PCI Certification Tips and Best Practices from a PCI-QSA

Are you a merchant or service provider that’s been through an annual on-site assessment by a Payment Card Industry Qualified Security Assessor (PCI QSA), or are looking to achieve compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) initiatives in the near future? Want to avoid having your PCI engagement turn into a nightmare? If so, take note of the experiences and first-hand accounts from a highly qualified PCI compliance firm that’s worked with numerous companies regarding PCI certification, and that’s Materdei Consulting, LLC. While we’re widely known throughout the world as the leading provider of PCI policies and compliance packets, we also offer high-quality, professional consulting and advisory services to merchants and service providers throughout North America. Visit pcipolicyportal.com today to learn more.

We’re Experts at Turning PCI Compliance into an Efficient Process

PCI DSS compliance is fast becoming one of the most widely recognized compliance initiatives around the globe, and for good reason. If your organization – which is traditionally defined as a merchant or service provider in the world of PCI compliance – is directly involved in the processing, storage, or transmission of transaction data or cardholder, then without question you are a candidate for PCI DSS compliance.

But how difficult can PCI compliance be? After all, you simply follow the prescribed matrix from the PCI Security Standards Council, implement the requirements and “check the box”, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. PCI DSS assessments often turn into engagements of nightmarish proportions as personnel involved within the assessment itself fail to effectively plan and strategize for the following 4 key areas.

4 Important Components for PCI DSS Compliance

Perform an upfront PCI DSS Scoping & Readiness Assessment: You need to crawl before you walk – as the old saying goes – and with that said, successful PCI DSS engagements can only be achieved when you undertake an actual PCI DSS scoping & readiness assessment BEFORE the engagement commences. Crucial to the overall on-site assessment, a well-planned and executed scoping & readiness assessment effectively defines scope, identifies personnel to be involved in the process, while also assessing critical gaps and deficiencies that require remediation. Make no mistake, when a PCI DSS scoping & readiness assessment is done correctly, EVERY company will have a marginal to meaningful amount of remediation to conduct, and that’s because no organization has a picture-perfect control environment.

You need to be aware of missing documents, gaps in operational procedures, features to enable on various security tools, and much more, and that’s exactly what Materdei Consulting, LLC offers, all at a competitively priced fixed-fee. Contact us today at pci@pcipolicyportal.com to learn more.

Policies and Procedures are Incredibly Important: As one of North America’s leading PCI DSS consulting firms, we can’t tell you how many times prospective or actual clients ask, “Where can I find PCI policy and procedure templates” or “how much do you charge to write them, because we just don’t have the time”. The point is that developing policies and procedures for PCI DSS compliance is often one of the most time-consuming aspects of the engagement itself. Shocked at that statement? You shouldn’t be. Read through the PCI requirements matrix lately? We’ve counted approximately three dozen “tests” throughout the 12 functional PCI requirements that call for a documented policy or procedure. Our advice is to find a reputable vendor that provides policies and procedures –such us the products we offer – and download them today.

Unexpected Operational Time Commitments: Familiar with two-factor authentication, a web application firewall (WAF), or file integrity monitoring (FIM), just to name a few catchy PCI phrases? If not, and you’re considering tackling PCI compliance, then you need to invest considerable operational time commitments into implementing many of the tools and appliances required by PCI. And here’s what’s interesting; many of these tools can be had via open source-requiring minimal costs to obtain usage rights for them. Thus, it’s generally not the financial costs to obtain these tools that cause significant strains on PCI engagements, rather, the unplanned operational time commitments in provisioning and hardening these tools within the cardholder data environment.

Continuous Monitoring can be Challenging: Once you’ve become PCI DSS compliant, the fun just begins because annual compliance is mandatory. That’s right, ensuring your policies, procedures, and processes are in place and control are operating as designed can be a time-consuming process, but it’s got to be done, hence the requirement of “Continuous Monitoring” comes into play. Contact us today at pci@pcipolicyportal.com to learn more about our nationwide PCI DSS consulting, certification, and compliance services for merchants and service providers.

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