Any organization that processes or accepts credit cards must be compliant with PCI DSS, also known as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. In order to understand where your organization compares against the PCI DSS compliance standards, many recommend conducting an internal PCI DSS Gap Analysis and Compliance Audit. Conducting an audit will help any organization determine the gaps in their existing security infrastructure. This assessment will help your organization identify and scope the PCI compliance requirements and how it pertains to the company, its agencies, merchants, and service providers.
In a PCI DSS Gap Analysis and Compliance Audit, scanning services that identify if your organization has any vulnerabilities that are preventing you from meeting the PCI security requirements will be identified. Since employees are often a security weakness of any company, the audit will include education and training of all stakeholders. Your organization will get a comprehensive look at recommendations that will allow you to anticipate issues that arise in a complete Qualified Security Assessor or Self-Assessment Questionnaire review. The steps required to prepare any organization includes implementing network and application security procedures.
The value in conducting a PCI DSS Gap Analysis is quickly validating problems and potential resolutions. Instead of implementing security solutions without direction, this assessment will help you prioritize vulnerabilities. By conducting automated testing, you will be able to categorize missing controls and come up with remediation recommendations.
Implementing a PCI DSS Gap Analysis is a cost-effective way to be compliant. Non-compliance can result in costly fines. Other risks of non-compliance include customer credit card data being put in the wrong hands. Taking control of your compliance with PCI DSS can help your business achieve greater return on investment.
Completing a PCI DSS Gap Analysis will give your company a snapshot of your compliance with regulations. Areas where immediate attention is required will be identified. This will improve the effectiveness of cost forecasting for your PCI DSS Compliance program. Once you understand the gaps in your environment, you can more efficiently take steps towards compliance.
If you are undertaking new programs or evaluating your existing program, a PCI DSS Gap Analysis might be the right step for your organization since any change in your program could change your existing security compliance. Each time your company shifts to do more online payments, it is recommended to conduct an audit to ensure that compliance is still being met. Additionally, if similar organizations have suffered breaches of cardholder data, your organization may also be at a similar risk.
PCI DSS applies to any organization, regardless of size or number of transactions, that handles cardholder data in any way. Penalties for not complying with PCI DSS can range from $5,000 to $100,000 per month.

Author's Bio: 

I am the founder and CEO of Aurora, a cybersecurity firm specializing in targeting specific problems with sensitive data and creating individualized solutions for various companies. I have a customer-first mindset and intend to build great relationships with my clients and ensure brand consistency.