PCI compliance testing is necessary for all type of service providers that have transactions with customers on a regular basis. The most important types of business relationships include credit card processing, debit card transactions and electronic funds transfers. Transactions in these areas are subject to the security rules set forth by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). A cardholder data standard is used to refer to the rules set forth in the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Payment Card Industry DSS demands that service providers protect cardholder data from unauthorized access. In order to meet PCI DSS criteria a service provider must undergo PCI Testing.
There are two types of service provider requirements for PCI Compliance. One type is for a client-provider relationship and the other is for an enterprise. A client-provider relationship involves a cardholder data environment, a host environment and a variety of test environments. Enterprise testing covers a broader area of requirements and requires more detailed attention to data security. To ensure proper PCI compliance a service provider must undergo a multi-step process. The first step is performing a scan of the entire system to identify vulnerable areas.
Once a scan has been completed the next step is to perform a thorough audit of the entire organization to identify weak spots. The audit only becomes significant if a PCI compliance solution is not in place because the cardholder data and the payment information could be used for fraudulent activity. PCI Testing can be performed for individual merchants, service providers or an enterprise environment.
For merchants a PCI Compliance testing solution is usually performed after they have determined that the majority of their transactions are occurring over a secure connection. PCI Penetration Testing can be performed during the merchant stage or at any time later after the cardholder data environment has been established and all weak spots have been identified. This process is also known as product security testing or product verification testing. A product security tester is responsible for determining if a company’s processes, procedures, controls, and overall data environment are PCI compliant.
PCI compliance testing solutions can be provided by a third party provider. When a PCI reporting tool is used as part of a PCI testing solution for the end user will receive verification of the integrity of the payment environment. When a provider conducts its own PCI compliance testing or a PCI reporting tool, it is responsible for ensuring that all the required interfaces are implemented and that all the business elements are in place. When a service provider performs its own PCI compliance testing then it is responsible for verifying that all components have implemented correctly and that the interface has been properly configured.
Data segmentation is the main objective of PCI testing. It is a critical component of PCI DSS. A PCI compliance testing solution should verify that each and every segment are appropriately performing according to the specifications. PCI testing tools can be used to verify segmentation and that the correct relationships have been established between the various segments. When PCI testing is performed this way then the entire environment is more effective and efficient.
Another important component to successful pci its implementation is the proper use of authentication. The authenticator is a key or password used by the client hardware to authenticate themselves at the time of a transaction. This protects cardholder data from unauthorized use during a transaction.
In order to help service providers with PCI compliance testing there are several resources available. When testing is performed correctly then an environment that is highly efficient and cost effective to maintain is achieved. Service providers can benefit from PCI DSS compliance testing solutions as well as implementing new controls and procedures that will help reduce the threat exposure. When you use a PCI DSS compliant testing tool then you are able to ensure that your cardholder data environment is highly effective and efficient.