The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a new set of industry rules aimed anyone who handles (or has access to) cardholder data. It is designed to ensure that such sensitive data is safeguarded and thus help combat rising credit card fraud.
What this means and who it affects
In the simplest of terms, the rules embodied by the Standard require that every individual / organisation responsible for transmitting, accessing and generally handling payment card data adheres to a strict code of conduct regarding its protection during processing and storage.
Note that this Standard applies whether or not the data is collected online or by other means (for example telephone, fax, face to face).
The core requirements
Build and maintain a secure network
- Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data.
- Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters.
Protect cardholder data
- Protect stored cardholder data.
- Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks.
Maintain a vulnerability management program
- Use and regularly update anti-virus software.
- Develop and maintain secure systems and applications.
Implement strong access control measures
- Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know.
- Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access.
- Restrict physical access to cardholder data.
Regularly monitor and test networks
- Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data.
- Regularly test security systems and processes.
Maintain an information security policy
- Maintain a policy that addresses information security.
The full PCI DSS specification (along with several supporting documents) can be downloaded from the document library of the PCI Security Standards Council.
What you should do
If you currently operate a merchant account, then your merchant bank should have already advised you about the PCI DSS and what you need to do to comply. If they have not, we recommend that you contact them as soon as possible as it is vital that you understand the requirements of the PCI DSS and the implications it will have for your business.
Sources of further information
Below is a list of links to external website resources.
- PCI DSS advice from Barclaycard Business
- American Express card brand compliance programme
- Discover Financial Services card brand compliance programme
- JCB International card brand compliance programme
- MasterCard Worldwide card brand compliance programme
- Visa Europe card brand compliance programme
- PCI Security Standards Council
- PCI DSS library of supporting documentation