and sound familiar to you? If so, that’s because these are common concerns businesses have with PCI compliance, and they can be fully addressed with a well-planned and executed PCI DSS scoping & readiness assessment.

Getting the answers before such scoping issues become a problem is one of the real benefits of performing a PCI scoping & readiness assessment, and it’s why Materdei Consulting – the founders of pcipolicyportal.com – offer fixed-fees for such services.  Contact us today at pci@pcipolicyportal.com to learn more about our PCI scoping & readiness assessment services and other PCI DSS best practices for merchants and service providers.

3. Know that REMEDIATION is Coming: We like to call it the big R.  Remediation is just a way of life in the world of PCI DSS compliance as no organization has a fully mature, completely PCI compliant environment.  That’s ok, because remediating gaps and deficiencies serves two (2) great purposes. One, it’s helps in establishing industry leading, best practices relating to the broader subject of information security, and secondly, you become PCI compliant.  It’s a win-win, so let Materdei Consulting, LLC help get you there with our proven PCI remediation services.

Specifically, we can assist in finding the right security tools and solutions, developing outstanding PCI policies and procedures for you, actively assist in completing the applicable PCI Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ), and more. Merchants and service providers have been turning to Materdei Consulting, LLC since 2009, so consider us for all your PCI DSS needs.  To learn more about PCI DSS Best Practices for Merchants for PCI Certification, visit pcipolicyportal.com today.

4. PCI Policies and Procedure are Essential: While we touched on the importance of documentation, let’s expand on this topic to provide a better understanding of the need for PCI policies and procedures, and other supporting documents.  Remember, authoring documentation in terms of policies can be an incredibly time-consuming process, something that can become even more frustrating if you try and modify existing policy documents.  One of the most common answers we receive when asking businesses if they have InfoSec documents in place is, “Yes, and we’ll just modify them for purposes of PCI compliance.”

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy as re-writing and changing existing policies for PCI compliance is actually more time-consuming than completely starting over and using our documents – it really is!  Our PCI policy templates and toolkits contain all the necessary policies, forms, templates, checklists – and more – for helping meet the rigorous documentation needs for PCI – and the material is available for instant download today at pcipolicyportal.com.

Yet the PCI policy toolkits offer more than just policies, you’ll also receive security awareness training materials, risk assessment forms, vendor management templates, and much more.  Policies are important, but so are the numerous operational initiatives that must be carried out for PCI compliance.  As to the specific policy packets, they’re available for Level 1 onsite assessments, along with the following PCI DSS Self-Assessment Questionnaires:

  • SAQ A
  • SAQ A-EP
  • SAQ B
  • SAQ B-IP
  • SAQ C
  • SAQ C-VT
  • SAQ P2PE-HW
  • SAQ D for Merchants
  • SAQ D for Service Providers

Want to save thousands of dollars and dozens of operational hours, then visit pcipolicyportal.com to learn more about our services and solutions for businesses all throughout the globe.  When it comes to PCI DSS best practices for merchants, documentation is one element you need to be vitally aware of.

5. Assess your Third-Party Vendors:  Do you outsource critical services to another business? If so, does any element of your outsourcing activities include a third-party storing, processing, and/or transmitting cardholder data? If so, such organizations need to be PCI DSS compliant, and you have an obligation for ensuring security controls are in place for protecting cardholder data.  One of the challenges, however, is putting in place a formalized, structured plan for assessing a third-party’s security controls, but not anymore, thanks to pcipolicyportal.com, who now offers a vendor and third-party management solution that’s comprehensive, easy-to-use and available for instant download today at pcipolicyportal.com.

6. Engage in “Continuous Monitoring”: So, you’ve become PCI DSS compliant, that’s great, but now the real fun begins with continuous monitoring; the process of inspecting, assessing, and enhancing one’s control environment on a regular basis for ensuring continued compliance with the PCI DSS framework.  We can assist, as our documentation helps for ensuring continuous monitoring efforts are performed – and successful!  To learn more about PCI DSS Best Practices for Merchants for PCI Certification, visit pcipolicyportal.com today.

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