PCI DSS compliance and certification for retail stores is an absolute must as such entities are directly involved in storing, processing and transmitting cardholder data. In fact, from a fraud perspective, retail stores are high on the list when it comes to data breaches and theft of cardholder data – there’s no denying that – so it’s time to get serious about information security and protecting consumer credit card information. Nobody wants a data breach – that we can all agree on – so take note of the following 8 important items your business needs to know about regarding PCI compliance and certification for retail sources, courtesy of Materdei Consulting, LLC, the world’s leading provider of PCI policy templates and toolkits.

Our PCI Compliance Toolkits Save Retail Stores Thousands of Dollars

Before we dig into our Top 8 list for PCI compliance and certification for retail stores, remember one thing that’s very important; documentation is often the largest, most challenging, and time-consuming aspect of becoming compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). That’s right, we’re talking about the huge need for having documented information security and operational policies and procedures in place, an endeavor that can take hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to develop – but not anymore.

Thanks to our award-winning PCI Policy Toolkit for Storefront Merchants that contain all essential policies, forms, checklists, templates, and other material for helping retail stores and storefront merchants become PCI DSS compliant quickly. Learn more today at pcipolicyportal.com and start saving time and money.

The 8 Most Important Things You Need to Know Regarding PCI Compliance

1. Understand Your Exact Reporting Requirements: The vast majority of retail stores can actually perform a PCI DSS Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) simply based on the fact that they do NOT meet or exceed the stated transaction volume for having to go through an official Level 1 onsite assessment with a Payment Card Industry Qualified Security Assessor (PCI-QSA). That’s the good news. The more challenging news is that you still need to determine which of the PCI SAQ documents to use (there are a number of them, some limited strictly to e-commerce), which can be confusing in of itself. Here’s a quick snapshot of the various SAQ’s that retail stores and other storefront entities would be able to assess against for PCI DSS compliance:

SAQ B: Merchants Using Only: Imprint machines with no electronic cardholder data storage; and/or standalone, dial-out terminals with no electronic cardholder data storage. Note: Not applicable to e-commerce channels.
SAQ B-IP: Merchants using only standalone, PTS-approved payment terminals with an IP connection to the payment processor, with no electronic cardholder data storage. Note: Not applicable to e-commerce channels.
SAQ C: Merchants with payment application systems connected to the Internet, no electronic cardholder data storage. Note: Not applicable to e-commerce channels.
SAQ C-VT: Merchants who manually enter a single transaction at a time via a keyboard into an Internet-based virtual terminal solution that is provided and hosted by a PCI DSS validated third-party service provider. No electronic cardholder data storage. Note: Not applicable to e-commerce channels.
SAQ P2PE-HW: Merchants using only hardware payment terminals that are included in and managed via a validated, PCI SSC-listed P2PE solution, with no electronic cardholder data storage. Note: Not applicable to e-commerce channels.
SAQ D: SAQ D for Merchants: All merchants not included in descriptions for the above SAQ types.

Each of the above referenced SAQ’s carry with them vastly different reporting requirements, so keep this in mind. Some may require you to perform penetration testing, some many not, and the overall length, complexity, and scope of each of the above SAQ’s does differ greatly – it all depends on which one you decide to assess against. But remember this, whichever SAQ you assess against, they all require the three (3) P’s – policies, procedures, and processes – and that means documentation, which is what pcipolicyportal.com offers. Additionally, please not that SAQ A and SAQ A-EP are strictly for e-commerce merchants.

2. Know Where Cardholder Data Resides: Sounds easy enough, but you really need to sit down and assess, identify, and ultimately confirm where credit card information resides in your organization, both hard-copy and electronically. Even in today’s digital age, you’d be surprised at the number of retail stores that have cardholder data in hard-copy format, such as old invoices, purchase orders, receipts, and many other locations. Additionally, knowing where cardholder data resides ultimately means knowing how your organization captures credit card information.

It’s why it is critically important to develop a cardholder data flowchart showing the entry/origin, pathway, and exit point(s) of credit card information. When done properly, you’ll be able to readily identify where such cardholder data resides, and that’s the real intent of the exercise for retail stores seeking to become PCI DSS compliant.

