Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to create an app that allows customers to interact with your brand. If your app processes credit cards for payment, you’ve probably put measures into place to keep cardholder information safe. And if you haven’t, you absolutely should. In fact, there are standards that any company that processes credit cards are held to, called the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS, or PCI), administered and managed by an independent security compliance organization that was created by major credit card brands. If you’re not already committed to PCI compliance in your app, there are a number of reasons you should be.

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What is PCI compliance?

PCI DSS, or PCI, is a set of standards, both technical and operational, created to ensure that every organization that accepts, processes, stores, or transmits credit card data takes steps to ensure that data is secure. That’s right—every company that accepts credit card payments must be compliant with these standards, and this includes companies that have created applications that take payments. It even includes companies that accept credit card information over the phone.

The independent PCI Security Standards Council manages the standards and determines how best to enforce them. The PCI DSS document itself can change frequently due to changing regulations and even the nature of credit card fraud attacks. In order to be considered compliant with PCI standards, your organization must consistently follow the standards and address any gaps found during an audit.

Some of the guidelines from the standard include steps that any organization that processes a credit card must follow, including assessing their IT infrastructure, business processes, and credit card-handling procedures. The standard also requires compliant organizations to identify and address any security gaps that could put sensitive information at risk. This includes not storing Social Security or driver’s license numbers as much as possible. Finally, companies have to provide their compliance reports to the card brands they work with.

Why is PCI compliance so important to organizations?

The No. 1 reason organizations should maintain PCI compliance is to protect their clients’ financial data. Data breaches not only result in reputational and financial damage, but they are also breaches of trust of both customers and potential customers.

Research shows that many of the major data breaches could have been avoided if the organizations had been PCI compliant. Unfortunately, according to the Verizon 2019 Payment Security Report, more than half of organizations worldwide struggle to implement a successful PCI compliance program and, in fact, nearly one-fifth have no defined compliance program at all.

Where can you start with PCI compliance?

To start with PCI compliance, you first assess your current data security systems to see whether they match up. But most organizations turn to third-party tools to help maintain secure systems and applications for credit card data.

tCell is a tool that acts as a security system to help organizations that accept credit cards in apps to comply with section 6.6 of the PCI DSS. This section provides application developers with two options for maintaining secure data systems:

  1. Implement a secure software development lifecycle; or,
  2. Install an application security system in front of public-facing applications.

The requirements set forth in PCI DSS section 6.6 require that the application security system:

  • Be situated in front of public-facing web applications to detect and prevent web-based attacks
  • Be actively running and up-to-date as applicable
  • Generate audit logs
  • Be configured to either block web-based attacks or generate an alert that is immediately investigated

tCell handles application security by meeting all of the requirements of PCI DSS section 6.6. This includes the following features:

  • Server agents that inspect all potential attack payloads before they reach the app
  • Continuous, automatic updating via cloud-based infrastructure
  • Audit logging of suspicious events through tCell’s Events feature
  • Application Firewall rules to stop OWASP Top 10 attacks
  • Monitor for attacker behavior and blocking their actions to prevent false positives

tCell, a web application security tool, works for any application and gives your organization visibility into your apps as well as monitoring and protection capabilities. The tool also works to secure your app in a number of other ways, and helps protect your users from the most common types of data breaches and attacks.

tCell takes the guesswork out of PCI compliance for your app. You can accept payment with confidence that your customers’ information is secure, and that you meet the standards set forth in the PCI DSS.

To find out more about tCell and to request a free demo, visit our website.

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