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    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    PCI compliance

      Everyone who accepts credit/debit card payments online needs to be familiar with and implement the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. This is easiest for merchants who don't directly handle any cardholder data. For example, if your store hands the shopping cart information over to a third-party provider like Paypal, and customers enter their payment information on that website before being redirected back to yours, you only need to ensure that the third-party provider you use is PCI DSS compliant. Visa has a registry of validated service providers on their website. The next level of complexity is accepting and transmitting cardholder data. If you receive the data on your website's server but pass all the credit card processing data to a third party service provider, verify that they have validated PCI DSS compliance, and ensure that all communications with their servers are over a valid encrypted connection. Is PCI compliance a law? The short answer is no. The long answer is that while it is not currently a federal law, there are state laws that are already in effect (and some that may go into effect) to force components of the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) into law. In addition, there is a big push by legislatures and industry trade association to enact a federal law around data security and breach notification. A testing solution is built on the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model and this saas model is very effective.