The Web Developers Guide to PCI DSS Compliance
PCI DSS compliance isn’t just something you think about once a year when you have an auditor come out to make sure your business has all the correct boxes checked off on a list. It is something you do year-round in your business as a regular part of doing business. PCI compliance should be built into everything your business does, so you don’t have to scramble to make sure you are compliant when audit time comes around. If you’re only concerned about compliance when the PCI Qualified Security Assessor makes the annual visit, you are not getting the full picture of how your business handles compliance issues.
You may not be compliant most of the time, and are leaving your business open to a cybersecurity breach. There’s no certification to let you know your business has passed the compliance test. The auditor can only tell you how you’re doing right then, when they visit. Making compliance a part of your everyday business ensures your business is always protected, as much as it can be, from hackers who would steal your customers’ financial information and ruin your business’s reputation.
The Basics of PCI DSS Compliance
There are 330 requirements to be in compliance with PCI DSS. Ideally, businesses that conduct financial transactions over the Internet will become familiar with all of these, and design their business and website so they are always in compliance. Compliance becomes a normal part of doing business for that company. Remember, if your business is not in compliance, your customers’ financial information is at risk, and your business could incur fines, a loss of reputation, and even a loss of customers as a result. This could put you out of business. As can be seen, being in compliance is in your company’s best interest.
The Foundation of What You Need to Know When Developing Your Website
If your business is going to be conducting any kind of financial transactions over the Internet, compliance needs to be built into your website at the very beginning. Develop compliance into your website’s foundations, and you will always be able to feel confident that your business is operating within PCI standards. The areas of PCI guidelines you should be the most concerned with when getting your website designed are Requirements 3, 4, and 6, and their sub-sections. These requirements are the ones that pertain to how the financial information of customers, particularly credit card information, is protected by the website. These protections are easier to make a part of your website if they are built in from the beginning, rather than if you have to go back and add them in later. Protection features you will want to include in order to be compliant include encryption of the data and control over who has access to this information.
PCI and Applications
Applications are addressed by PCI Requirement 6 and its sub-sections. The requirements pertaining to applications are applied to both internal and external applications. Applications are subject to compliance standards if they transmit, process, or store credit card data and/or personal information about the people who own these cards. Applications developed by your business, and those developed by third parties for client companies to use are subject to PCI standards and must be audited by a PCI-approved auditor each year to make sure they remain in compliance.
PCI and Coding Vulnerabilities
PCI requires all coding in your website to be secure. Software developers on your team or who you hire from external companies must all be knowledgeable in how to do secure coding. This includes avoiding common coding errors that can leave your website more open to hacking and put your customers’ financial and personal data at risk of being used for nefarious purposes. Coders should also have a good understanding of how this type of sensitive data should be secured in your website’s memory. Look for coders who have been certified by a third party as being proficient in these areas.
If you are using in-house employees for your coding, give a training for them where they can become certified (either through an actual certificate or a statement of qualification). This is important, as PCI DSS considers coders and developers qualified to build PCI compliant websites once they have such qualification. Typically, qualification involves being able to identify the most common coding vulnerabilities and knowing how to resolve them.
Staying compliant with PCI requirements is important to the future of your business. Compliance is acquired in two phases. The first phase is achieving compliance. The second phase is maintaining compliance as a normal and ingrained part of the way your company conducts business. Once your business is in PCI compliance all the time, and compliance is so much a part of the way you do business that you don’t even have to think about it anymore to know you’re in compliance, then your business will have reached the pinnacle of compliance achievement; this type of achievement is the gold standard of compliance every business should aim to reach.
If you have concerns about your business being PCI compliant, you shouldn’t wait until your annual mandated audit by a PCI qualified auditor. You can employ a third-party auditor that is familiar with all the PCI requirements, like I.S. Partners, LLC, to come before the PCI auditor. I.S. Partners, LLC will let you know if you are compliant, and if you’re not, they will let you know which areas need improvement, and how to improve them. In order to give you peace of mind concerning your business and its PCI compliance, hire I.S. Partners, LLC to come audit your business quarterly. With regular audits by I.S. Partners, LLC, you will eventually become familiar with the PCI requirements yourself, so much so that using them will become a natural part of your business. Let I.S. Partners, LLC assist you in getting there. Contact us today by calling 215-675-1400 or request an online PCI Quote!