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Updated: Dec 8, 2023   |   Alex Yong

10 best PCI DSS compliance solutions (+ expert tips for PCI compliance)

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All companies that handle and process customers’ credit cards must be concerned about compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Organizations can be challenged with determining the best way to ensure PCI compliance and avoid costly fines and negative publicity over data breaches, from implementing effective employee training to leveraging the right compliance management solutions. This article will look at ten of the best PCI DSS compliance solutions.

Before looking at specific solutions, we will provide tips to help companies achieve and maintain PCI DSS compliance. The solutions we recommend will often incorporate these tips to protect sensitive data resources and maintain PCI DSS compliance.

Tips for effective PCI DSS compliance

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The following are effective tips and methods for ensuring an organization complies with PCI DSS. Companies should take these tips seriously and incorporate them into their cybersecurity measures to maintain compliance. Failure to take these actions risks non-compliance with its associated fines and reduced customer confidence. Note that the specific documentation and reporting requirements vary based on a business's merchant level

  1. Identify and classify cardholder data in the IT environment - The complete IT environment must be inventoried to identify and classify sensitive cardholder data. This information is the first step in implementing security and data handling procedures to maintain compliance.
  2. Implement a managed firewall - Organizations must implement a managed firewall to ensure that only trusted entities can access their network and sensitive cardholder data. Companies can manage the firewall themselves or choose a solution from a third-party or cloud service provider such as Amazon Web Services to protect their network.
  3. Review firewall rules at least every six months - Organizations must review and potentially update firewall rules to maintain PCI DSS compliance. Working with a quality checklist is a good place to start when conducting this mandatory review.
  4. Implement a formal procedure for firewall changes - In the event of a PCI-DSS audit, the auditors will want to see a formal process to approve firewall changes and network connections. An effective procedure eliminates the risk of arbitrary firewall changes that can put regulated data at risk.
  5. Employ network segmentation - Network segmentation isolates the systems that store, process, and transmit cardholder data on a dedicated network. A segmented network makes it easier to control access to PCI DSS-regulated data.
  6. Change all vendor-supplied default passwords - Vendor-supplied default passwords must be changed before introducing any equipment to the regulated environment. Threat actors have access to online databases that contain default passwords they can use to exploit systems containing cardholder information.
  7. Encrypt cardholder data - Cardholder data is required to be encrypted to protect it from unauthorized entities. Encryption should be performed using strong, industry-standard protocols such as AES. Encryption keys should always be stored separately from the encrypted data for enhanced protection. Keys should be stored on a secure encryption device like a hardware security module.
  8. Deploy and regularly update antivirus software - Install antivirus software on all components in the regulated environment. Ensure that the software is regularly updated with the most recent security patches. Use the tool to regularly scan systems to determine if they have been inadvertently or deliberately infected with malware.
  9. Restrict access to cardholder data on a business need-to-know basis - Implement strong Identity and Access Management measures to ensure that access to cardholder data is limited to individuals who need it to perform their jobs. Authorization to access cardholder data should be mapped to the role and privileges of specific individuals. Team access should never be granted to sensitive, regulated data.
  10. Assign a unique ID to everyone with computer access to regulated data - Everyone with access to the networks or systems that contain regulated data needs to be assigned a unique ID. The purpose of the requirement is to hold people responsible for any actions performed with regulated data. Team IDs are not sufficient to meet this requirement.
  11. Track and monitor access to cardholder data and IT networks - The unique IDs created for all users allow the tracking and monitoring of activity on regulated systems. This allows for an audit trail that can be used to identify individuals who have accessed and attempted to access restricted systems. System monitoring logs may be necessary to provide evidence when requested during a PCI DSS audit.
  12. Restrict physical access to cardholder data - Ensure that physical access is restricted to all systems and data repositories that contain regulated data. This PCI DSS requirement protects systems, data, and physical records from theft or vandalism. This can be accomplished by using a secure data center with access controls that only allow entry by authorized individuals.
  13. Dispose of regulated data promptly - PCI DSS requires cardholder data to be securely stored until it is no longer necessary for business or legal purposes. When no longer required to be stored, the regulated data should be destroyed. Automatic or manual processes should be implemented quarterly to ensure data is destroyed and extraneous regulated data is not stored in the environment.
  14. Develop an organizational information security policy - Organizations must create a company-wide information security policy to comply with PCI DSS standards. This policy should address all aspects of an IT environment, including how cardholder data will be stored, processed, and transmitted. The policy should define aspects of the environment, such as how secure networks are built and how unauthorized personnel will be restricted from accessing sensitive information.
  15. Provide security awareness training - All organizations subject to PCI DSS regulations must provide security awareness training. The training should be mandatory for new employees, and refresher courses should be provided and taken annually by everyone in the company. Ensure that all remote employees get the training to fulfill compliance requirements.
  16. Develop an incident response plan - Companies must develop, test, and maintain an incident response plan to address issues related to PCI DSS-regulated data. The plan should be tested at least annually, and a specific person should be assigned to resolve incidents at any time. Measures such as intrusion detection and file integrity monitoring should be incorporated into the plan.

