What is PCI Compliance Certification?

Recently, we’ve seen security breaches occur at some of the largest retailers, including Target, Macy's, and others. To avoid succumbing to this same fate, most companies are doing their best to achieve PCI compliance. These requirements exist to safeguard customer credit card data.

However, beyond basic compliance, you can take your security efforts even further with a PCI compliance certification, which requires that you go through an intensive third-party audit. It’s not necessary, but it can help to ensure your compliance and can go a long way towards securing your customers’ data.

Below, we examine the relationship between standard PCI compliance and PCI compliance certification, what it takes to become certified, and how a certification can benefit your business.

The Foundation of PCI DSS Compliance

By becoming PCI-compliant, you’re reducing the likeliness of a security breach occurring while protecting your customers’ financial data. The overarching goal is to create a more secure online transaction environment to minimize the risk of a security breach or fraud.

PCI DSS, or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, is a standard required by the major credit card companies and overseen by the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). There are 12 different PCI compliance requirements you need to meet to both achieve and maintain compliance.

The process involves the following basic steps:

  1. Determine the level of compliance your business needs to adhere to. This is based on what credit card providers you’re using, along with your monthly transaction volume.
  2. Work through a self-guided assessment to find out what requirements you need to fulfill.
  3. Implement the various data security protocols and potentially use a third-party organization to conduct a security scan.
  4. Submit the required documentation to your merchant bank or credit card processor.

PCI Compliance vs. PCI Compliance Certification

Standard PCI compliance means adhering to all the guidelines put forth to secure your customers’ sensitive credit card data. Your approaches to maintaining security will evolve over time. So, achieving compliance will be an ongoing process and something that will become integrated with your daily business tasks.

On the other hand, we have PCI compliance certification. Obtaining certification goes above and beyond standard compliance. Getting certified is a specific process that you’ll go through to prove compliance for a certain time period. It involves an in-depth and comprehensive audit done by a qualified security assessor (QSA).

Overall, the process for obtaining certification is the same as compliance. However, to obtain a certification, you’ll go through the process of being verified by a QSA. It’s an intensive process, but you’ll end up with verifiable proof of compliance.

PCI Certification Requirements

There are hundreds of different PCI controls that need to be verified when obtaining a PCI certification, and every aspect of your business covered by the PCI DSS will be checked and verified.

The auditing process will review things like:

  • Your security protocols for storing customer data
  • How your developers are trained and software is developed
  • The relationship between any third-party software providers
  • The installation or use of any firewalls or antivirus software
  • How you encrypt any data transmissions
  • And a lot more

How to Get a PCI Compliance Certification

Essentially, you’ll hire a third-party security assessor to verify your data security protocols. This process will confirm that you’re fully compliant with all the PCI guidelines that pertain to your business. If you’ve gone through the initial compliance protocols and are confident in your company’s ability to pass an intensive audit, then it makes sense to move forward.

Here’s a full list of verified quality security assessors that you can use to obtain certification.

PCI Certification: A Feather to Your Security Compliance Cap

Obtaining a PCI compliance certification isn’t necessary. The process is intensive and will require a full audit to verify that your security protocols are up to regulation.

However, getting certified will offer proof that your business takes security seriously. This can be incredibly advantageous as it will show your customers that you deeply value their data and privacy, all while helping you avoid fines and penalties.

Keep in mind that your third-party vendors must be in compliance as well. This is why 8x8 offers you a fully compliant business phone and contact center solution. Learn more about how 8x8 can help your business achieve and maintain PCI compliance.

When it comes to security, 8x8 provides reliable and compliant cloud solutions at a demanding level rarely seen by other cloud providers. Don't take your chances with a subpar cloud-based telecom system. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out our online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 Product Specialist.

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