3. Put in Place Necessary Documentation: Policies and procedures are a big part of today’s regulatory compliance initiatives – and especially with PCI compliance for retail stores – so it’s important to understand that amount and time effort needed for developing such materials. Do you really want to spend endless hours authoring PCI policies and procedures – probably not – so simply download the PCI Policy Toolkit for Storefront Merchants and get all the policies, forms, and templates needed for becoming PCI compliant. Perhaps you already have policies in place, but are they written to the exact standards of the PCI framework, and are they even current? Save yourself time and money by using professionally developed, high-quality PCI policies and procedures from pcipolicyportal.com.

4. Implement Security Awareness Training: One of the very best initiatives any business can do – especially retail stores – in terms of helping protect their organization is to put in place comprehensive security awareness training. The world we live in today is radically different from just ten years ago, with threats seemingly everywhere, so now’s the time to get serious about protecting organizational assets, and it begins with high-quality, professionally developed security awareness training programs.

pcipolicyportal.com offers professionally researched and developed PCI security awareness training materials for instant download today as part of the PCI Policy Toolkit for Storefront Merchants. The material is easy-to-use, incredibly comprehensive, and well-written. Forget about spending thousands of dollars on online training for PCI security awareness – use our materials instead!

5. Be on the Lookout for Fraud: It is retail after all, which means fraud is going to happen, no question about it. With that said, you’ll have to keep an eye on the shoplifters, but also people who try to use stolen credit cards to purchase goods. But perhaps the biggest fraud scheme to watch for is internal employees using card skimmers at the Point-of-Sale (POS) devices. Yes, unfortunately internal employees are often the most dangerous types of individuals when it comes to cardholder data breaches. Because of this, retail businesses need to regularly inspect the POS devices, essentially looking for card-skimming readers, and anything else unusual.

6. Implement Security Awareness Training: The real advantage of PCI security awareness training for retail stores is that employees gain valuable knowledge relating to essential security issues, threats, and best practices. But it also let’s your workforce know that YOUR business is serious about cardholder data security. This invariably makes malicious employees sometimes think twice before purporting some type of internal fraud, as they know the business owner is wise to such tactics and practices. Your internal employees are much more likely to cause greater financial damage and stress in terms of fraud than external individuals – sad but true.

7. Perform a Risk Assessment: Assessing risk is a critical element for any merchant seeking to enhance profits, minimize threats to the organization, while continuing to have a business that’s sustainable for the long-term. Sure, a risk assessment is a requirement for PCI DSS compliance, but it’s also a good idea, and something that every organization should perform. After all, don’t you want to know about threats and challenges that can cause major issues and constraints with your business – sure you do – so perform a risk assessment today and get the answers you need.

Our PCI Policy Toolkit for Storefront Merchants comes complete with a comprehensive, yet easy-to-use risk assessment program, and it’s available for instant download today at pcipolicyportal.com.

8. Continuous Monitoring should be the New Norm: PCI compliance for retail stores also means employing “Continuous Monitoring” activities, the initiatives undertaken for monitoring and ultimately making changes to one’s internal controls for ensuring continued compliance. It can be a difficult challenge, but with high-quality documentation from pcipolicyportal.com, one’s monitoring functions just became that much easier.

Some of the specific items you’ll need to undertake for continuous monitoring is ensuring that Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals/devices have not been tampered with, that employees do not have resources to steal cardholder data, that annual security awareness training is undertaken, and much more. Becoming PCI compliant is one thing, but maintaining it is a whole different battle. For assistance, contact us today at pci@pcipolicyportal.com to learn more about the industry leading services and solutions offered by Materdei Consulting, LLC regarding PCI compliance for retail businesses throughout North America. PCI compliance for retail entities doesn’t have to be an expensive and time-consuming proposition; hire us and we’ll show what needs to be done.

The World’s Leading Provider of PCI Policies & Toolkits for Retail Stores

Becoming PCI DSS compliant is a strict requirement for retail stores, so download the PCI Policy Toolkit for Storefront Merchants today and save hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on PCI compliance. Since 2009, Materdei Consulting, LLC – the founders of pcipolicyportal.com – have helped thousands of retails businesses all throughout North America with PCI compliance. From high-quality PCI policies and procedures to professional consulting services – and more – we are the trusted leader for PCI compliance. Visit our website today at pcipolicyportal.com, or contact us at pci@pcipolicportal.com to learn more.

We also offer expert guidance and recommendations on various tools and other security initiatives for helping retail stores becoming PCI compliant. From vulnerability scanning tools to File Integrity Monitoring providers, we have a list of high-quality, cost-effective vendors with proven solutions for helping merchants become PCI DSS compliant.