The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a worldwide information security standard assembled by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). The standard was created to help organizations that process card payments prevent credit card fraud through increased controls around data and its exposure to compromise. The standard applies to all organizations which hold, process, or pass cardholder information from any card branded with the logo of one of the card brands.

Validation of compliance can be performed either internally or externally, depending on the volume of card transactions the organization is handling, but regardless of the size of the organization, compliance must be assessed annually. Organizations handling large volumes of transactions must have their compliance assessed by an independent assessor known as a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA), while companies handling smaller volumes have the option of self-certification via a Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ). In some regions these SAQs still require signoff by a QSA for submission.

Enforcement of compliance is done by the bodies holding relationships with the in-scope organizations. Thus, for organizations processing Visa or Mastercard transactions, compliance is enforced by the organization’s acquirer. In the case of third party suppliers such as hosting companies who have business relationships with in-scope organizations (eg. CAM Commerce and X-Charge), enforcement of compliance falls to the in-scope company, as neither the acquirers nor the card brands will have appropriate contractual relationships in place to mandate compliance. Non-compliant companies who maintain a relationship with one or more of the card brands, either directly or through an acquirer risk losing their ability to process credit card payments and being audited and/or fined.

For more information, visit the PCI Security Standards website.

What does this mean to you?

You as the business owner is mandated to make sure your business takes sufficient measures to protect your customers card holder data. These mandates include security to your computer network and software as well as protocols related to the physical handling of customer’s credit card and personal data.

The software that Retail Automation installs includes the POS software (ABS) and credit card processing software (X-Charge Express). X-Charge is interfaced with ABS so that the credit card information that is entered at point of sale does not touch the workings of ABS. Therefore, the ABS software in its basic configuration is PCI Compliant. X-Charge Express is PCI Compliant for version 6.3 and above through 2014.

Further requirements on the software side include running an Anti-Virus program (eg, AVG) and having a computer based firewall activated with logging. For details on how to confirm these are running properly, click here.

From the network side, your network must be secure.

For wired-only stores, this includes having an active firewall running on each computer as well as your internet service provider (ISP) to have a firewall running (most do, check with your provider to confirm). This, in essence, provides a barrier from the internet to your router/modem (the ISP’s firewall) and from the router to your computer (your computer’s firewall).

In addition to the firewall, each computer must be password protected upon logging into Windows. The suggested configuration is to have an Administrator login as well as a client/guest login that limits the typical user from accessing sensitive information.

For stores with wireless access points, the wireless routers should be Wireless-N which offer the most current wireless network security options available. Basic configuration settings should include WEP2 encryption as well as a 64-bit WEP Key.

Retail Automation has several companies available to provide Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) services for our customers. Howver, running their ASV scan only fulfills one of the requirements in the Self Assessment Questionnaire.

PCI Compliance & ABS