There’s no way around it. If your company handles cardholder data in any way, compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is mandatory. You can’t relinquish your responsibility for PCI compliance by outsourcing it to a vendor. Responsibility for PCI compliance resides solely with your company. But that’s not to say outsourcing can’t at least help reduce your compliance burden.
Reduce PCI Scope
One of the ways outsourcing can help lessen the burden of PCI compliance is by reducing your PCI scope. PCI scope reduction entails shrinking the footprint of your cardholder data environment. Your cardholder data environment encompasses anything or anyone that touches and/or sees cardholder data.
You can accomplish this by outsourcing various IT-related tasks and responsibilities to a third-party vendor. That can include anything from transaction processing and firewall management to system hosting and data storage. For a predictable monthly fee, the vendor helps you meet certain PCI requirements and eliminates some of the stress of PCI compliance. Meanwhile, you also free freeing up your internal IT resources for other endeavors.
If you need yet another example, consider that PCI compliance requires strict logging and monitoring requirements to keep track of user activity in the cardholder data environment and create an audit trail. By opting for security monitoring services from the right vendor, you can ensure all your organization's alerts and logs are monitored every hour of every day in real-time. The outsourced service helps meet a specific PCI requirement. Plus, any malicious activity can be identified and responded to before any damage is done.
Work with PCI-compliant Vendors
It bears repeating, however, that your organization is still responsible for achieving and maintaining PCI compliance. Even if you work with a third-party vendor that puts your entire cardholder data environment in a “PCI-compliant” cloud, you’re still responsible for overall PCI compliance and for drafting a Report on Compliance (ROC). The benefits of working with a PCI-compliant cloud services provider is that you get the secure architecture and supporting security management practices that can help you meet some of your compliance requirements. In many cases, the vendor can work with you and your auditors to answer questions and provide necessary documentation.
Whether you enlist a vendor to provide managed services to help with selected PCI requirements or to provide a PCI-compliant cloud environment, it’s important to work only with vendors that are themselves PCI compliant. Always ask to see certifications and inquire about the various security protocols in place.
US Signal’s PCI Compliance Advantage
US Signal takes pride in going beyond both the norm and requirements in our industry to maintain a well-governed, high quality infrastructure. Here are just a few advantages we offer through our compliant IT solutions:
Cloud infrastructure and data centers independently audited to meet SSAE 16, SOC 1, TYPE 2, SOC2, Type1, HIPAA/HITECH and PCI-DSS.
People-centric security with all US Signal employees trained at hire and annually on security policies and protocols.
Risk-based BC/DR plan that includes multiple live tests each year, follow-up action item review, and reporting.
Full Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) program.
Audit-ready IT environments with technical and security controls to meet a variety of regulatory requirements and industry standards including: Sarbanes-Oxley, FDA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, ITAR, and FISMA.
Vendor due diligence program, executive-level security team, internal audit program following ISO-19011, and other strategies to optimize service availability while mitigating MSSP risks.
Audit assistance including helping with management representation letters and regulatory questionnaires and providing a signed Business Associate Agreement (BAA) or copies of compliance documentation.
On-staff compliance officer.
Extensive experience working with customers in retail, financial services, and other industries that must comply with PCI DSS.
If you’re interested in learning more about reducing your PCI scope, take advantage of US Signal’s free eBook: