Choosing A QSA For Your PCI Assessment

PCI stands for Payment Card Industry. Organizations can strengthen and uphold their security systems by complying with the PCI DSS (Data Security Standard). Compliance with the PCI DSS helps secure the data of cardholders. This is important in today’s age, where many people are making payments with cards on a regular basis.

How does a company make sure that their practices are compliant with the DSS? One popular option is to have a QSA (qualified security assessor) verify the company’s practices. All QSAs must meet specific standards set by the PCI DSS. But even so, QSAs come in many different forms. We’re here to help you choose the best QSA for your PCI assessment.

What You Should Look For In A QSA

A good QSA will not only meet your company’s budget, but will also thoroughly scope your company’s practices for any possible threats to security. Proper QSAs will be able to translate their findings into terms that can be understood by the employees of the company. Here are some tips for choosing a QSA that will properly assess your business.

Asking Questions

A good QSA is going to ask questions about your company. He or she will want to make an assessment geared specifically towards the practices of your company. Make sure that you’re choosing a QSA who genuinely cares about the specifics when it comes to your company complying with the PCI DSS.

Using Appropriate Terms

QSAs are specialists. They know all sorts of terms that aren’t common to many people. Your QSA should make a commitment to communicate all results in understandable terms. The QSA should be able to help your team understand what needs to be done in order to implement the standard in the most effective way possible.

Knowledge & Experience

Well-rounded QSAs are going to know vast amounts of information about assessing your company’s security practices. Be sure to check the credentials and experience of your QSA. You’ll want one who knows exactly what needs to be done.

Verification Practices

Look for a QSA who is willing to spend an ample amount of time onsite to verify all of the findings. Mistakes are always possible, so you’ll want a QSA who is willing to accept this and double (or even triple) check all of the previous findings.

QSAs Who You Should Avoid

There are plenty of QSAs out there who genuinely want to be the best that they can be. They actually care about making sure that your company is taking care of security risks and upholding the PCI DSS. And they work with your team to communicate all aspects of the assessment.

On the other hand, there are some who just want that paycheck. We’re going to give you a list of traits that should be avoided in a QSA.

  • The QSA doesn’t have enough technical experience for a thorough assessment.
  • The QSA uses terminology that isn’t easily understood by team members.
  • The QSA doesn’t ask questions specifically pertaining to your company.
  • The QSA doesn’t spend enough time onsite.

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