Why Penetration Testing is important To Pass PCI DSS Audits
Currently, every organization which processes, transmits or even stores its payment data must follow the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). However, most organizations face challenges achieving and maintaining PCI compliance standards since they lack information on how to address the issue.
No matter the type of business you run, whether it’s a service provider or retail if your business doesn’t have adequate measures to counter cyber threats, then your chances of failing PCI-DSS audits will remain high.
Onsite PCI DSS auditors are professionally trained such that they can easily identify any security problems in your business. They can also tell whether or not security is a top priority at your company.
There are a few approaches you should use to meet PCI-DSS compliance requirements and pass PCI-DSS audits. Ever heard about penetration testing?
What Is A Penetration Test?
Penetration testing also known as a pen testing is the process of testing all your applications with the aim of identifying any vulnerability. During this process, I.T experts look for any loop holes a hacker can use to harm their system or application.
An effective penetration test is one that involves a skilled hacker or a group of hackers who are purposefully asked to gain access to applications or systems without any source code.
In most cases, the pen test is only called off when the objective is achieved, or in case the security protocols cannot be breached. One of the main ways of ensuring that your business is PCI-DSS compliant is through penetration testing.
What is PCI DSS?
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a collection of standards aimed at protecting consumers’ payment card data. These standards provide improved security for customers and minimize the risk of card holder’s data being breached by hackers.
The standards are made up of 12 broad requirements which are grouped into six key areas: developing and running a secure network, protecting consumers’ card data, monitoring and testing networks frequently, running a vulnerability management program and ensuring that there are strict information security policies.
PCI DSS compliance is crucial for every IT business, and failure to comply can lead to hefty fines and penalties from card brands, suspension of accounts or even revocation of credit card payment services. Furthermore, data breaches can damage a merchant’s reputation, lead to lawsuits and remediation costs.
The Benefits of Pen Testing In Achieving PCI DSS Compliance
1. Provides real life experience in dealing with intrusions
When running a business, risks are involved, and one of the main risks for technology companies is cyber security. As much as every business owner is optimistic that their business will perform well, they should also be prepared to handle any intrusion into their systems.
A penetration test should be carried out just like a drill, without informing employees to help an organization test how effective its security policies are. Identifying any loop holes in your applications or systems.
Professional penetration testers are real life hackers who know how to maneuver through systems by all means possible. Your I.T security team cannot easily identify most of these loopholes, whereas PCI DSS auditors can easily spot such loop holes rendering your business non-compliant.
Therefore, it’s important to hire professional penetration testers since pen test reports provide information about some of the areas you should prioritize when making future investments in security.
2. It helps in uncovering aspects missing in security policies
Most organizations only focus on implementing security policies that can prevent and detect intruder attacks on their systems. However, they end up overlooking ways they can lock the intruder out of their system before they cause severe damage.
One of the main advantages of penetration tests is that apart from identifying loop holes which can be exploited by hackers, they also help an organization to uncover how skilled their security team is at locking out the attacker from the system before the entire system is compromised.
If some aspects are missing, penetration test reports can help you invest in security before PCI DSS auditor conduct audits on your business.
3. Post security incident
Everyone makes mistakes once in a while, even Web and App developers. But what matters most is realizing your mistake so that you cannot repeat in future.
Penetration tests reports are beneficial to developers since they help them see how an intruder broke into an application or system which they helped develop. By identifying any errors they made in the past, it motivates them to acquire more knowledge so that they can avoid such mistakes in future. If these mistakes are not addressed in the right way, they might end up ruining a business’ reputation.
In every business, the security of your data, your customers, and your network matters most. Therefore, for you to achieve and maintain PSI DSS compliance requirements, you should conduct pen tests after introducing new applications and infrastructure. Pen tests should also be conducted even after making significant changes to applications and infrastructure, e.g., Software upgrades, firmware updates, etc.