An Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) is a designation given to a company or organization that has been certified by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) to conduct external vulnerability scans as part of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance requirements.
PCI DSS is a set of security standards established by major credit card companies to protect cardholder data and ensure secure payment card transactions. One of the requirements under PCI DSS is to conduct regular external vulnerability scans to identify and address potential security vulnerabilities in the network environment.
ASVs play a crucial role in helping organizations achieve and maintain PCI DSS compliance by conducting these external vulnerability scans. They possess the necessary expertise and tools to scan and assess the security posture of an organization's network infrastructure from the perspective of an external attacker.
To become an ASV, a company must undergo a rigorous validation process conducted by the PCI SSC. This process includes demonstrating expertise in network security, knowledge of PCI DSS requirements, and adherence to the ASV Program Guide. Once approved, the ASV is listed on the PCI SSC's official website, allowing organizations to choose an ASV from the approved list to conduct their required external vulnerability scans.
The ASV performs vulnerability scans by using automated tools and techniques to identify potential security weaknesses, misconfigurations, and vulnerabilities within the organization's network. They generate reports detailing the vulnerabilities discovered and provide recommendations for remediation.
It's important to note that ASVs are responsible for conducting external vulnerability scans only, focusing on the network perimeter. They do not evaluate internal security controls or other aspects of PCI DSS compliance. Organizations are required to perform additional security assessments, such as internal vulnerability scans and penetration testing, to meet the full PCI DSS compliance requirements.
By engaging an ASV for regular external vulnerability scanning, organizations can identify and address security vulnerabilities, mitigate risks, and demonstrate compliance with PCI DSS standards, ultimately safeguarding cardholder data and maintaining trust with payment card providers and customers.