Build and Maintain a Secure Network with PCI Security Audit Compliance

Build and Maintain a Secure Network with PCI Security Audit Compliance

PCI Security Audit Compliance fills the need for increased data security in relation to credit card fraud.  Fraud, perpetrated by cyber criminals, has increased the need for  companies and individuals need to take extra precautions to protect against identity theft.

In 2006 the five major credit card providers, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and JCB [Japanese Credit Bureau] created the PCI Security Council to form an industry standard for the purpose of protecting vital credit card information. Utilizing information collected from internal and external PCI security audit data, they developed 12 requirements to address six focus points to ensure data security and form the foundation of PCI Security Compliance. These requirements apply to all areas related to credit card information including debit, credit, prepaid, e-credit, ATM, and Point of Sale cards.

Network PCI Security Compliance

With a consistent rise in network security data breaches, these steps need to be followed so that companies can minimize the risk associated with credit card fraud and identity theft. The focus in this article will be on network PCI security compliance. This is the one of the most important topics due to the need for a secure network in not only protecting customer personal identifiable information (PII), but company information as well. IT consulting firms, such as Chicago based Black Diamond Solutions (BDS) can readily assist SMB’s to Enterprise level operations meet Network PCI Security Compliance guidelines by implementing an effective network security policy and PCI security audit.

1.    Network Security (LAN and WAN)

Security is a necessity when dealing with any network.  At a minimum, data networks containing sensitive personal identifiable information (PII) or confidential credit card transaction information need to have a superior firewall, or next generation firewall installed. A well audited data security policy should dictate how it security parameters should be configured to protect cardholder data and maximize network PCI security compliance. While there are many variations of hardware-based firewalls, the most important thing is not to use default passwords and parameters.   Cyber data breach attacks will focus on the default settings initially to exploit a network.  Once thwarted there, hackers will elevate their attacks to focus on more hard core techniques for breaking a network’s PCI Security Compliance measures.

2.    Monitoring and Management

Network security doesn’t just stop at installing and configuring a firewall, or even a next generation firewall. Data Networks that store credit card and PII need to be continuously monitored and properly managed. Technicians need to review it security compliance standards release documentation and network log files in order to identify where attacks may be happening. This allows timely implementation of it security and compliance measures to prevent network breaches. A PCI security audit and regularly conducted security tests should be  to guarantee maximum protection against attacks.

3.    Conducting Internal Audits

Internal audits should be done not only on the network, but on the data as well. It provides businesses and technicians a focus for key security concerns.  An Internal PCI security audit provide valuable information including potential vulnerabilities, need for hardware/software upgrades, and potential breaches that have already occurred. All internal audits need to be thoroughly documented so that they may be referenced during system upgrades.

4.    Understanding Vendor Demands

While vendor demands don’t always coincide with data security, they do need to be considered when building a network that adheres to the PCI Council security compliance standards. If a business’s network can’t keep up with vendor transactional demands it could result in loss of data or increased wait time for data to be processed. When implementing a new network, a company needs to make sure that the network can handle the bandwidth and requests of its vendors. Anticipating for future expansion is also very important as it will save the company money in the long run.

5.    Workload Security

Workloads have to be accounted for when working with network security to accommodate for PCI security compliance. Workloads need to be divided and segregated from other operations. This is typically done utilizing VLANs. VLANs allow internal networks to be separated for different purposes. An example of this is creating one VLAN for servers, one for workstations/laptops, and one for VOIP. By separating networks in this way, a breach of one virtual network won’t affect the others.  This is a crucial consideration when PII and credit card data is involved.  Who has access and from where should be an essential piece of the security compliance standards for PCI compliant networks.


PCI Security Compliance steps should be followed not only by companies that are looking to be commercial entities, but all companies wanting to practice good business. Network breaches are the first step for hackers to access confidential PII data and should not be taken lightly. Taking the appropriate security measures can ensure an environment where exposure to risk is significantly reduced. When working with clients, Chicago based Black Diamond Solutions always performs a PCI security audit, to ensure security compliance and implement an effective data security policy.

Free Application PCI Security Audit and Analysis

Request a free application PCI security audit* from Black Diamond Solutions and discover vulnerabilities in the applications currently on your network (and in most cases, some that you don’t even know exist).   Contact us here for a free PCI SecurityAudit

*Based on the information you submit, we will determine if you meet the proper criteria to qualify for a scan.



Chicago IT Consulting Company

Chicago based IT Consulting company, Black Diamond Solutions provides outsourced IT services and solutions for Small and mid-sized businesses. Since 2004, BDS has excelled at managed IT services, including virtual infrastructures, data storage, back up, disaster recovery, compliance (PCI, HIPAA, SOX), data security and content based technology marketing, Black Diamond has helped hundreds of clients optimize their technology investments while improving productivity and minimizing risk.  BDS has been named to the CRN 2013 List of Tech Elite 250, a distinction that  recognizes “the highest commitment to technical education and top certifications”.

Contact Chicago IT consultants Black Diamond Solutions at 847-291-9090 to learn more about how BDS’s IT consulting services can help your Chicago business contain costs, improve efficiency and decrease your exposure to data security risks.  Click here to Contact Us.

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Michael Kupfer is the President and CEO of Black Diamond Solutions. Concentrating on virtualization and storage issues, he addresses the litany of challenges faced by businesses and provides optimal, cost-effective strategies that enhance technology infrastructure.

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