10 best PCI compliance software solutions

We present the following list of ten of the best PCI DSS compliance software solutions. Along with each solution, we will highlight some of the top features that specifically address the challenges of maintaining compliance.

1. Next


Next is a data loss prevention solution designed to classify data as it is ingested into the environment so the information can receive the level of protection it requires. This tool is meant for businesses of all sizes and can be instrumental in protecting sensitive cardholder data from internal and external threats. The platform promotes PCI DSS compliance with multiple features that include:

  • The ability to identify and classify cardholder data as it is introduced into the environment with intelligent endpoint agents
  • The capacity to automatically enforce an organization’s data handling policy by taking actions such as encrypting sensitive data and restricting access by unauthorized personnel
  • Promoting a heightened security awareness by providing user training at the point of risk

2. Sprinto


Sprinto is a software tool that is built to help businesses implement the necessary measures to maintain PCI DSS compliance. The solution can also be influential in helping an organization prepare for and pass a PCI audit. The features offered by this PCI compliance platform include:

  • Defining an organization’s PCI scope and liabilities regarding the people, processes, and technology connected to the regulated environment
  • Analyzing security risks by identifying gaps and vulnerabilities that can be exploited by threat actors
  • Performing continuous monitoring of the regulated environment to identify issues that may need to be addressed to prevent a data breach

3. Hyperproof


Hyperproof provides compliance operations software that assists organizations in understanding their PCI DSS requirements and ensuring they are taking the right steps to maintain compliance. The tool offers a PCI DSS framework template that enables companies to leverage the software quickly. Hyperproof’s set of features includes:

  • Automated and efficient evidence-collection tools to document PCI DSS compliance
  • Dashboards to evaluate compliance progress and audit preparedness
  • The ability to create tailored controls for a business to support compliance

4. Resolver


Resolver is dedicated management software that streamlines the efforts of the compliance team while reducing risk and lowering costs. The tool helps address the need to provide evidence for regulatory audits and controls changes that may affect the regulated environment. The platform’s features include:

  • The ability to automate regulatory change management to ensure everyone is aware of changes and their impacts on the environment
  • Prioritizing regulatory risks so they can be addressed efficiently to address vulnerabilities
  • Generating automated reports regarding compliance and risks in the regulated environment via data visualizations

5. AuditBoard


AuditBoard is a software tool designed to streamline PCI DSS compliance. It centralizes the information necessary to understand the risks, policies, and frameworks an organization needs to maintain compliance. The tools’ features include:

  • The ability to create an asset inventory to consolidate information on regulated data and promote compliance efforts
  • Standardized risk templates that help a company understand the severity of potential vulnerabilities so they can be addressed effectively
  • Managing compliance issues and reports from a centralized location to provide visibility into possible compliance problems and track progress on resolving them

