If your organization processes, stores, transmits, or impacts the security of cardholder data, then you need to get PCI DSS compliant as quickly as possible to protect your customers’ data. Unfortunately, the PCI DSS certification process can be time-consuming, tedious, and stressful.

You’ll need to:

  • complete a thorough risk assessment and gap analysis
  • design controls and document policies and procedures
  • train your employees on cardholder data security and specific job function training
  • ensure new hires and employees review policies
  • organize all 12 requirements and submit hundreds of screenshots to use as evidence for the audit
  • continuously evaluate and monitor your PCI DSS controls and regularly reviewed tasks

Completing this readiness work could require multiple team members and company leaders to oversee the compliance effort, diverting their focus from other priorities. PCI DSS may also require hiring an expert consultant with expensive hourly rates to assist you. But it doesn’t have to. 

Compliance automation software can help simplify and streamline the PCI DSS certification process which will save you valuable time and resources. Below, we’ll explain what compliance automation software does and share tips for deciding if utilizing a platform is the right choice for you.

What is PCI DSS Compliance Automation?

PCI DSS automation software simplifies and streamlines the compliance process, eliminating hours of manual work. 

Below are some of the most powerful benefits of PCI automation software.

Saves time and money

Most startups don’t have a dedicated security and compliance team or an in house PCI DSS export. CEOs, CTOs, and lead engineers are left to research, understand and implement security controls, fill out time-consuming security questionnaires, maintain policies, procedures, and many regularly occurring tasks, and manage the entire compliance process end to end. An automation platform eliminates that busy work, freeing up resources for other high-priority, revenue-generating projects.

Simplifies evidence collection

Normally, the preparation for a PCI DSS audit involves tracking dozens of tasks in spreadsheets and collecting screenshots and documentation for evidence of compliance. PCI compliance software integrates with your existing tech stack to pull that information for you and present evidence directly to the auditor with no manual collection required.

Streamlines policy creation

The best PCI DSS compliance automation platforms include a library of auditor-approved, PCI DSS-compliant policy templates that you can customize for your business needs.This saves you from having to write all of your own policies from scratch. Some solutions even let you publish policies for your personnel to review and acknowledge directly in the platform. 

Continually monitors your systems and internal controls

A PCI DSS automation platform can monitor your tech stack 24/7 to alert you of non-conformities, making it easier to maintain continuous compliance. The top platforms will not only alert you on standard tasks but provide actionable insights on critical security and privacy compliance issues.

Makes it easier to maintain compliance

A compliance platform that automatically collects evidence and continuously monitors your tech stack will make it easier to maintain PCI DSS compliance. You'll be able fix issues quickly and proactively as PCI standards change.

Simplifies compliance across frameworks

PCI DSS has a lot of overlapping requirements with SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and other information security frameworks. Instead of starting from ground zero, compliance software can help map the tasks you have already completed  for PCI DSS to other standards. It'll be faster and easier to achieve compliance with additional standards and avoid duplicate efforts.

While PCI DSS automation can be incredibly beneficial, software platforms can help your business implement security best practices as well. Company stakeholders must continue to prioritize a strong security strategy, own risk analysis, and understand how internal controls are designed and implemented. They can use the software to organize and automate tedious and time-consuming tasks like evidence collection, task notifications, and vendor risk management.

How to Choose a PCI DSS Compliance Automation Platform

The security, privacy, and compliance software landscape is a fast-growing space, with a growing number of vendors to choose from. Keep these questions in mind as you evaluate potential solutions to help decide which is the best fit for your organization: 

  • In addition to PCI DSS, are other security, privacy, and compliance standards supported? Be sure to consider any you may need as your company grows.
  • Is the number and depth of integrations enough to save your team from excess work?
  • Do they have a network of trusted Approved Scanning Vendors (ASV) and penetration testers to help meet PCI requirements?
  • What is the level of customer support? What channels are available to receive support? Does that support extend through the process of getting compliant? Do you still get the same level of support when maintaining compliance?
  • Is PCI DSS and secure coding training included in the platform? Look for all-in-one solutions with clear, transparent pricing.

Key Features of PCI Compliance Automation Software

Automated Evidence Collection

Eliminating tedious, manual tasks is one of the core advantages of PCI DSS compliance automation. Look for a solution that offers a wide range of integrations that automatically collect evidence to help you get and stay compliant with PCI’s 300+ requirements. 

Vendor Management

Managing vendor risk can be incredibly complicated. Choosing a tool that collects all of your vendor agreements and security certifications in one spot simplifies the entire process. 

Policy Library

If you don’t already have a set of internal security policies, creating them all from scratch can be time-consuming, confusing, and may put your company at legal and/or financial risk.

The best PCI DSS automation tools offer a library of templated policies that are approved by a team of compliance experts, making it much easier and faster to build out your policies and ensure they’re compliant with PCI requirements.

Employee Onboarding and Offboarding

Educating personnel working with cardholder data and those responsible for protecting it is an essential part of PCI DSS compliance. Compliance automation software can verify that every member of your team completes PCI cardholder data security,secure coding training, and policy reviews. When you need to revoke access for former employees, the software can make that easy to visualize as well.

Continuous Monitoring

Continuous compliance requires continuous monitoring. Choose a tool that alerts you to issues that could threaten your PCI compliance or notify you when regular reviews need to be performed. Tools like Secureframe will even provide detailed guidance for correcting each issue so you’ll know for sure it’s fixed. 

Expert, End-to-End Support

Look for solutions that have a team of experienced former auditors on staff. At Secureframe, dedicated resources from both our customer success and compliance teams will help you through every step of the PCI compliance process and beyond, starting with determining which compliance level you fall under and whether you need a RoC or SAQ.

At any point in the process, they can answer technical questions and offer personalized security advice based on decades of experience.