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PCI Compliance in the Cloud

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a compliance framework that businesses need to abide by, to ensure the safety of credit card information.

It was introduced in 2004 by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express and impacts all those organizations that collect, process, transfer or store cardholder data. PCI DSS has progressed over time to ensure all online systems and processes are secure enough to prevent a data breach.  

PCI compliance prerequisites organizations to build a secure network to safeguard information and prevent fraud.

The workloads on cloud are dynamic and the pace at which cloud native development takes place makes it difficult to keep pace with current trends and address all requirements. Furthermore, there is no segmentation of traditional networks or location permanence and the distributed layers in a cloud architecture makes matters worse.

These factors act as major hurdles in implementing PCI compliance for cloud native applications. Moreover, defending complicated attacks is becoming a difficulty with traditional security measures as they fall short of providing sufficient security and compliance. PCI compliance can get impacted due to inadequate network security, unprotected user access and data. 

To ensure organizations have the necessary security measures to protect sensitive data, it is vital to have PCI compliance checklist in place.

Technical essentials for PCI compliance include:

  • Building firewall systems to protect networks
  • Installing antivirus software for company’s hardware safety
  • Using encryption and masking tools to secure billing and credit card information
  • Monitoring of systems and PCI compliance in the cloud
  • software to check for vulnerabilities
  • Implementing adequate configuration standards
  • Protecting stored data by securing it over public networks
  • Updating systems and restricting access through unique ID credentials
  • Maintaining physical security of assets and logs
  • Testing security systems and processes periodically
  • Establishing documentation and risk assessment frameworks

Non-technical mandates while administering PCI compliance:

  • The PCI Security Standards Council defines a series of specific Data Security Standards (DSS) that are relevant to all merchants, regardless of revenue and credit card transaction volumes
  • The PCI DSS mandates the need for an Attestation of compliance (AOC) from cloud service providers and it is an acknowledgement statement that certifies that the service provider is PCI compliant.
  • Merchants that do not comply with PCI DSS or get involved in a breach will be liable to pay fines, incur card replacement costs or forensic audit expenses.
  • Businesses using common cloud infrastructure are vulnerable to unauthorized data access risks and for this, PCI compliance ensures credit card information remains encrypted.
  • The cloud service provider will list the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders and organizations need to mandatorily follow it for utmost safety.

How CloudEnsure can help you stay PCI compliant?

The compliance module of CloudEnsure is specifically built for multi-level, role-based continuous monitoring and audit to help vendors understand and adhere to industry compliance benchmarks. It covers an exhaustive list of compliance standards, PCI DSS being one among them to provide secured payment solutions.

The CloudEnsure tool generates reports, provides percentile compliance scores for cloud accounts and highlights improvement areas for businesses to understand how compliant they are today and how they can best match up to industry defined compliance practices to ease remediation and mitigation of risks.

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