6. RiskOptics


RiskOptics offers customers an integrated and automated platform with the necessary tools to streamline PCI DSS compliance. This solution provides a single source of truth regarding all current and future compliance risks so decision-makers can address any outstanding issues. The features provided by this platform include:

  • A central repository for all audit-ready documentation to streamline replies to auditors’ requests
  • A user-friendly dashboard displaying real-time metrics and prioritizing risks
  • Automating evidence collection with pre-built request templates

7. StandardFusion


StandardFusion provides compliance management software that optimizes how an organization manages its IT security risks and regulatory compliance. The tool is designed to help companies in many diverse industries address regulatory compliance, including PCI DSS. The features offered by this multi-faceted compliance platform include:

  • Risk management capabilities that assist in identifying, assessing, and addressing threats
  • Managing the tasks necessary to successfully address the evidence requirements for internal and external audits
  • Providing a single source of truth to help identify what needs to be done to be compliant

8. Compliance Manager GRC


Compliance Manager GRC provides companies with a platform designed to simplify governance, risk, and compliance. The tool tracks all IT requirements, identifies issues that need to be resolved, and generates the reports necessary to prove compliance to auditors. Features offered in this software package include:

  • The ability to run baseline risk assessments in less than an hour
  • Customized policy and procedure creation that reflects unique business requirements
  • Producing on-demand documentation of compliance evidence

9. Drata


Drata is a software solution designed to simplify PCI DSS compliance for businesses of all sizes. The tool assists in building customer trust and helps a company ensure that it is always ready for a PCI DSS audit. Drata automates manual tasks to streamline compliance activities. The tool’s features include:

  • Out-of-the-box PCI DSS aligned controls to quickly improve a company’s compliance posture
  • A built-in PCI playbook that provides the tools necessary to achieve compliance
  • Automated monitoring capabilities that ensure the environment is PCI DSS compliant

10. Dizzion


Dizzion is a solution focused on providing PCI DSS-compliant desktops for enhanced organizational compliance. The use of the software’s desktops makes it easier for companies to achieve and demonstrate compliance on any endpoint device. The features provided by Dizzion include:

  • Virtual desktops that are built with the necessary security technology and controls to secure sensitive information
  • Annual independent audits to ensure the software reflects evolving PCI DSS regulations
  • Reports on compliance that help organizations satisfy all PCI DSS audit requirements

To protect your organization’s sensitive data and ensure PCI DSS compliance, implementing the right technology solution is key. The Reveal Platform by Next is the first DLP solution to deliver machine learning on the endpoint. With a smart agent that categorizes data at the point of risk, Reveal offers real-time user training to help you build a security-positive culture to enhance compliance with PCI DSS and other regulatory requirements.

Contact Next today and book a demo to learn how Reveal can help you boost your data security and maintain regulatory compliance.

Frequently asked questions

What are the critical initial steps in achieving PCI DSS compliance?

The two critical initial steps in achieving PCI DSS compliance are to identify and classify cardholder data throughout the IT environment. The increased use of cloud solutions can make it more challenging to determine where regulated data resides. An organization cannot effectively protect sensitive data resources without an accurate inventory.

Why is a DLP tool an essential component of a comprehensive compliance initiative?

A data loss prevention (DLP) tool is essential in maintaining PCI DSS compliance because it automates the enforcement of an organization’s data handling policy. A DLP platform performs activities such as restricting access to sensitive data or encrypting cardholder information before it is accidentally transmitted in open text. A DLP solution dramatically reduces the risk posed by external or insider threats.

Does PCI DSS apply in the same way to all companies that process credit card data?

No, PCI DSS is structured according to tiers that reflect the quantity of credit card transactions a company processes and the channels used to accept the payments. The reporting requirements and penalties for non-compliance are based on a company’s PCI-defined merchant level. The requirements necessary to achieve compliance are the same for all organizations.


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