PCI Compliance & Certification Best Practices for Hotels & Restaurants

Do you own or work at a hotel, restaurant, or some other type of storefront location? If so, then you know becoming complaint with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) is essential. Data breaches and cybersecurity attacks are at an all-time high these days – there’s no denying this – so it’s time to get serious about ensuring the safety and security of consumer credit card information, and it all starts with having solid understanding of essential issues relating to PCI compliance and certification for hotels, restaurants, and other storefront organizations.

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Just a quick note before we get into the essential items on PCI compliance & certification for hotels and restaurants. Did you know that documentation – policies, procedures, and other essential materials – is often the most challenging and time-consuming aspect of becoming PCI DSS compliant? That’s right, and its why storefront businesses turn to Materdei Consulting, LLC as we offer the world’s leading PCI compliance toolkits and PCI policy packets for helping businesses save thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on PCI compliance. Our toolkits are available for dozens of different industries, so visit pcipolicyportal.com today to learn more.

1. Know Where Cardholder Data Resides: Before you can even begin to start asking yourself how do I become PCI compliant, you need to undertake a fact-finding mission for determining where and how exactly do you store, process, and transmit cardholder data. Hotels and restaurants are complex businesses that have many avenues of entry for credit card data, so keep this in mind. As for origins of entry of cardholder data for hotels, think of the following:

(1). Patrons booking online, thus is cardholder data stored in some type of relational database. (2). When patrons check in to the hotel, is cardholder data also stored in some type of relational database. (3). For other venues and services in the hotel – such as paid WIFI access, bars, restaurants, gift shops, valet parking, and other areas – where and how is cardholder data stored? (4). For any third-party service providers that you engage with, do such entities “touch” and ultimately store any cardholder data?

To make sure you cover all entry/origin points of cardholder data, it’s best to develop a credit card data flow chart that shows all scenarios and how such cardholder is stored. Also, remember to think about any hardcopy documentation that could contain cardholder data, such as receipts, etc.
For restaurants, consider the following: (1). When patrons pay for goods and services, does the swipe process of their credit card result in cardholder data being stored in-house? (2) For the main Point-of-Sale platform, is cardholder data stored on any systems?

2. Determine your EXACT Reporting Requirements: There are a dizzying array of PCI DSS Self-Assessment Questionnaires (SAQ) that merchants can use for “self-assessing” against that stated PCI standards. But that’s the problem that hotels and other traditional brick-and-mortar/storefront businesses have – which SAQ to choose, and just as important, can you even do an SAQ or do you need an actual Level 1 onsite assessment performed by a Payment Card Industry Qualified Security Assessor (PCI-QSA).

As for the SAQ vs. Level 1 onsite debate, most hotels and brick-and-mortar/storefront businesses will never come close to the transaction volume required to perform a Level 1 onsite assessment, but that may still not stop your clients and prospects from asking or even “demanding” one – it’s the politics of PCI, and you’ll just have to live with it.

As for which SAQ to choose, because most hotels and brick-and-mortar/storefront businesses have multiple entry points regarding cardholder data, SAQ D is often the default SAQ document to use. Yes, it’s lengthy and complex, but it’s generally the only reporting option allowed for these businesses. You’ll also need to keep in mind that SAQ D requires comprehensive PCI policies and procedures for becoming compliant, along with performing a risk assessment, implementing security awareness training, and many other initiatives – documentation we offer in our SAQ D Policy Packet that’s available for instant download today.

3. Get Help from an Expert: Many of the Self-Assessment Questionnaires (SAQ) can be incredibly time-consuming and challenging to complete, and it’s why you need to reach out to an expert, such as the PCI DSS professionals at Materdei Consulting, LLC. We offer fixed-fee services and solutions, beginning with a PCI DSS scoping & readiness assessment, information security policies and procedures writing, assistance with understanding and completing the applicable SAQ’s, and more.

Additionally, we offer services for helping identify software and hardware solutions, scanning and penetration testing vendors/services, and much more. Your PCI compliance initiatives don’t have to be an expensive, time-consuming, and challenging endeavor, so turn to the experts today. Call us at 424-274-1952, or email us at pci@pcipolicyportal.com to learn more today. We live in a world dominated by information technology and digital payments, ultimately making PCI DSS compliance an absolute mandate for merchants and service providers storing, processing, and/or transmitting cardholder data.

4. Remediate Critical Gaps and Deficiencies: One of the most time-consuming and challenging mandates is remediation – correcting the noted gaps found during a PCI DSS scoping & readiness assessment. We offer a wide-range of remediation services and solutions, such as the following:

Technical assistance with re-configuring system components.
PCI DSS policies and procedures writing.

5. Assess all Relevant Third-Party Providers: In today’s world of businesses, it seems as if almost every business is outsourcing a critical service/function to another entity, which is fine, but necessary due-diligence measures need to be in place. Specifically, you need to readily identify all third-party entities and what critical services they provide that could impact the safety and security of cardholder data. At a minimum, best practices should include the following: (1). Requesting certification of PCI DSS compliance from relevant third-parties. (2). Providing relevant third-parties with an annual information security due-diligence questionnaire that essentially covers core InfoSec domains, such as access control, change control, network security, etc.

6. Policies and Procedures are Critical: PCI compliance & certification for hotels and restaurants also requires that such entities develop comprehensive information security policies and procedures, and other related documents. With over fifty (50) stand-alone policy documents needed for PCI compliance, the amount of time and energy needed for such an exercise can be staggering indeed, and it’s why hotels and restaurants are using our comprehensive PCI policies and procedures and toolkits.

7. Operational Initiatives are Important: Do you implement annual security awareness training? Have you performed an annual risk assessment for identifying relevant risks, threats, and how to mitigate such issues? These are two (2) examples of things that must actually be done, above and beyond developing PCI policies and procedures. It’s just another clear example of how the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) are a healthy mixture of technical, security, and operational initiatives and why compliance can be such a time-consuming and challenging endeavor.

Rapid PCI DSS Compliance for Hotels & Restaurants Starts with our PCI Toolkits

Becoming PCI DSS compliant for hotels and restaurants can often be time-consuming, challenging, and frustrating – we more than understand – and it’s why we’ve worked hard in developing industry leading PCI policies and procedures, and other supporting compliance documentation. You can now save hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on costly PCI DSS initiatives just by downloading our PCI Policy Packets for Hospitality businesses. Included are all the essential policies, forms, templates, training documents, risk assessment materials, and more, needed for helping enable rapid compliance. Visit pcipolicyportal.com today, or contact us at pci@pcipolicyportal.com to learn more.

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