PCI Compliance vs. PCI Certification

PCI Compliance vs. PCI Certification

You may be wondering if your company is PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) Compliant or is it PCI Certified. Many businesses do not even realize that there is a difference between being PCI compliant and PCI certified. In order to understand the difference between certification and compliance, we must get to the heart of the issue.

What is PCI DSS?

PCI DSS is a security standard adopted by many companies and organizations that gather, store and use customers’ payment card data for purchases of services and products. This standard is multifaceted as it includes requirements for security management, policies and procedures, network architecture, software design, and other critical protective measures. Companies must adhere to this standard in an effort to prevent unauthorized use of data, negligent data storage methods, and cyber threats in their payment account data management systems. Companies that do not meet the PCI DSS requirements are at risk of losing payment card data, or having the information stolen during a data breach. I.S. Partners offers the chance for your company to become PCI Certified.

The PCI DSS is a multifaceted security standard that includes requirements for security management, policies, procedures, network architecture, software design and other critical protective measures. The PCI DSS is comprised of 12 general requirements designed to: build and maintain a secure network; protect cardholder data; ensure the maintenance of vulnerability management programs; implement strong access control measures; regularly monitor and test networks and ensure the maintenance of information security policies.

PCI DSS Services from I.S. Partners, LLC

I.S. Partners offers a team of Qualified Security Assessors (QSAs), certified by the PCI Security Standards Council, who will determine if your data storage and security management systems meet PCI DSS standards. Our team will evaluate your organizational policies, system management, software designs and network architecture to ensure that there are effective security measures in place to protect cardholder data. We will determine if your company qualifies for certain Self-Assessment Questionnaires (SAQs), or if you may need to have a quarterly vulnerability scan.
In the case of compliance versus certification, it is easier to achieve PCI compliance. Compliance is ideal for small merchants and service providers. To become compliant, a Self-Assessment Questionnaire is designed as a self-validation tool to assess security for cardholder data. The Self-Assessment Questionnaire includes a series of yes-or-no questions for each applicable PCI Data Security Standard requirement. If you succeed in filling out the Self-Assessment Questionnaire, you are now compliant. If not, your organization may be required to state the future remediation date and associated actions, in which I.S. Partners can help.

Certification, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive process, involving a full-scale audit by a QSA and covering roughly 288 controls. These include detailed reviews of how software is developed; how engineers were trained; daily reviews of more than 200 different streams of audit events and a fully documented software development lifecycle.

It is important to note that there is essentially no difference in the requirements of PCI certification and compliance. The difference is in who verifies them and how well-documented the evidence must be. Although there are few differences in the requirements, it is important to know that compliance is a claim and certification is the proof.

I.S. Partners, LLC is the leading provider of internal audit services for businesses around the world. Let one of our trusted experts help meet your business goals. Call us at 215-675-1400 or request a PCI quote!

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