The Federal Trade Commission has issued orders to nine companies requiring them to provide the agency with information on how they conduct assessments of companies to measure their compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).

PCI DSS audits are required by the major payment card issuing companies of retailers and other businesses that process more than one million card transactions in a given year and are intended to ensure that companies are providing adequate protection to consumers’ sensitive personal information.

The nine companies receiving orders from the FTC are Foresite MSP; Freed Maxick CPAs, P.C.; GuidePoint Security; Mandiant; NDB; PwC; SecurityMetrics; Sword and Shield Enterprise Security; and Verizon Enterprise Solutions (also known as CyberTrust). The FTC is seeking details about the assessment process employed by the companies, including the ways assessors and companies they assess interact; copies of a limited set of example PCI DSS assessments, and information on additional services provided by the companies, including forensic audits.

The FTC said that information collected will be used to study the state of PCI DSS assessments.