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Why do businesses need to be PCI compliant?

If you are a business owner who accepts digital payments from your customers, you should host all of that data with a service provider compliant with the PCI rules and regulations. It involves following the security protocols associated with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard or PCI DSS.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard or PCI DSS has been developed by the PCI Security Standards Council. It provides an effective and actionable framework to ensure a robust security process for all account data. It helps in prevention, detection, and fast response to security incidents. The credit card sector has a set of policies and procedures to ensure credit card security. That being said, the best practices needed to ensure compliance goes far beyond maintaining the safety of credit card data of customers.

Importance of PCI compliance

To process the credit cards of your customers, you must consult with any PCI-compliant vendor.

It can be the perfect solution. It ensures safety and efficiency while dealing with credit card details. On the other hand, if your business handles a lot of credit cards, it would be a good idea to make sure that your company is compliant with the rules, policies, and regulations as prescribed by PCI DSS. When you become compliant with PCI DSS you get peace of mind knowing that the personal credit card data of users will be safe with you. Maintaining compliance with these regulations can protect you from possible hacking attempts. It is significant to consider if your business handles data from hundreds and thousands of credit cards every month.     

Increasing essentiality of PCI DSS compliance 

The PCI DSS and the supporting documents work as a significant set of measures and tools.

Hence, it is used for the effective and safe management of vital and sensitive information. Through the implementation of PCI DSS, it is possible to mitigate risks associated with the data breach. These regulations help mitigate possible impacts of a data breach, in case it happens. Hence, it is essential to ensure that all entities that process, store and transmit the data of cardholders are compliant with PCI DSS. Most cybercriminals and thieves try to steal credit card data, and thus it makes good sense to take proper precautions so that such things do not happen. 

Through post-mortem compromise analysis, many of the common and critical security problems can be addressed by the measures undertaken by PCI DSS. From the very beginning, PCI DSS was designed and developed with the sole aim of mitigating and managing different types of cyber security threats that focus on stealing credit cardholder data. It can help in bringing down the possibility of data theft and the aftereffects of such a compromise if it takes place. Since PCI DSS is based on actual incidents of data breaches, it can help protect people from possible credit card data security breaches.   

What does PCI DSS signify for e-commerce based businesses?

PCI DSS is a powerful way to safeguard any personal and credit card data of the customers. But, it even protects the business entity in more ways than one. They involve some of the best practices when it comes to the protection of data from possible security threats online. If your company has an external hosting service provider, find out whether the hosting expert is compliant with the regulations and policies of PCI DSS or not. They need to carry out the annual SSAE 16 or SOC 1 audit. If you find that your hosting service company is not compliant with the PCI DSS regulations, you should opt for a different service provider with a more hands-on approach to online security. Such companies typically seriously take PCI DSS compliance. Neither you nor your hosting service provider should be lackadaisical about PCI DSS compliance. 

Steps involved in PCI DSS compliance 

There are several steps in implementing the policies and regulations associated with PCI DSS.

These steps are defined below. 

  • Creating a secure network for online transactions and then maintaining it
  • Protecting the data of the cardholder
  • Establishing a robust and efficient vulnerability management program
  • Implementing strong measures for access and control
  • Regularly overseeing and evaluating the network strength
  • Maintaining an effective and result-driven information security policy

According to the number of online transactions that your company manages on a one-year basis, there are multiple levels of compliance, and you should know about them.   

  • Level 4: Level 4 is the first and lowest level. It applies to companies that manage 20,000 or fewer card transactions annually. It is crucial to carry out the website and network scans regularly. Moreover, it should be done by a formally approved scanning vendor. Your team must complete a self-assessment questionnaire and attestation of compliance. The fee for this level is low and is only about $60 a month.
  • Level 3: Level 3 compliance is for companies managing transactions, between 20000 and one million transactions annually. The fee for this level is high, around $1200 annually.
  • Level 2: Level 2 comprises companies managing 1 to 6 million transactions annually. For this, your annual costs will be about $10000 to $50000. It can also be affected by the size of the network you are working with and your total IP addresses.
  • Level 1: Level 1 is the maximum level associated with companies handling six million or more transactions annually. They may also store their data, run their servers, and write most of their codes. The fee for such companies is going to be more than $50000.

A look into the above-discussed details will let you know about how PCI DSS compliance works worldwide. You can click here to learn more about PCI DSS compliance.