How To Achieve PCI Compliance On AWS

All merchants selling through Amazon are required to comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard

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All merchants selling through Amazon are required to comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard


How To Achieve PCI Compliance On AWS

All merchants selling through Amazon are required to comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard

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The retail sector has enhanced the shopping experience through the use of technology in most of their activities. The client’s purchase data is captured technologically which presents a security threat.

As such, all merchants selling through Amazon are required to comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) which is administered by the PCI Security Standard Council.

Established Amazon merchants protect the cardholders’ information through the internal Amazon Web Services (AWS) as well as the AWS cloud.

AWS PCI Compliance

Meaning of the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC)

PCI SSC comprises credit card service providers including Visa and MasterCard. The council has standards outlined in its over 100 pages document which makes it relatively difficult for small companies to read and fathom the guidelines.

The Inclusions of PCI DSS Compliance

This compliance requires that you protect the customer cardholder data (CHD). You can achieve this by encrypting the data, firewalls, access controls, vulnerability management systems, and monitoring your networks. The PCI DSS can also allow you to transfer the risk to a third-party.

What is a designated Entity?

According to PCI CSS, this is an organisation that requires additional validation to PCS DSS needs after evaluation by an Acquirer or Payment Brand.

In cases of third parties, the designated entity is defined as all the risks the third-party entity poses considering the volume of data stored, previous breaches among other factors.

Why Should AWS Services be PCI-DSS Compliant?

Although AWS (as a cloud service provider) may not require compliance since it doesn’t handle CHD, it remains vulnerable if due diligence is not adequately carried out. PCI SSC announced an update of the PCI DSS 3.2 to allow detection and prevention of cyber-attacks.

Even when a company transfers the risk to third parties, it remains with the sole responsibility of ensuring data security. This involves the use of data encryption and other multi-factor authentication which make it necessary for AWS to be compliant with PCI-DSS.

How Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Help in Data Protection

This system allows all the Amazon’s merchants to establish a private network to accommodate cardholders’ information thus helping in meeting the PCI DSS segmentation requirement. But how does the segmentation improve data security?

Well, it guarantees the security of the CHD across the whole IT system! You’ll achieve this by separating the most precious data; client’s data and storing it in a safer place.

How AWS VPC Protects Information

While segmentation mainly targets securing CHD, it also incorporates more protective features which require sending requests to the cloud provider.

The first protection measure is achieved through the use of Transport Layer Security as well as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

This ensures interaction between all the computers in the network such that when a browser requests a certificate, the website will respond with the certificate and consequently allow access. This prevents malware during use.

The security layer is characterised by lots of data movement which can lead to slow transmissions and unsatisfied clients.

How Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) Help

It increases the speed of networked processes achieved by distributing requests to different servers. This will reduce the time required to complete a command which consequently allows fewer people to access the client’s data.

The AWS VPC ELB has a similar working mechanism but it can allow additional encryption layers. It achieves this by spreading the requests made to more servers thus accelerating information transmissions time. Consequently, you’ll achieve more security for the client’s data!

How a Company can Incorporate AWS Services

This service will provide a more personalised experience to your customers. The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (also known as Amazon EC2) gives your clients an opportunity to establish a cloud-based environment based on their operating system.

By the use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) selected by the client, any given organisation can create personalised services that fulfil the needs of the customers. Better still, Amazon EC2 uses the Amazon Machine Image (AMI) which enables the establishment of the virtual version of your computer. As such, you can run an environment that enhances business such as a shopping cart.

Is AWS PCI DSS Compliant?

On the Services in Scope page, the AWS lists all the services that a third-party auditor assesses this providing certification of compliance. AWS offers approximately 58 PCI DSS compliant services such as AWS SageMaker and CloudTrail.

How Technology Eases the AWS PCI DSS Compliance

The AWS compliance process can be hectic because it requires validation of numerous documents as well as documenting rules and regulations of an organisation. However, there exist technology applications that allow the customer to access all these requirements in one location. AWS has multiple attestations which may be tiresome to prepare.

Ken Lynch is founder of

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How To Achieve PCI Compliance On AWS

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