Demystifying PCI DSS Compliance

PCI DSS Compliance

What is PCI DSS?

The PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) v2.0 document is 75 pages long and details each item required of a business that accepts credit cards.  It provides a set of rules and guidelines for properly securing cardholder data and personally identifiable information.  If you process credit cards at your business, you are required to adhere to PCI DSS.

I Use A Credit Card Terminal, Not Software, So I Don’t Have To Be Compliant

False.  If your business processes credit cards, you are bound to PCI DSS Compliance.  And there’s no need to be defensive about any of this either.  Just stop and think for a minute – how would you want someone to handle your credit card information + your personally identifiable information?  Think about that next time you have to pay an antivirus bill or log in after 15 minutes of inactivity.

How Do I Get Compliant?

It’s actually easier than many people think, but there are a lot of pieces to it.  We’re going to break this up into easier to digest chunks, because the goal here is to get every consignment and resale shop fully PCI DSS Compliant.  It benefits you and your business to be on top of your game and that’s what the PCI DSS helps you accomplish.

I Want To Read The Entire PCI DSS Guide

It’s actually quite a good read.  Securing systems, documenting processes, holding software vendors accountable for security issues, and covering your bases are all exciting and positive things.  Your business can only benefit from scrutinizing every piece of your infrastructure, from usernames, to patch management; to internet usage policies and hardware/phone/device policies.

We have provided a convenient link to the PCI DSS v2.0 guide right here…

PCI DSS PDF Download

To obtain the most-recent copy, please visit the PCI Security Standards Council Documents page.

We’ve gone through every page of the PCI DSS guide and the majority of it, is best-practices that techs and system administrators have probably been badgering you about recommending to you for years.

Below is a concise list of the core sections of the PCI DSS.  We will post a new entry, specific to each requirement, over the coming weeks.

Consignment and resale stores – it’s time to get compliant.  No more DIY, no more having a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-sister’s-boyfriend setup stolen software on your systems.  Credit card transactions and personal information are serious business.  Can you imagine if your consignment database was stolen and every consignor/customer started to receive spam links from you with viruses or phishing pages?  o_O

Don’t feel overwhelmed by all of this though.  It’s doable, it’s a clear path, and you have to start somewhere.


PCI DSS Compliance Requirements


Build and Maintain a Secure Network

Requirement 1: Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data

  • Hardware router/firewall in-place
  • Outline router config. information
  • Network diagram (also show card data flow)
  • Document and justify any open ports
  • Strict firewall – e.g. SPI
  • No public access – e.g. no in-store WiFi
  • Do not disclose internal IP addresses, network setup, security measures, etc. to anyone

Requirement 2: Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters

  • All vendor-default passwords must be changed/disabled – e.g. routers, software, etc.
  • Implement only one function for a server – e.g. database server.
  • Prune system of all unnecessary software and services.
  • Configure security parameters to prevent changes/misuse – e.g. restricted User accounts, password protect applications, etc.
  • Document which programs and services are enabled and in-use
  • Any non-console admin access (i.e. remote access) should be encrypted (e.g. TeamViewer or LogMeIn, not RDP or VNC)
  • No cardholder data should enter a shared hosting environment and any portion of shared hosting involved in cardholder data should be reviewed for PCI-DSS

Protect Cardholder Data

Requirement 3: Protect stored cardholder data

  • Keep cardholder and personally identifiable information storage to a minimum and regularly review for any old/out-dated data which should no longer be retained.
  • Do not store sensitive authentication data after swiping/entering – e.g. The cardholder‘s name, CC#, Expiration date, Service code, or CVV.  Inspect all databases and files involved in processing payments.

Requirement 4: Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks

  • Ensure credit card transactions are sent over a secured/encrypted connection – e.g. SSL/TLS, SSH, etc.
  • Ensure WiFi uses industry best-practices – WEP IS NOT ALLOWED as of June 2010.
  • Never send cardholder data via email, instant message, chat, etc.

Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program

Requirement 5: Use and regularly update anti-virus software or programs

  • Install and maintain antivirus/anti-malware on all systems
  • Ensure antivirus/anti-malware are capable of detecting, removing, and protecting against all known types of malicious software
  • Ensure antivirus/anti-malware are always running, never disabled
  • Ensure antivirus/anti-malware generate logs of all events are retained for a minimum of 365 days

Requirement 6: Develop and maintain secure systems and applications

  • Ensure all programs have the latest patches and are updated no less than once per month.  Higher-risk systems – e.g. databases, systems with Internet access, etc. should be patched more frequently.
  • Ensure applications involved with processing credit cards (e.g. consignment software) adhere to PCI DSS.
  • Test data and accounts must be removed on live systems.
  • Documentation of antivirus, patching, etc.

Implement Strong Access Control Measures

Requirement 7: Restrict access to cardholder data by business need to know

  • Limit access to systems to only those authorized to do so.
  • Restrict access based on User ID

Requirement 8: Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access

  • Assign unique User IDs to each employee Note: These requirements are applicable for all accounts, including point-of-sale accounts, with administrative capabilities and all accounts used to view or access cardholder data or to access systems with cardholder data. However, Requirements 8.1, 8.2 and 8.5.8 through 8.5.15 are not intended to apply to user accounts within a point-of-sale payment application that only have access to one card number at a time in order to facilitate a single transaction (such as cashier accounts).
  • No blank passwords
  • All outside network access (e.g. by employees, remote techs, etc) use two-factor authentication (e.g. ID AND password).
  • Immediately revoke access for terminated employees.
  • Disable inactive accounts after 90 days.
  • Ensure vendors only have remote access during the time-period needed + monitor access at all times.
  • Communicate login/authentication procedures to all users.
  • Change passwords every 90 days
  • Require passwords of at least 7 characters
  • Use passwords containing letters and numbers
  • If a session has been idle, require the user to re-authenticate
  • Ensure databases which store cardholder or personally identifiable information, can only be accessed programatically and not directly by a user – i.e. authenticate all database access.

Requirement 9: Restrict physical access to cardholder data

  • Ensure access to systems/databases is physically secured by lock, badge/swipe, etc.
  • Use video cameras to monitor sensitve areas.
  • Ensure any physical network jacks that are in public view, are disabled
  • Restrict physical access to routers, gateways, networking hardware, etc.
  • Physically secure all media
  • Maintain strict control over any/all media and the accessibility to/storage of said media.
  • Destroy media when no longer in-use

Regularly Monitor and Test Networks

Requirement 10: Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data

  • Log and monitor all system events
  • Review/monitor logs daily
  • Ensure all system clocks are correct and synced by a time service

Requirement 11: Regularly test security systems and processes

  • Test for the presence of WiFi networks at least quarterly
  • Perform quarterly internal scans – not required to be a QSA or ASV.
  • Perform quarterly external scans – required to be a QSA or ASV.
  • Perform scans after significant changes – not required to be a QSA or ASV.
  • Perform annual internal and external pen-testing for network-layer and application-layer – not required to be a QSA or ASV.
  • Use intrusion detection with alerts

Maintain an Information Security Policy

Requirement 12: Maintain a policy that addresses information security for all personnel

  • Establish, publish, maintain, and disseminate a security policy
  • Annual review
  • Examine daily procedures
  • Develop usage policies for email, internet, computers, mobile devices, WiFi, etc.
  • Require explicit approval for usage of any/all devices
  • A list of all devices and employees with access to which devices
  • Acceptable location of devices
  • List of company-approved devices/products
  • Ensure policies clearly define responsibility
  • Document incident response
  • Implement a formal security awareness program
  • Educate personnel upon hire and at-least annually
  • Screen all potential hires – e.g. background checks.
  • Data backup processes/procedures


I am a Software Developer, System Administrator, and consignment software specialist. I currently manage hundreds of consignment workstations, point of sale systems, and database servers all across North America and I am the developer of Peeps' Software, Peeps2Go, and Peeps' Consignor Login for iOS and Android. I've been helping consignment & resale store-owners since 2003. I started The Computer Peeps in February of 2010. Peeps' Software launched in 2016 and is now on hundreds of systems all across North America. I have successfully converted dozens of stores from all of the major consignment software systems. After 20 years of working with consignment stores, I understand the unique challenges consignment & resale store-owners face. From electrical issues in old buildings or strip malls, to advocating for them when their old consignment software keeps crashing.

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