Security Maturity Model and How It Works with PCI DSS Compliance

Jan 29, 2020

Much like small business finance, information security seems to be another neglected aspect of an organization. While many businesses implement some type of security program, unfortunately, some issues are not identified until there has been a serious breach in security.

If you are a business that is unsure about where your security program stands in terms of being prepared, you can utilize a security maturity model to give you an objective means to test for preparedness and make the necessary adjustments and improvements to better equip your security processes.

So What Is A Security Maturity Model?

Security Maturity Modeling is a formal process used to evaluate your organization’s cybersecurity maturity. It also identifies the next step in your organization’s security journey. The term “maturity” refers to how formal and optimized the processes are within a program.

Its aim is to create processes that are thorough, repeatable, and with the potential to continuously improve. In addition, the goal is to completely automate these processes to make them an integral part of the organization’s operational infrastructure.

Using a security maturity model assists an organization by identifying areas where their process is more “reactive” to security threats. With this important information, organizations can modify their current processes so that they are more proactive and enforce measurable improvements.

Elements Of A Security Maturity Model

There are essentially five different maturity levels in the model.  Every one of these levels describes the certain level of optimization that the organization has for its security process.

As organizations progress from one level to the next, the process will go from unorganized and unstructured to a level where their data processes run smoothly and constantly optimized.

These are the five maturity levels within a security maturity model:

Level 1: Initial

No organized processes in place. Processes are informal. Security processes are reactive, not repeatable, measurable, or scalable.

Level 2: Repeatable

Some processes have become repeatable. A formal program is initiated but discipline is lacking. Certain processes have been established, defined, and documented.

Level 3: Defined

Processes have become more formalized, standardized, and defined. This creates consistency throughout the organization.

Level 4: Managed

The organization begins to measure, refine, and adapt their security processes to make them more efficient and effective based on the data they have received from their program.

Level 5: Optimizing

At this level, the organization has processes that are automated, documented, and consistently analyzed for optimization. Cybersecurity is now part of the organization’s culture. It doesn’t mean that the maturity level has peaked, just constantly monitoring and evolving to continuously improve their processes.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS Compliance) is a set of security standards that must be followed to secure credit and debit card transactions against data theft and fraud. However, this is considered “low bar” and needs to be enhanced by additional practice to avoid fraud. This is where adding a security maturity model makes perfect sense. It’s about both “optimizing your compliance” as well as making a secure investment for your business.

In Conclusion

There are different types of security maturity models that can fit your organization. The best way to utilize a security maturity model is to identify the weaknesses currently present in your organizational processes.


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Having a merchant account allows an account holder to take advantage of merchant cash advances. When a merchant is approved for an advance, the business agrees to receive a lump sum of cash in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of future credit card sales.

Pricing varies depending on the merchant’s industry, past credit card processing history, the type of business seeking the account, average ticket sales, and average transaction volumes.

Yes, EMB works with merchants who are building their credit, as well as those who have poor credit. EMB also approves merchants that have no credit card processing history and businesses that have lost their merchant accounts due to high chargebacks.

Several factors influence a merchant’s risk level. Though only one factor likely will not get a merchant classified as high risk, a combination of these may: business size, location, and industry, credit score, credit card processing history, a industry’s reputation for excessive chargebacks, a prior history of high chargeback ratios, and whether a merchant exclusively sells online.

Virtual terminals are stationed on a merchant’s website, making it easy for customers to make a payment or purchase online. Merchants or a payment processor can easily set up virtual terminals, so online businesses can accept credit and debit card and e-check transactions.

A merchant account is a business account with an acquiring bank. Without this business account, which actually works more like a line of credit, a merchant cannot accept and process credit and debit card transactions. Businesses need a merchant account to accept major credit cards via a static point-of-sale terminal, mobile card reader, or through a virtual payment gateway.

After filling out EMB’s simple online application and submitting any necessary, requested documents, many merchants get approved within 24 and 48 hours.

EMB specializes in working with high-risk merchants. EMB works with many merchants, including but not limited to businesses in these industries: gambling and gaming, adult entertainment, nutraceuticals, vaping and e-cigarettes, electronics, tech support, travel, high-end furniture, weight loss programs, calling cards, e-books and software, and telecommunications.

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