The full form of PCI DSS is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, which was launched by the PCI Council on September 7, 2006. As a non-negotiable system, the PCI compliant hosting is designed to improve payment account security throughout the transactions. Major payment card brands like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, set PCI DSS regulations that comply with 12 general data security requirements and over 200 sub-requirements.

Core Requirements of PCI

Depending on the business, PCI-compliant hosting generally fulfills both technical and operational requirements. Emphasizing cardholder data protection, the core requirements are-

  • Cardholder data protection by installing and managing firewall configuration
  • For system passwords and other security parameters, vendor-supplied defaults must not be used 
  • Strictly securing cardholder data
  • Across open and public networks encryption of cardholder data transmission
  • Regular update of anti-virus software or programs in use
  • Managing security of systems and applications
  • Cardholder data, required by the business, access restriction
  • Each person with computer access must possess a unique ID  
  • Physical access restriction to cardholder data
  • Reviewing access to network resources and cardholder data
  • Security systems and process testing regularly
  • Addressing information security to all personnel by managing a strict policy 

Who Requires this Service

Most businesses do not possess PCI DSS compliance and as such, a compatible system is required to develop for facilitating operational- and cost-effectiveness. Hence, PCI-compliant hosting ensures the physical security of data centers, networking, network security, and many aspects of server security. Platforms requiring PCI DSS compliance are Ecommerce stores, businesses dealing with online financial transactions, as well as banks and other financial institutions.     

Needs of PCI Compliant Hosting Services

Maintaining PCI compliance is very much required as failing the criteria will result in the exposure of customer data. Banks and other financial institutions require to protect the personal and sensitive financial data of the customers. A high volume of transactions is processed between accounts every day, for which not fulfilling PCI compliance results in audit failure and risk of personal data breaches. 

The global card brands have made it mandatory to follow the tangible framework of the PCI DSS compliance system for addressing the data breach issues through proper identification and elimination of the same. Accountability of the merchants and regulating the employees’ actions lead to securing the business environment and managing the business policies regarding the protection of data.     

From that point of view ensuring PCI compliance is a must for organizations dealing with online financial transactions and customer personal financial data. As such if the operating system is either an on-premise or a self-hosted cloud commerce solution, the organization needs to be PCI compliant. Despite the nature of business, like running a single brick-and-mortar retail store or chain stores or e-commerce stores, wherever the credit card merchant account has been connected and integrated, managing an appropriate PCI compliance level is necessary.  

Based on the card transaction volume (credit, debit, and prepaid) over 12 months, the merchants are organized under four levels or tiers of PCI compliance. With effect from July 2019, the breach of regulations, resulting in account data compromise, escalate to a higher level of compliance for the related organization-

  • PCI Compliance Level 1- includes merchants processing over 6 million card transactions annually through all channels (card present, card not present, and e-commerce). In addition to these, global merchants may qualify their entire business if processing a total of 6 million transactions across all regions.
  • PCI Compliance Level 2- includes merchants processing 1 to 6 million card transactions annually through all channels (card present, card not present, and e-commerce).
  • PCI Compliance Level 3- includes merchants processing 20,000 to 1 million card transactions annually exclusively through e-commerce methods.
  • PCI Compliance Level 4- includes merchants, processing up to 1 million card transactions annually through all channels (card present, card not present, and e-commerce) and do not exclusively process via e-commerce more than 20,000 card transactions annually.

Actions for Breaching a PCI Compliance Level Requirement 

In case of violating the level requirements, the following steps should be taken-

  • Monthly penalties- Credit Card companies like MasterCard and Visa, may impose monthly penalties ranging from $5,000 to $100,000, depending upon the volume of clients and transactions.
  • Breach of Data- despite following PCI DSS compliance, companies suffering from data breaches, still be responsible for paying penalties. However, card brands may lower or eliminate the fines if all the compliance steps are followed.
  • Legal action – for breach of data, lawsuit actions are the most common consequences

Steps for Adhering to PCI Compliant 

Achieving PCI compliance is the best standard practice to manage a modern and secure network environment. Obviously, every organization should follow these 3 steps-

  • Assess- performing an audit to analyze the vulnerabilities of sensitive cardholder data 
  • Remediate- fix the vulnerabilities, identified on a priority basis
  • Report- submitting the compliance reports to the concerned authorities

From the above, it is quite clear that for online transactions strict vigilance is required by the Credit Card companies to manage a secure environment. You can also read the detailed article on best web hosting India

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