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PCI DSS Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ)

In the context of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), a Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) is a validation tool used by organizations to assess their compliance with the PCI DSS requirements. SAQs are designed to help organizations evaluate their security controls, identify any vulnerabilities or gaps, and determine their level of compliance with the PCI DSS.

The PCI DSS includes different SAQ types, each tailored to specific types of organizations and their payment card processing methods. The SAQs are intended for merchants and service providers who handle payment card data but have different levels of cardholder data exposure and processing methods.

Here are some common types of SAQs:

1. SAQ A: For e-commerce merchants who outsource all cardholder data processing to PCI DSS compliant service providers, with no electronic storage, transmission, or processing of cardholder data on their systems.

2. SAQ A-EP: For e-commerce merchants who partially outsource cardholder data processing but still have some systems that interact with cardholder data, such as a payment page hosted on their website.

3. SAQ B: For merchants who process cardholder data using standalone dial-out terminals or imprint machines without electronic cardholder data storage.

4. SAQ B-IP: For merchants who process cardholder data using standalone PTS-approved payment terminals with an IP connection.

5. SAQ C: For merchants who process cardholder data using payment application systems connected to the internet but do not store cardholder data.

6. SAQ D: For merchants who process cardholder data and have their own cardholder data storage, transmission, or processing systems.

Each SAQ consists of a series of questions related to the specific requirements of the PCI DSS. The organization completes the SAQ by answering these questions truthfully and providing any necessary supporting documentation or evidence. The SAQ helps organizations evaluate their compliance status and identify areas where improvements or corrective actions may be needed.

It's important to note that completing an SAQ does not guarantee compliance with the PCI DSS. SAQs are self-assessments, and the organization is responsible for implementing the necessary security controls to achieve and maintain compliance. Depending on the SAQ type and transaction volume, an organization may also be required to undergo additional validation processes, such as vulnerability scanning or penetration testing, conducted by a qualified security assessor (QSA) or an approved scanning vendor (ASV).

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