SternX Technology has reached a major milestone in its cybersecurity services by attaining compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
This achievement demonstrates our commitment to implementing the most stringent data protection controls to secure our clients’ sensitive cardholder information.
For those unfamiliar, PCI DSS is a set of comprehensive requirements for enhancing payment account data security. It was developed by the PCI Security Standards Council, which includes the major card brands like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and JCB.
Adhering to PCI DSS guidelines is mandatory for any merchant or service provider that processes, stores or transmits cardholder data.
PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It is a set of comprehensive requirements for enhancing payment account data security, developed by the PCI Security Standards Council. The Council includes five major card brands – Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover and JCB.
The PCI DSS requirements apply to any entity that stores, processes or transmits cardholder data. This includes merchants, payment processors, financial institutions, service providers, and any other organization that handles payment cards as part of their business.
Compliance is mandatory for these entities in order to ensure the security of payment card data.
PCI DSS consists of 12 core requirements categorized into six logical control areas.
- Building and Maintaining a Secure Network – Requirements like installing and maintaining firewalls, changing vendor-supplied defaults like passwords and encryption keys, and properly configuring wireless networks.
- Protecting Cardholder Data – Masking PAN when displayed, implementing data encryption, restricting physical access to cardholder information, and maintaining proper data retention and disposal policies.
- Maintaining a Vulnerability Management Program – Implementing processes to identify, track, and remediate vulnerabilities in systems components. Applying critical security patches in a timely manner.
- Implementing Strong Access Control Measures – Restricting physical access to data and systems to authorized personnel. Assigning unique IDs for access and enforcing strong password policies. Restricting user access to the least privileges needed to perform job functions.
- Regularly Monitoring and Testing Networks – Tracking access and changes on critical systems through audit logging. Conducting regular scans to identify vulnerabilities and intrusions. Performing penetration tests to find weaknesses.
- Maintaining an Information Security Policy – Establishing comprehensive information security policies for personnel to follow. Conducting security awareness education and training. Ensuring security procedures are integrated into business processes.
There are over 200 sub-requirements that provide specific guidelines under each of the 12 PCI DSS requirements above. For example, requirement 8 mandates that organizations assign a unique identification to each person with computer access.
To achieve compliance, an organization must satisfy each PCI DSS requirement, have this validated by an independent Qualified Security Assessor, and submit compliance reports to the acquiring banks and card brands they work with. Compliance is assessed annually, and whenever there are major changes to the environment that could impact security.
The benefits of complying with PCI DSS are substantial.
It minimizes the risk of card data breaches, protects cardholder privacy, avoids costly fines and reputational damage, and meets contractual obligations with partners. Most importantly, it demonstrates to customers a commitment to managing their sensitive payment card data securely.
PCI DSS 3.2.1 is the latest version, released in May 2018. It clarifies certain requirements and adds additional guidance around multi-factor authentication and penetration testing. As threats evolve, so does the standard, to address emerging risks.
With payment cards being a dominant transaction method globally, the PCI Security Standards Council will continue enhancing these requirements to ensure cardholder data is protected with the latest and most rigorous security controls. Any organization handling payment card information should make achieving and maintaining PCI DSS compliance a top priority. Doing so is fundamental to information security best practices.
Obtaining PCI compliance involves a rigorous audit by an independent Qualified Security Assessor. We successfully completed this assessment, affirming that our people, processes and technology for managing card data all adhere to PCI DSS requirements.
Some key aspects of PCI DSS compliance include:
- Building and maintaining a secure payment card data environment.
- Protecting cardholder data through encryption and access controls.
- Implementing strong access control measures like multi-factor authentication.
- Regularly monitoring and testing security systems and processes.
- Maintaining an information security policy and procedures
Achieving PCI compliance is no small feat – it requires an organization-wide commitment to constant vigilance in protecting cardholder information.
For SternX Technology, some major steps we took included:
- Upgrading our systems to use point-to-point encryption for card data.
- Instituting multi-factor authentication across all systems accessing payment information.
- Establishing internal vulnerability scanning and penetration testing programs.
- Creating a formal incident response plan for any suspected data breach.
- Training all personnel involved with payment cards on PCI DSS and security best practices.
Complying with PCI DSS requires regular internal and external audits, staff training, policy reviews and technology upgrades to maintain compliance. We have invested heavily in meeting these standards because we understand how much our clients value the security of their customers’ payment information.
Our entire team is proud of this accomplishment. It demonstrates to clients that SternX Technology takes enterprise data security seriously and will always go above and beyond to protect sensitive assets. With PCI DSS compliance, customers can confidently trust us to securely manage card data and provide cybersecurity services.
For our company, PCI compliance advances several key business objectives:
- Instilling Trust with Customers – Our customers expect that we meet the highest security standards when handling payment card data. PCI compliance validates that we have the people, processes and systems to prevent data compromises, protect cardholder privacy, and maintain brand reputation. Customers can confidently provide us with their data, knowing it is in good hands.
- Meeting Partner Requirements – Many of our technology partners require PCI compliance to share data or integrate services. Attaining compliance opens partnership opportunities to enhance our offerings with value-added capabilities. Maintaining compliance ensures we meet partners’ rigorous security standards.
- Qualifying for More Business Opportunities – Certain industries and government entities mandate PCI compliance for their vendors. Federal, state and local agencies often include PCI DSS adherence in RFPs and contracting requirements. By meeting these standards, we qualify for more government and regulated industry business opportunities.
- Reducing Risk of Costly Data Breaches – A payment card data breach can result in substantial costs from fines, legal liabilities, lost business and reputational damage. PCI standards minimize these risks by hardening our defenses against cyberattacks. Compliance demonstrates our commitment to security, lowering risks that translate to real financial costs.
With this achievement, SternX Technology has clearly established itself as a trustworthy provider of cybersecurity services that takes protecting client data as seriously as any organization can.
If your business requires assistance managing payment card data or improving information security, contact SternX Technology to learn more about our PCI compliant offerings. We have the validated capabilities to be your partner in implementing robust cyber defenses.