Guidelines for Securing PCI in the Cloud

| February 11, 2013

The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), an open, global forum for the development of payment card security standards has published the PCI DSS Cloud Computing Guidelines Information Supplement, a product of the Cloud Special Interest Group (SIG). Businesses deploying cloud technology can use this resource as a guide for choosing solutions and third-party cloud providers that will help them secure their customer payment data and support PCI DSS compliance.
 
PCI Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are community-driven initiatives that provide additional guidance and clarifications or improvements to the PCI Standards and supporting programs.
 
PCI Participating Organizations selected cloud computing as a key area to address via the SIG process. More than 100 global organizations representing banks, merchants, security assessors and technology vendors collaborated on this guidance designed to help companies identify and address the security challenges for different cloud architectures and models, and understand their PCI DSS responsibilities when implementing these solutions.
 
The PCI DSS Cloud Computing Guidelines Information Supplement builds on the work of the 2011 Virtualization SIG, while leveraging other industry standards to provide guidance around the following primary areas and objectives:
 
• Cloud Overview – provides explanation of common deployment and service models for cloud environments, including how implementations may vary within the different types.
 
 
• Cloud Provider/Cloud Customer Relationships– outlines different roles and responsibilities across the different cloud models and guidance on how to determine and document these responsibilities.
 
• PCI DSS Considerations – provides guidance and examples to help determine responsibilities for individual PCI DSS requirements, and includes segmentation and scoping considerations.
 
• PCI DSS Compliance Challenges- describes some of the challenges associated with validating PCI DSS compliance in a cloud environment.
 
Additional Security Considerations – explores a number of business and technical security considerations for the use of cloud technologies.
 
The document also includes a number of appendices to address specific PCI DSS requirements and implementation scenarios, including: additional considerations to help determine PCI DSS responsibilities across different cloud service models; sample system inventory for cloud computing environments; sample matrix for documenting how PCI DSS responsibilities are assigned between cloud provider and client; and a starting set of questions that can help in determining how PCI DSS requirements can be met in a particular cloud environment.

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