Most restaurant and retail corporations have been managing PCI DSS security compliance for decades. Back in the day, compliance management had to be done manually, and spreadsheets were the best way of tracking your compliance engagement. Through the years, those very same spreadsheets have been passed along from CISO to CISO.

It’s no wonder that everyone in your corporation who’s involved in compliance activities dreads the work. 

In all likelihood, your franchise corporation is using some hodge-podge of internal systems for collecting, storing, and tracking your evidence. You probably also have challenges getting personnel to adopt and follow your directional guidance.

At some point, enough is enough and you start looking for a compliance management tool that eases the pain of your PCI engagement. There’s gotta be a better mousetrap out there.

You have several options available to you, but not every solution is a good one. In fact, most options will only increase the time, labor, or money you’re already wasting on compliance management. But the right choice can make your corporation more efficient, more effective, and even more profitable.

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Internal Solutions to PCI Compliance Management

Most retail and restaurant franchise corporations try to use some form of internal system to manage PCI compliance. The thinking is that you can save money by relying on your own people and the tools your organization already owns.

I’ve seen every kind of homegrown compliance tool out there, from spreadsheets with complex macros to a cobbled-together ticketing system to internally developed software applications. In every case — literally, every case — those systems are more costly than necessary and more trouble than they’re worth.

Building your own system usually takes more time than you think it will, and it always requires ongoing maintenance and updates. You can never set it and forget it:

  • Compliance personnel request new functionality.
  • New bugs are discovered that need to be fixed.
  • The system needs to be set up or reset for the next year’s compliance cycle.
  • Vulnerabilities were discovered in your homegrown system.
  • Compliance standards have been updated, requiring system updates on your end.

In the case of PCI-DSS, companies are now transitioning from PCI 3.2.1 to PCI 4. The entire structure of the compliance framework has changed, language of the requirements have changed, and the requirement guidance has changed. If you use a homegrown system, it will essentially need to be rebuilt from the ground up.

And then again, the next time another update occurs. Since PCI’s initial release of the version 4 requirements, incremental updates, minor revisions have been issued, additional clarification documentation has been released — all of which cause organizations to waste more time reviewing these updates and making changes to their systems to ensure alignment with the latest updates.

Even for minor system tweaks and bug fixes, you need someone standing by who can manage and maintain your internal compliance system. Those people resources aren’t cheap, and they won’t always be available when you need them — higher priorities may be in the queue ahead of your internal compliance system needs, leaving your compliance team with issues that remain unaddressed.

Those troubles are why many retail and restaurant franchise corporations go with a third-party solution, such as a GRC system.

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GRC Systems for PCI-DSS

GRC systems allow you to consolidate all of your HR systems, contracts, vendor management, accounting and much more. Those systems work great for singular access to data points, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to an easier compliance management process. 

GRCs may have a bolted-on module for PCI-DSS, but there’s a downside. Security compliance is just one among more than 100 other components in the system, which means the GRC doesn’t specialize in compliance management — it merely incorporates your compliance data. There’s a huge difference, and most compliance managers find that GRCs are clunky and don’t streamline or simplify anything of substance.

On top of that, GRCs are horrendously expensive. Not only is the system itself costly, most corporations end up paying a lot of additional professional services fees for initial configuration and rollout of the behemoth system, plus any special projects typically require one of their experts to work behind the scenes like a scene from the Wizard of Oz with some skilled individual pulling the correct levers. 

A rollout of a typical GRC system is something that takes at least months, and in many cases several years. This leaves those managing compliance shaking their heads, hoping for a better way.

Related: The Best Tool for PCI-DSS Compliance Management for Franchise Corporations

TCT Portal for PCI Compliance Management

TCT Portal is an automated platform that’s designed by security compliance experts who understand the pains of PCI compliance management. The system introduces efficiencies, team effectiveness, and cost savings that franchise organizations have never been able to achieve before.

It pays dividends to leverage a purpose-built system specifically for compliance management that’s designed to alleviate your greatest pain points. Here’s how TCT Portal does it for your organization.

Fast Setup Time

When you decide to sign up with TCT Portal, we’ll immediately create an account for your organization. During that process, we confirm the users and your configuration needs. We’ll also send you the login info for each user, and you’re all set to go!

Setup time is quick. It’s not a multi-month configuration process, like GRCs can be. Once we have the information in hand, it happens very quickly. Generally speaking, we’ll get you up and running within one business day.

Greater PCI compliance efficiency

With TCT Portal, everyone on your team has clear guidance and examples of what evidence they should be submitting. They have a ready reference to what they did last year. If a franchise location had turnover from the previous year, the new personnel can go in and see exactly what was done and have immediate success while minimizing training needed. 

Even those who aren’t new to PCI compliance often don’t remember everything they did the previous year. But because TCT Portal has all of their activity saved, they can go in and remind themselves how to do their assigned tasks.

That means less rework, fewer hours blown on training, quicker task completion, and more efficient evidence reviews.

Greater cost savings 

The biggest efficiency gain on your PCI-DSS compliance engagement is the compiled time you can save across the breadth of your brand’s locations. It adds up quickly and before you know it, your retail or restaurant corporation has saved hundreds or thousands of man-hours — translating to tens of thousands of dollars per year.

Retail and restaurant corporations that use GRCs for compliance management spend more on annual service fees alone (let alone layering the GRC licensing fees into the mix) than the entire cost of TCT Portal.

Franchise corporations recover so much wasted money that it would be foolish not to choose TCT Portal. If that sounds like an exaggeration, you can run the numbers yourself in our ROI calculator and discover what your corporation could expect to gain with TCT Portal.

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Greater compliance effectiveness

The compliance management system isn’t just a tool for the compliance manager. A good compliance management tool makes everyone’s life better. Anyone who has to do any task related to compliance benefits from a quality solution for compliance management. 

  • Task expectations are clearer.
  • Assignment allocation and comprehension is straightforward.
  • Line item activities are completed faster across the board.
  • Rework and duplicated efforts virtually disappear.
  • Overtime due to compliance becomes rare.

Retail and restaurant organizations that use TCT Portal have more engaged compliance personnel who participate more actively and pay more attention to the quality of their work. 

Because PCI compliance activities are so much less painful, they’re able to give more of themselves to the critical work of compliance management. This is critical, because the success of your protection against cyberattack ultimately depends on everyone’s human effort and vigilance.

BONUS: Happier Employees 

Once you go through a couple of compliance cycles with TCT Portal under your belt, you’ll notice your personnel begin to display a different attitude toward organizational PCI compliance activities. While no one is going to throw a party because it’s compliance time, they won’t be dreading it anymore either. 

  • Morale will improve.
  • Responsiveness to assigned tasks will increase.
  • Stress levels will plummet. 

You can expect to see a noticeable difference in the company culture during compliance season in those future years in stark contrast to the dark memories of the past. That kind of culture change has a measurable influence on supporting the minimization of employee turnover rates.

Stop Dreading PCI Compliance Season

If you want to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and cost savings of your PCI-DSS engagements, you have a lot of options to consider — but most of them will fail in one or more of those critical areas. TCT Portal delivers on all three.

You don’t have to dread PCI compliance season at your organization. Request a demo and see how much easier PCI can be for your franchise organization.

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