PCI Compliance & Certification for Cloud & SaaS Environments

PCI compliance and certification for cloud providers and SaaS vendors/platforms is a hot topic of discussion these days – and for very good reason – as the continued adoption and migration to cloud based platforms is growing larger by the day. Say goodbye to the antiquated 1990’s client-server architecture and hello to the speed, efficiency, and cost-savings of the cloud. With big rewards come big compliance mandates, which means having credit card information in the cloud requires an extra effort for ensuring the safety and security of consumer cardholder data and any other associated Personally Identifiable Information (PII). The cloud is here to stay – no question about it – so it’s time to get educated on the finer points regarding PCI compliance and certification for cloud environments such as SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.

Our PCI Toolkits for the Cloud save Businesses Thousands of Dollars

Before we get into a discussion on PCI compliance and certification for cloud businesses, just a quick primer on the importance of documentation. While the PCI DSS mandates are highly technical indeed – firewalls, routers, access control and other security topics dominate the discussion on PCI – it’s profoundly important to recognize the importance of documentation.
Did you know that literally dozens – up to fifty (50) different policies and procedures are mandated for full PCI compliance? Are you aware of the strict requirements for performing a risk assessment, along with monitoring your third-party providers? Do have security awareness training material in place as annual training is also a strict mandate for PCI DSS compliance?

You see, wherever you turn to regarding PCI compliance, documentation is a huge part of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, and it’s why we offer industry, leading award-winning PCI compliance toolkits and policy packets for cloud and SaaS vendors/platforms. Visit pcipolicyportal.com today to learn more about
PCI compliance and certification for cloud providers and SaaS vendors/platforms.

Essential “Must-Know” Facts about PCI Compliance in the Cloud

1. Different Cloud Businesses Require Different PCI Reporting. Are you a provider of cloud services to businesses or are you an actual business operating in the cloud? It’s a basic question to ask yourself and one that requires completely different PCI DSS reporting mandates depending on which function you serve. While the industry heavyweight cloud providers – Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and others – clearly have their PCI DSS ducks in a row with annual compliance, there are still a number of smaller, boutique cloud vendors that also must perform annual PCI DSS compliance.

However, the vast majority of PCI compliance in the cloud falls on the near endless number of businesses operating in the cloud and providing a form of Software as a Services (SaaS), including IaaS and PaaS offerings. From data analytics to healthcare benefit submission portals and tools, there are literally dozens – perhaps hundreds – of different cloud based businesses currently in operation.

2. If You’re a Provider of Cloud Services. The two big heavyweights of cloud services are well-known – Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure – but there are hundreds, if not more, of cloud services providers offering products, solutions, and services to clients. For these very entities, PCI DSS compliance is a must, but from a scope perspective, it’s often limited to core “Requirements” within the actual PCI DSS framework. More specifically, Requirement’s 9 and 12 are in-scope, along with partial compliance for any number of the remaining PCI DSS Requirements.

It’s important to remember that the basis for PCI compliance for cloud/SaaS/PaaS/IaaS providers/vendors begins with securing the basic elements of a network and putting in place standardized business policies and procedures, which is what Requirement’s 9 and 12 speak to. After that, the remaining Requirements can be assessed for validity based on a cloud provider’s actual services. For example, does the cloud provider offer managed services – if so – then Requirement’s 7 and 8 could be in scope. Another example would be does the cloud provider offer managed network services – if so – then certain elements of Requirement’s 9 and 10 would be in scope. In short, you need to tailor your approach to PCI DSS compliance, and it begins with sourcing a proven and trusted PCI consultants, such as the professionals at Materdei Consulting, LLC, the founders of pcipolicyportal.com.

3. If You’re a Business Operating in the Cloud. More and more businesses are moving to the cloud, which means regulatory compliance mandates are now focusing on the cloud, and such is the case with PCI. The vendor you have contracted with “should” be performing annual PCI DSS assessments, which means that some of the more notable “Requirements” out of the 12 requirements within the PCI DSS framework will already be validated (again, hopefully validated, provided your cloud provider has performed an annual PCI assessment, and most have).
For example, Requirement 9 is has to do with physical security, for which your cloud provider’s PCI compliance assessment will cover, but there’s still much to be done in terms of YOUR own PCI compliance endeavors, so keep this in mind.  Specifically, your cloud provider is essentially providing the core cloud services, so it’s up to you to implement, configure, and validated many of the other controls and business processes you are performing.

Relying on a cloud provider’s PCI DSS assessment will definitely assist in your own PCI endeavors, but it surely doesn’t cover all the requirements, so there’s work to be done on your end. Depending on the type of cloud service you’re on – SaaS, PaaS, IaaS – such requirements can greatly vary, so talk to the a PCI cloud expert today at pcipolicyportal.com.

4. Technical Remediation is Often Necessary. One of the most important elements of a successful PCI DSS audit for businesses operation in the cloud is the ability to successfully remediate various technical and security deficiencies found within one’s control environment. For example, businesses often find that network devices need to be re-configured, passwords need to be strengthened, servers need to be re-provisioned – just a few example of the many areas of technical remediation that businesses find that they need to perform. As to how little or how much technical remediation needs to be undertaken, that all depends on the maturity of one’s control environment, something that can be assessed with a PCI DSS scoping & readiness as the front end of an audit, and not after the fact. Bottom line, being proactive in terms of PCI compliance is what’s best for every business.

