PCI Compliance: Selecting a Qualified Security Assessor

Hiring a PCI DSS Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) is a key step in working towards PCI Compliance. Selecting the right QSA goes beyond just checking their certification; it's about finding a partner to safeguard your payment processes.

Understanding the Role and Certification of QSAs:

Qualified Security Assessors are professionals certified by the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). Their role is pivotal in conducting PCI assessments for businesses, ensuring adherence to security standards. They have the authority to sign off on a Report on Compliance (ROC), a critical document in the PCI compliance process.

It's essential to ensure that your chosen QSA is employed by a Qualified Security Assessor Company (QSAC). This verification can be done on the PCI Security Standards Council website, as only reports from listed entities hold validity.

Matching Your Needs with the Right QSA Expertise:

The ideal QSA should align with your organization’s specific needs, understanding your technology and industry requirements. Opt for an experienced QSA who can offer insightful guidance over a less experienced auditor. Their expertise can significantly enhance your journey towards PCI compliance.

Evaluating the Costs and Benefits:

Investing in a QSA is crucial for maintaining compliance and safeguarding against breaches and legal complications. Costs for a PCI assessment vary, ranging from $15,000 for moderate-sized setups to over $50,000 for larger environments. Remember, QSAs also offer consulting services, which are vital for thorough preparation and continuous support.

Engaging with Your QSA:

A QSA's role extends beyond assessments. Engage them for pre-assessment analyses, validating controls, and assisting in remediation efforts. A consistent relationship with your QSA is beneficial for ongoing advice and adapting to changes in your PCI environment.

Vendor neutrality

When choosing a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA), prioritizing vendor neutrality is essential. A vendor-neutral QSA offers unbiased advice, focusing solely on the best interests of your organization. This approach ensures that their recommendations are tailored to meet your specific business needs and budget, rather than being influenced by affiliations with specific hardware or software vendors. Selecting a QSA committed to this impartiality is key to achieving a truly effective and compliant security strategy for your business.

Finding and Choosing the Right QSA:

Searching for a suitable QSA involves careful evaluation. Utilize the PCI Security Standards Council website to identify active QSAs and QSACs. Interview potential QSAs, focusing on their experience with environments similar to yours and their consulting capabilities. Be cautious of firms that might outsource projects or lack proper certification.

Search for QSA Company here: https://listings.pcisecuritystandards.org/assessors_and_solutions/qualified_security_assessors

Upon visiting the above link, you will see the QSA Company table as below:

QSA Company Table

QSAC table snapshot

TIP: Note that the QSACs can only provide services in regions assigned by the PCI SSC. You can find the "Service Markets" as shown in the image above.

To check if the QSA provided by the QSA Company meets the PCI SSC requirements, select the employee button on the above page and search by using the QSA's name or their certificate number.

Verfiy your Qualified Security Assessor

Verify a QSA


PCI SSC has provided a feedback form to monitor and maintain the quality of service offered by QSA and QSA company. The link is provided here: https://listings.pcisecuritystandards.org/assessors_and_solutions/qualified_security_assessors_feedback

Qualified Security Assessor - Feedback Form

QSA Feedback Form

Always provide feedback via the above link. Note that the above feedback is not shared with the QSA Company, therefore if you want, you can pdf or take a screenshot of the filled form so that you can provide the feedback to the QSA company as well.


Selecting the right QSA is a strategic decision, pivotal for your organization's security and compliance. It requires considering your specific needs, the QSA’s expertise, and the associated costs. By thoroughly vetting potential QSAs and forming a collaborative relationship, you ensure a robust process for maintaining the integrity of your payment processing capabilities.

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