PCI DSS Compliance: Why It Matters More Than Ever in Today’s Digital World

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) is an information security standard designed to improve cardholder data security for companies that store, handle, or transfer credit card information. Its major goal is to decrease cardholder information susceptibility and credit card theft by tightening controls over how cardholder data is kept, processed, and sent. Retailers, retail branches of any firm in any industry, online payment services, banks that issue credit cards, and service providers that offer online cloud payment processing are examples of organizations that keep cardholder environment data.

Who is subject to the PCI DSS?

The PCI DSS applies to all businesses, regardless of location, size, or transaction volume. These requirements apply whenever the firm is involved in the payment process by receiving, transmitting, or keeping credit card information. Failure to comply with PCI DSS requirements leads to a fee or potentially the loss of your company’s ability to take credit cards.

What are the main goals of PCI DSS compliance?

This aspect makes PCI compliance an important element in the running of an online business. The reason is simple. PCI-DSS standards offer the most comprehensive advice that can guide the process of securing such data and customer information.


Inadequate data security is costly. As reported by IBM, the cost of a breach is approximately $4. 35 million. There is no doubt that strong PCI compliance can help companies avoid significant risks related to data loss. This does not only help to reduce financial losses as a result of attacks, but as well. Compliance also serves as an effective shield against the negative impact that the organization’s reputation may be subjected to. And it minimizes the chances of federal prosecution for putting data on the line.

PCI compliance addresses the root causes of most breaches that result in the loss of data. These are: –


  1. Other insecure payment processing devices like in-store readers.
  2. Digital cardholder data environments.
  3. If there are paper financial records of card data, they should also be returned.
  4. Security devices such as CCTV or other recording equipment that capture credit card information.
  5. Unsecured network access points.

The advantages of putting PCI DSS Compliance into practice

Adopting PCI-DSS compliance requirements has several advantages for the company, ranging from improving overall security posture and safeguarding against data breaches to preventing customer attrition and financial penalties.


Optimizing security posture and improving operational efficiency are achieved by using robust cryptography and security measures together with best practices. Additionally, it promotes a compliance culture and aids in proactive risk management.


Many big businesses look for providers who comply with PCI. Therefore, it facilitates commercial corporation expansion.


Clients may easily mortgage their faith in the company with compliance assurance. They are aware that their data is handled safely and securely.


It is possible to prevent the financial consequences of non-compliance or breaches, such as fines, penalties, litigation, etc.


The majority of people remain unaware of the rules that govern PCI compliance and have no idea about penalties for non-compliance.


Even though PCI is not the law, this doesn’t mean that being out of compliance is not important. A Verizon Data Breach Incident Report that was conducted in 2015 discovered that there were approximately 79, 988 data security incidents this year. Therefore, your payment processing life cycle has to be more secure than ever.

If you are non-compliant with the PCI standards of your business, then you are vulnerable to data breaches, fines, replacement of cards, expensive forensic audits and investigations concerning your business, damage to the brand of the business, and more in case of a breach.

However, 30% of the small businesses surveyed said they have no idea of the consequences when they fail to implement PCI DSS 3.0. Punishments are not widely advertised but they are devastating to organizations.

How does PCI DSS compliance work?

The PCISC is the governing body that oversees PCI compliance. The PCI Security Standards Council maintains a document library that holds the current regulatory standards on PCI. This library also offers “at a glance” digests, quick reference guides, and updates on recent changes.


PCI regulations work in the way that checklists work. Companies benchmark their security program with PCI-DSS guidelines. And they make changes based on these recommendations. This process usually takes a three-stage format:

Assessment – The general assessment of the cardholder data environment. Any device or application that processes credit card information has to be included in the lists. They need to follow the PCI specifications to determine risks that may compromise cardholder data.


Mitigation – There are controls that organizations must implement to ensure compliance with PCI-DSS on the internal security systems.


Documentation – Any alteration made within the organization needs to be recorded and reported with the purpose of standardizing the systems in compliance with the PCI-DSS. This will also serve as supporting documents that the organization is in line with contemporary security requirements.

Core principles of PCI DSS compliance

Six fundamental PCI-DSS principles are applied in the majority of PCI compliance procedures. The most significant information security challenges are encapsulated in these ideas. They assist companies in concentrating on what matters by demystifying a difficult problem.


First principle: Network security

One of the most important aspects of credit card data security is network edge protection. Software upgrades, firewalls, and threat detection systems protect against malicious software and outside intrusions.

Second Principle: Data protection

Information about cardholders should be recorded and kept safe. Apart from other network resources, customer data should be kept. Furthermore, all vital data should be encrypted by security specialists.

Third principle: Ongoing vulnerability management
Establishments ought to evaluate possible weak points. Malware scanners and antivirus software are only two examples of the many technologies that security teams should use. Also, everyday data security responsibilities must incorporate PCI regulations.


Fourth principle: Access control
Only authorized and verified users should have access to cardholder data. Manage access by implementing role-based controls and removing privileges as necessary. Restricting physical access to devices containing cardholder data may also be necessary in this situation.

Fifth Principle: Security testing
Penetration testing ought to identify security flaws. Accurate user activity records have to be kept in audit trails. Testing should occur regularly, and audit logs should be kept in a safe location.

Sixth Principle: Robust security policies

Information security policies need to outline user duties and security control documentation. They ought to be provided and made available to everyone who needs them. They must also be written with PCI-DSS in mind at all times.


In summary, PCI DSS compliance is more than a collection of requirements; it is a commitment to protecting sensitive consumer data and sustaining the payment card ecosystem’s integrity. Businesses that follow PCI DSS standards can demonstrate their commitment to data security, increase customer trust, and protect themselves from the financial and reputational consequences of data breaches.