A quick introduction to PCI Compliance and Key Aspects To Know

PCI DSS Compliance from Cloudanix.com

Online payments are a rage now, and the ease of digital payment has everybody hooked. But, there is regular news about data breaches, hacking into systems to steal financial information that makes us wary at times. Do you know that there is one such superhero that can save you from data security breaches and financial losses? It is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard or PCI DSS. This is exactly what you can implement in your business to guarantee a safe and secure transaction process.

PCI Compliance stands for Payment Card Industry Compliance. It is a defined set of standards/protocols that are maintained to protect the privacy of the credit cards’ owners during all the financial transactions. These protocols apply to all those concerns that accept credit card payments. It is applicable for all those store, process and transmit cardholder data. 5 major credit card companies came forward to create these to ensure a safe transaction and online payment experience.

One of its main functions is to protect the card payers’ information.

  1. Protects the stored data.This applies only to companies that store the cardholder data. More briefly the companies that do not automatically store cardholder data are already avoiding a security breach often targeted by any identity thief.Any PCI compliant hosting provider includes multiple layers of defense and data protection model that encompasses both physical and virtual security techniques. The latter includes authorization, authentication and password and the former includes restricted access and server, storage, etc.
  2. Encryption of  cardholder data transmission across all kinds of open, public networks. Data that is encrypted is unreadable or cannot be deciphered to an intruder without the characteristic cryptographic keys. These are according to the PCI Security Standards Council. Cryptographic keys are like regular words that are transformed into ciphertext. Only an authorized algorithm can decode or decrypt it. Further, sensitive authentication data, including card validation codes or PIN numbers are added as additional security features. And one must never store these after, even when the data has been encrypted.

The next function is to build and maintain a secure network. It is done by installing and maintaining a firewall configuration to secure the cardholder data. Companies must enforce their own firewall configuration policy. It also develops a configuration test process tested to protect cardholder data. The hosting provider must have firewalls on position to create a secure, private network. Also, try not using vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and security parameters/constraints. You must create, maintain and regularly update your system passwords. Also, they have to be unique and secure passwords created by your company. As mentioned earlier, change the password from the one that the software vendor might have installed in the system when purchased.

PCI and AWS

Amazon’s smart contribution to cloud services has to be Amazon Web services. Any user can vouch for its easy to manage and comprehensive nature. It provides all three main services that are Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) as well as packaged software as a service (SaaS). It has become so indispensable that AWS certification is one the most sought-after skills in the industry. The increasing popularity of cloud computing and AWS being the biggest shareholders in the industry are responsible for this.

Delving deeper into one of its biggest and best features, let us talk about how PCI compliance is achieved in AWS Cloud. There are around 12 requirements that go through all the technical and operational systems components. For example, the entire general practices the cardholder information restriction and there is a very strong need to create safe passwords. In-depth practices such as encryption and the use of a firewall are established. The basic set of tasks that has to be done while setting up the compliance

  • All databases have to be encrypted well, preferably with Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS).
  • Good malware protection has to be set up.
  • A log collection and management system has to be established.
  • AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) have to be used to configure employee access.
  • Amazon VPC security groups are set up to configure access controls to Amazon EC2.
  • Use AWS CloudTrail in order to log and monitor events on your setup.
  • Protection against continuous threat detection and monitoring.

AWS makes sure you follow these steps to make your cloud service journey smoother and safer.

If you are into the e-commerce business or are a seller online, you have to provide your customer base the comfort of online payment. And making it safe and secure is your responsibility. When the business does not comply with PCI standards, you are at risk for data breaches, other fines or card replacement costs, expensive forensic audits and lastly investigations into your business. These cause brand damage, and more. The smart decision would be to quickly become PCI compliant.

If you are interested to see how Cloudanix can help you achieve PCI compliance for your cloud workloads, you can signup for free and explore our offering.