PCI DSS stands for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It is a set of information security protocols that are targeted at reducing fraudulent payment card transactions. The protocol set aims to do this by enhancing the security layers around cardholder's data. Doing so helps to protect customer information from unauthorized access.

PCI DSS has resulted from the collaboration between multiple payment providers such as Discover, American Express, MasterCard, and Visa. The standard is implemented by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI-SSC).

The PCI-SSC aims to enhance data security standards by providing for and implementing a range of provisions that aim to secure cardholder's data, at all times. The DSS provides the required framework that's needed for the development of a well-rounded payment card data security protocol.

What requiremnets are necessary?

The  12 Requirements

That Ensure PCI DSS Compliance

Use Of And Maintenance Of Firewalls

Firewalls help to prevent unauthorized access to and from a network. By means of firewalls, providers can protect credit card systems from falling prey to malicious online entities. This makes them an integral part of the PCI DSS compliance.

Appropriate Password Policies

This involves periodically changing the password of devices such as POS terminals, modems, and routers. Also, a device-to-password mapping inventory needs to be maintained for adequate password protection.

Cardholder Data Protection

This requirement specifies that all cardholder data must be protected by means of adequate encryption. Further, encryption keys must also be properly encrypted and stored securely.

Encryption Of Data In-Transit

This specifies that all cardholder data in transit across networks must also be encrypted using the required protection standards.

Adequate Use Of Anti-Virus Software

The use of properly updated and patched antivirus software is one of the essential requirements for the maintenance of card-data security.

Regular Updates

All software systems used in the maintenance and security of card data must be regularly patched and updated. This is essential to maintaining the integrity of the system.

Restricted Access To Card Data

PCI DSS requires that card data is shared only with those sections of the workforce that strictly need access. What's more, the roles and employees that do handle card data need to be carefully documented and vetted.

Individually Unique Access IDs

Further, any and all employees that do handle cardholder data need to have separate login credentials to the system. This is needed to maintain responsibility and adhere to the right accountability measures.

Limited Physical Access

Digital security measures notwithstanding, all cardholder data must be stored in a secure location and be kept under physical lock and key. Furthermore, all access to such data must be logged to maintain strict vigilance.

Systematic Logging Of Access Data

One of the major oversights that take place when accessing cardholder data is the lack of a systematic logging mechanism. PCI DSS requires that each and every access to sensitive cardholder data be logged and recorded for future access.

Regular Tests And Scans

The above ten security measures involve a large number of software systems, physical barriers, and personnel. In general, any of these can spring security leaks at any time. That's why regular security scans and tests are essential to ensure their continued compliance.

Detailed Documentation

Finally, every action that's taken regarding the safety of cardholder data must be documented and stored in a safe location. Detailed documentation is essential for ensuring cardholder security.

The Benefits Of Complying


PCI DSS compliance can seem to be a daunting endeavor at the outset. The sheer number of regulations and standards requiring compliance can seem to be too massive to handle.

However, once begun, compliance can actually be a much-needed aspect of the cardholder data security process.

With the right tools, PCI DSS compliance can have several benefits, some of which are listed below.

Enhanced System Security

PCI DSS compliance ensures that your customer care information is secure. This breeds trust in your business and leads to longtime customer relationships.

Better Market Reputation

PCI DSS compliance enhances your market reputation. This leads to better business relationships and improved partnerships.

Continued System Security

Compliance with the PCI DSS standards ensures that your digital systems remain secure, both in the present and in the future.

Makes Compliance With Other Standards Easier

PCI DSS compliance paves the way for compliance with other data security standards such as HIPAA etc.

Enhanced Infrastructural Efficiency

PCI DSS compliance leads to continuous improvement in your IT infrastructure. This enhances the efficiency and efficacy of the system.

What Non-compliance Can Invite
Lack of compliance with PCI DSS standards can actually invite disastrous outcomes. A business stakes a lot to acquire and hold customers. One single lapse can destroy it all. Compromised cardholder data can negatively impact customers, business partners, and all related stakeholders. Plus, even a single lapse can severely harm your market reputation.

Apart from a massive loss of business and credibility, a lack of compliance can invite a drop in share prices and a plummeting market valuation, not to mention lawsuits and fines.

The above clearly indicates that PCI DSS compliance is essential for the continued success of your business.

Who Needs To Be Compliant With PCI DSS? 
Any and all businesses that deal with sensitive cardholder data must become PCI DSS compliant.

For example, merchants that accept credit and debit card payments, business service providers, and even third-party agencies that have access to card information need to be PCI DSS compliant.

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