Safeguarding Cardholder Data Through PCI Compliance

The safety of consumer card account information is critical for the success of eCommerce businesses. Before they order products and services online, consumers want to be sure that their account information is safe and will not be compromised and misused. To address this need, the Credit Card Associations joined forces to create a program that spells out the procedures that eCommerce merchants must implement into their organizations in order to protect sensitive personal data.

All merchants are required to comply with the requirements set forth in the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS). The Standard is a result of a collaboration between Visa and MasterCard to create common industry security requirements for protection of sensitive cardholder information. Other credit card companies have endorsed the Standard within their their programs. The PCI consists of twelve basic requirements, grouped into seven standards.

Build and Maintain a Secure Network:

Install and maintain a firewall to protect data.
Do not use vendor-supplied passwords and other security parameters.

Protect Cardholder Data:

Protect stored data.
Encrypt transmission of cardholder data and sensitive information across public networks.

Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program:

Use and regularly update anti-virus software.
Develop and maintain secure applications.

Implement Strong Access Control Measures:

Restrict access to data on a need-to-know basis.
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.