If you need assistance with technical remediation, we can help as we have highly experienced security consultants on hand, yet we also offer high-quality, industry leading provisioning and hardening forms and checklists available for instant download with our PCI Policy Packets for Cloud Computing & SaaS entities.

5. Policies and Procedures Are Critical.  A day doesn’t go by in our world of regulatory compliance that we don’t hear the grumbling about writing policies and procedures. It’s boring, mundane, can take dozens of hours, and nobody really wants to eagerly raise their hand and be anointed such a task. We more than understand, and it’s why Materdei Consulting, LLC launched pcipolicyportal.com in 2009 and began offering the finest PCI policies and procedures found anywhere.

Bottom line, every business undergoing annual PCI DSS compliance must have policies and procedures in place – the essential documents describing procedures and acceptable uses of an organization’s information systems. Download the PCI Policy Packets for Cloud Computing & SaaS entities today from pcipolicyportal.com and get compliant quicker and easier than ever before.

While the vast majority of businesses are very good at what they do, they’re not too terribly good at documenting their procedures, hence the need for overhauling ones information security policies and procedures often becomes an incredibly time-consuming task – that’s even if they had any polices in place at all! The solution for developing the massive amount of PCI policies and procedures in a relatively short-period of time for businesses operating in the cloud is to download the award-winning PCI compliance toolkits and policy packets for cloud and SaaS vendors/platforms at pcipolicyportal.com today. Saving hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on the development of PCI policies and procedures is what we do best, so turn to the PCI compliance and certification for cloud providers and SaaS vendors/platforms experts today.

6. There are Numerous Operational Initiatives to Implement.  Yes there are, such as implementing security awareness training for all employees, performing a comprehensive risk assessment, along with assessing third-party scope for possible PCI compliance. Such operational initiatives require much more than just a policy template, they actually require merchants and service providers to implement such measures. pcipolicyportal.com, the world’s leading provider of PCI policies and procedures and compliance toolkits, offers risks assessment documentation, security awareness training, along with a third-party/vendor management program. It’s all available for instant download today, so visit pcipolicyportal.com to learn more.

Nobody has hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to spend on time-consuming policy writing, so turn to the company that’s been helping businesses all around the world since 2009 with comprehensive and cost-effective PCI DSS service and solutions. All of our documentation has been expertly written by one of the country’s leading PCI-QSA’s, thus giving you the confidence that you’re receiving the very best materials found anywhere today.

7. The Importance of Vulnerability Scanning and Penetration Testing.  Assessing one’s network for threat vectors is critically important, and that’s exactly why the PCI DSS requirements “require” vulnerability scans and penetration tests to be performed. While not all merchants and service providers have to perform scanning and pen testing – the vast majority of PCI compliance candidates have to – thus it’s important to source a long-term scanning tool and a reputable partner for PCI vulnerability tests. Vulnerability scans are essential as they help to detect external threats and internal threats, while penetration tests simulate a real-world attack and what the consequences can be. In today’s world of growing cybersecurity threats, these two initiatives are critically important, especially regarding PCI compliance and certification for cloud providers and SaaS vendors/platforms.

8. Say Hello to the Concept of “Continuous Monitoring”.  Achieving PCI compliance is a monumental milestone, but maintaining PCI DSS compliance is often much more challenging, hence the need for implementing “continuous monitoring” initiatives – the process of assessing, changing, and ultimately enhancing one’s internal controls for continued PCI DSS compliance. We highly recommend you appoint an internal compliance person to drive such efforts, as maintaining compliance can be challenging, so having an individual with a compliance background is essential, no question about it.

9. Next Steps? Simply visit pcipolicyportal.com today and download the industry leading PCI compliance and certification for cloud providers and SaaS vendors/platforms Policy Packet today. Pcipolicyportal.com also offers in-depth consulting services for your PCI DSS needs. Email us today at pci@pcipolicyportal.com to learn more.

We are the Global Leaders for PCI Policies & Procedures and Policy Templates

What’s literally unknown to the tens of thousands of businesses in North America – and around the world – is that having to comply with PCI essentially requires developing high-quality, comprehensive PCI DSS specific policies and procedures. That’s right, compliance with PCI requires your organization to have in place literally dozens of policies, all the more reason for sourcing well-written, easy-to-use PCI templates that are available for instant download today for merchants and service providers. Let’s face it, nobody likes author PCI policies and procedures, especially technical writing that requires great concentration and time commitments from your internal personnel.

To date, there are twelve core requirements for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards Initiatives, with each requirement needing a number of policies and procedures. Count them up, one by one, and you will require approximately 50 different PCI policies and procedures for PCI DSS compliance. Why even consider spending thousands of dollars on high-priced PCI consultants – or worse – don’t try and take your old and never used information security policies and brush them up for PCI compliance. The safe and cost-effective solution is visiting pcipolicyportal.com today and downloading the very best PCI templates, found anywhere on the Internet today. When it comes to PCI compliance and certification for cloud providers and SaaS vendors/platforms, turn to the experts at Materdei Consulting, LLC.

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