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How to Achieve PCI Compliance in AWS?

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Technology advancements have made it necessary for retail stores to institute data security measures. Retailers such as Amazon are relying on technology to capture the information of their clients.

As such, it is critical that the merchants comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) to protect the cardholder information using the Amazon Web Services as well as Amazon cloud.

AWS PCI Compliance

What is the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC)?

The council comprises credit card service providers (such as MasterCard and Visa). However, small businesses experience difficulties in comprehending the highly details data security standard which is written over 100 pages!

What is PCI DSS Compliance About?

The compliance dictates that all the parties handling cardholder data (CHD) should guarantee protection. They should institute measures including encrypting data, establishing secure network firewalls, monitoring the networks with testing, ensuring access controls, and establishing vulnerability management programs. The compliance requirements allow the merchants to transfer the risk to other third parties.

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Meaning of a Designated Entity

PCI SSC uses this term to refer to the risk that a third-party entity poses to the cardholder data with regard to the volume of the data, previous breaches, and connections to the original vendor.

Why is it important for AWS Services to Comply with PCI DSS Requirements?

AWS is a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) and is not necessarily obliged to comply since it rarely handles cardholder information. However, an update made in April 2016 by PCI SSC which advocated for early adoption to help in detecting and responding to cyber-attacks. As such, it is crucial for AWS to comply since it is still vulnerable to such attacks especially when businesses fail to perform due diligence. Even when companies can transfer the risk to third parties, they remain responsible for the data security and thus should ensure compliance of the third party with all the requirements.

How Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Boosts Data Protection

The Amazon VPC allows the merchant to establish a private network for all the CHD storage which is critical in complying with the PCI DSS Segmentation. When the merchant complies with this standard, it is easy for them to protect the data from security threats in the entire IT system. You’ll achieve this by segmenting the cardholder data and secure it separately.

How Does AWS VPC Improve Information Protection?

Security protection will require that you send requests to a cloud services provider which increases the threats. As such, there are necessary protection layers that you should adopt. The first layer uses Transport Layer Security and Secure Sockets Layer to protect data. In this case, the computers communicate such that a browser can send a request and the website responds with a certificate to allow access thus allowing visitors to identify official websites. This is known as TLS handshake. The only disadvantage of this system is the slowdown in information transmission occasioned by large data transmitted through the system.

How Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) Helps

The ELB increases the speed of networked processes through distributing the requests to several servers. It uses a similar working mechanism as AWS VPC ELB and allows additional encryption layers for enhanced security.

How can a Company Incorporate AWS Services?

AWS is a cloud service that will enable your clients to personalize their experiences. It works together with the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) to allow clients to choose application programming interfaces. Using the information, the company can build personalized services to meet specific client’s needs.

To simplify the process, the Amazon EC2 can incorporate Amazon Machine Image (AMI) to enable you to set up a virtual version on your computer. The AMI software will allow multiple instances to operate thus meeting your specific needs.

Is AWS PCI DSS Compliant

AWS has a list of services in scope. On this page, they list all the services that a third-party auditor has assessed previously. It shows that such services have certification and that the auditor attests compliance. AWS provides 58 PCI DSS compliant services. They include AWS CloudTrail as well as AWS SageMaker.

How Technology Simplifies AWS PCI DSS Compliance

AWS compliance is necessary for the success of any business. As such, it is necessary that your firm complies regardless of its size. The requirements document is highly detailed which may complicate the process of compliance. However, the AWS provides a summary of the compliance requirements.

Better still, there are GRC technology tools that you can use to simplify the process. These tools consolidate all the data that you may require and stores it in one location making it easy to access. It helps in making detailed reports which are necessary to show the preparedness of the company for the certification.

Author Bio: Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran, who has always been fascinated about what drives workers to work and how to make work more engaging. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. He has propelled Reciprocity’s success with this mission-based goal of engaging employees with the governance, risk, and compliance goals of their company in order to create more socially minded corporate citizens. Ken earned his BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT.
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