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PCI DSS Scope Reduction

Reducing the size of your cardholder data environment (CDE) can make it easier to manage and minimise the number of risks that you face.


How to make PCI DSS compliance easier

Scoping is especially beneficial when implementing a complex standard, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) with its 246 requirements, many of which are highly technical.

Defining a scope that is too narrow can lead to the cardholder data being compromised, while a scope that is too broad can significantly increase the cost. Fortunately, there are methods and products available that can help organisations of any size reduce their CDE while maintaining security – resulting in an implementation that is quicker, smoother and ultimately better.

Why is scope reduction so important?

Reducing the scope of an organisation’s PCI environment, especially with the appropriate network segmentation, provides the necessary security controls and reduces the potential risk to critical business assets, including cardholder information.

By limiting how much your systems transmit, store or process payment card data, you can reduce your PCI validation type, which could reduce the total amount of work needed to comply with the Standard.

Why choose IT Governance for PCI consultancy?

Our services provide a tailored route to PCI compliance, scalable to your budget and needs.


We go further than a simple ‘yes/ no’ approach to understand better how security measures work.

We work in partnership to help you understand what is required and why giving you control.

We can offer expertise to vet compensating controls and determine whether they are acceptable.

Companies using our PCI DSS products and services:

"IT Governance were very professional and pragmatic in their approach, and displayed a level of understanding of our business that we found unique and refreshing.” Damien Everard, COO of Appletree.

The value of completing a scope assessment and reduction

A PCI DSS scope assessment will correctly identify the CDE, including where the data sits on the system (both in terms of hardware and software), all the organisational processes that come into contact with payment card data and when they come into contact with this data.

This will help determine key areas where payment card data can be removed from your payment and business processes, and suggest appropriate solutions to help reduce the number of systems in scope.

By completing an assessment, you can:

  • Identify how to isolate system components that store, process or transmit cardholder data;
  • Restrict access to only what is needed to carry out the business task;
  • Advise on the use of cryptographic tools and solutions;
  • Operate point-to-point encryption (P2PE) that can effectively remove systems out-of-scope;
  • Employ technical solutions such as tokenisation to stop cardholder data from being stored in your environment; and
  • Outsource payment card processing.

Our PCI DSS scope reduction service (click here to see our service description)

  • A PCI scope reduction service conducted by an IT Governance Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) will help you identify the right self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ) to complete, and provide the appropriate support and advice to achieve full PCI DSS compliance.

Free PCI DSS resources


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Please contact us for further information or to speak to an expert.

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