One of the most difficult parts of PCI compliance lies in the sheer size of the compliance requirement. Twelve objectives with various sub-steps expand into 139 pages of standard. Because it covers so many technical areas, PCI-DSS compliance feels like a never ending alphabet soup bowl.

Why do you scope PCI compliance?

To ease the weight of compliance of your organization’s PCI compliance, you must first determine the appropriate scope. Once you have determined your focus, compliance becomes much easier. Three main areas – blocking access, hiring vendors, and network segmentation –  help you avoid or transfer risk.

How to scope PCI Compliance

Requirement 1 helps you evaluate scope PCI compliance by offering methods, including firewalls and encryption, with which you block access to your systems and your information. Although blocking access to and encrypting information under this requirement reduces some of the PCI compliance work, it does not eradicate it.

The PCI DSS standard allows companies to hire third party payment processors to lower the risk. If you’re outsourcing your payment processing to a third party application, your duties will be very different than if you handle payments yourself. In this scenario, PCI compliance would mean reviewing your vendor management duties.

Finally, network segmentation means analyzing the people, processes, and technologies that interact with card holder data. Once you have characterized your network, you will need to establish adequate controls to ensure that you are managing your assets appropriately.

PCI’s sheer enormity will be more manageable once you correctly scope your risk and compliance responsibility. Once you have determined what information you have, how you’re handling it, and where it is located, you can focus your PCI compliance efforts more efficiently.
For a detailed walk through of the scoping process, guided by a flow chart, read our eBook PCI Compliance: Steps to Successful Scoping.