Author Bio: Narendra Sahoo is a director of VISTA InfoSec.
The purpose of conducting a PCI DSS Audit is to validate the organization’s effectiveness of controls and implementations relating to the PCI DSS Requirements. With the recent update in the PCI DSS Compliance requirements from version 3.2.1 to 4.0, the need for conducting a PCI DSS Audit has now become all the more essential for organizations. The PCI DSS 4.0 version released on March 2022 and is said to go effective by March 2025. So, although the 3.2.1 version will remain valid and active through 2024, yet organizations are expected to prepare for the updated version through the transition phase and implement requirements as per the PCI DSS 4.0 by March 2025. For these reasons and more, we believe performing PCI Audit is essential. Covering more on this, we have today listed reasons why a business should start their PCI DSS Audit right away.
Top 5 Reasons to Start PCI DSS Audit Right Now
PCI DSS Audit is required for organizations dealing (processing, storing, transmitting) with payment card data. The Audit evaluates and validates the organization’s adherence to PCI DSS Requirements and highlights gaps in compliance. Not just that, there are several other benefits of undergoing a PCI DSS Audit that is discussed below.
1. Necessity for Merchants & Service Providers
PCI DSS Compliance and audit(https://www.vistainfosec.com/service/pci-dss-audit-certification-service/) is a necessity for all businesses dealing with payment card data. All Merchants and Service Providers that deal with Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and JCB cards are required to comply with various security levels outlined in the PCI DSS Compliance. The PCI DSS Level 1 is the highest level of standard which is mandatory for all those companies that store card data in their systems and for all those companies that provide services as service providers. Here it is important to note and understand that the secure card storage is only allowed by those companies having PCI DSS Level 1 compliance or if the service is received from a service provider compliant with the standard.
2. Support the Transition of PCI DSS 4.0 Compliance
One of the major reasons for organizations to undergo a PCI DSS Audit is to evaluate their compliance status with the updated version of PCI DSS 4.0 Compliance. Although you are maybe compliant with the earlier version 3.2.1, yet ensuring that your organization now prepares for the updated version is essential in the transition phase, before the latest version goes effective in 2025. To begin with, the organization must first undergo a readiness assessment before undergoing the final audit. This is to ensure that your organization’s efforts towards compliance are in alignment with the requirements of PCI DSS 4.0. Further, this will help your organization in developing a more effective compliance strategy based on the identified gaps during the audit process.
3. Places Security First
PCI DSS compliance ensures that your organization has taken all measures to secure payment data transactions and processes online. Further, the compliance audit validates the effectiveness of multiple layers of security implemented. The audit prioritizes and enforces the highest level of security for the overall IT Infrastructure, especially in alignment with the current security threats in the industry. So, this way conducting a PCI DSS Audit keeps a check on the security measures while also ensuring that the PCI requirements are met.
4. Limits the Incident of Data Breach
As per Verizon’s 10 years of investigation and reporting on PCI DSS compliance, most of the companies that faced data breach were non-compliant. Non-compliance to PCI DSS has been a major reason for data breach. PCI DSS Audit and compliance ensures that organizations take all the possible security measures to protect sensitive customer data. The compliance process makes the organization accountable for the security of sensitive payment data. So, establishing strong cybersecurity measures through a systematic implementation of PCI requirements goes a long way in limiting the incident of data breach. Achieving compliance and implementing appropriate security measures will make it hard for hackers to hack into the network and steal data, thereby preventing the possibility of a breach or an unforeseen incident.
5. Meet Global Standards
PCI DSS Compliance is a standard and framework developed by the top 5 world’s leading credit card brands to set a standard for the protection of consumer’s payment data. It is an international standard and framework for protecting payment card data that ensures merchants meet a minimum level of security when dealing with cardholder data. The standard provides a framework for organizations to implement the highest security measures and establish the best security practice for protecting sensitive data and systems. Achieving PCI compliance allows your organization to be placed among other international retailers and businesses committed to data security standards and protecting consumers. So, achieving PCI DSS Compliance will definitely raise the security standard benchmark and allow organizations to compete at the international level.
6. Baseline for other Regulations
Achieving PCI DSS compliance means your organization has taken necessary measures to protect customer data. Further, implementing and establishing the PCI DSS framework sets a baseline framework to achieve other international security standards and frameworks for protecting sensitive data. For instance implementing PCI DSS security requirement will also facilitate with global standards and regulation like GDPR and HIPAA. Both the mentioned regulations also require organizations to implement security measures for protecting personal data and sensitive PHI data. So, establishing security measures and best practices in PCI DSS will also help achieve the requirements of other regulations like GDPR and HIPAA. So, this is definitely a good reason for your organization to consider developing and achieving PCI DSS Compliance and undergoing a PCI audit.
PCI DSS Compliance goes a long way in not just securing payment card data but also securing the reputation of the organization when it comes to dealing with customer data. It is critical that your organization provides and establishes minimum security standards for customers. This way customers also know that you are taking measures keeping in mind their best interests. On the other hand, in case of a data breach or a lack of security standards may result in a poor reputation for your business. So, performing a PCI DSS Audit isn’t just for preventing a breach and maintaining a company reputation but also for securing customer data and building a baseline framework for achieving other international standards as well.