Qualified Security Assessor

A Qualified Security Assessor, or QSA, is a security company who has been certified by the PCI Security Standards Council (SSC) to perform PCI DSS assessments. A QSA’s primary responsibility is to assess the security of an organization’s payment card processing environment in accordance with the PCI DSS.

What are the requirements for becoming QSA certified?

So, what are the requirements for becoming QSA certified?

Step 1: Application

The organization must first submit the required documentation, including certifications, business license, insurance certificates and the registration fee, which is credited against the initial enrollment fee if the firm becomes qualified.

Step 2: Training

All individuals who will be involved in assessing security for the company’s clients must undergo and pass the Council’s QSA training course and receive official certification. Individual fees apply.

Step 3: Enrollment

When the enrollment fee balance has been received by the PCI Security Standards Council, the organization will receive a Letter of Acceptance from the Council, and each of its employees who has passed the training course will receive a Certificate of Qualification. The new QSA firm will be listed on the Council Web site, the employees will be added to the Council’s database of certified personnel, and the organization may now perform audits for its clients.

Step 4: Transition from QSA to AQSA

If a QSA wishes to transition to an Associate QSA, the Primary Contact may choose to submit a Transition Request: QSA to Associate QSA.

You can find more information on the PCI Security Standards Council website.

How does the QSA process work?

Once a QSA has been appointed for your organization, they will assess your company’s compliance with PCI DSS. They will audit the security posture of your organization’s environment, policies and procedures, and methods used by your organization for safeguarding data, assessing whether it meets the standards of PCI DSS.

What are the benefits of using a QSA?

  • Hiring a QSA will ensure no conflict of interest when it comes to assessment and recommendation. A QSA will ensure thorough due diligence of the compliance processes and assist merchants in achieving and maintaining compliance. 
  • The cybersecurity industry is rapidly evolving and hard to keep up with for most businesses. QSAs have to remain in pace with the evolving industry standards and norms. They are in a better position to understand the growing information security requirements of specific industries and communicate necessary changes.
  • Hiring a QSA company means you don’t need to spend time understanding the complicated standards of PCI DSS compliance.
  • A QSA  will help organizations in the process of achieving security compliance. They will guide you through the compliance process and ensure the correct implementation of security controls for achieving compliance. They also play a significant role in ensuring you remain compliant by giving you continuous advice.
  • Finally, having a QSA on board can help provide additional peace of mind knowing that your systems are being monitored by an expert and that it meets industry best practices and requirements. If any issues arise during the process, there’s someone there who can provide guidance in addressing them accordingly.