Sycurio Glossary.

Compensating Controls / PCI DSS

In the context of PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) and contact center operations, compensating controls refer to alternative security measures implemented by organizations to address deficiencies in meeting specific PCI DSS requirements.

PCI DSS outlines a set of security requirements that organizations handling payment card data must adhere to in order to protect cardholder information. However, in certain situations, an organization may find it challenging to meet a specific requirement due to technical limitations, cost considerations, or other constraints.

In such cases, compensating controls can be implemented to provide an equivalent level of security as the original requirement. These controls are additional measures or safeguards that effectively compensate for the inability to fully meet the original requirement while still ensuring the protection of cardholder data.

Compensating controls should meet the following criteria to be considered valid:

1. They must provide a similar level of protection as the original requirement.
2. They should be "above and beyond" other PCI DSS requirements.
3. They must be implemented as a result of a documented and justified risk assessment.
4. They must be reviewed and approved by the organization's qualified security assessor (QSA) or internal auditor.

Compensating controls are not meant to be an easy way out of meeting PCI DSS requirements. They are only considered as an exception when there is a legitimate and documented reason for not fully meeting a specific requirement. Organizations are still expected to meet as many requirements as possible and implement compensating controls as a last resort.

In the context of contact center operations, compensating controls may be implemented to address requirements related to securing sensitive cardholder data during interactions, such as call recordings, agent access controls, or secure transmission of data. These controls can help mitigate risks and maintain the security of payment card information even when the original requirements cannot be fully met.

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