PCI Compliance

Written by Jamal Gary

October 15, 2022

In the business world the word that is important for customers to have and feel is “trust.” Especially when money is concerned, it’s crucial that customers feel protected where they spend their money. We will talk about PCI Compliance, why it’s important and ways that your business can be compliant with the growing economy.

What is PCI Compliance?

PCI or payment card industry compliance is a set of twelve security standards that businesses must use when they accept, transmit, process and store credit card data. PCI involves requirements such as encryption of cardholder data, imaging, firewalls, updating software and assigning unique ids to each person with computer access.

The Basics

PCI can be frustrating for business owners because you take on a new topic. Cybersecurity: so, this is being protected against criminal or unauthorized use of electronic data. Some do not have this expertise or interest in this field but keep in mind as we stated earlier businesses payment networks are based on trust.

One thing that is crucial is knowing being PCI compliant is that it isn’t just a one-time exercise. This task must be completed yearly.

Requirements

Being PCI compliant has numerous steps to be completed. Here we will note each step. The requirements do vary by size of business and number of credit card transactions every year.

Here are the steps for Compliance

  1. Install and maintain a firewall- Including restrictions to untrusted networks and other efforts. Examples of a firewall are McAfee, Norton to name a few.

  2. Change vendor-supplied default passwords and security settings- Removing functionality where warranted

  3. Protect stored cardholder data- Having policies for disposing of data, avoiding storing certain types of data.

  4. Encrypt cardholder data- Don’t send unprotected account numbers via email, Instant messaging, text, chat, or other messaging technology.

  5. Update anti-virus software- Documenting periodic scans

  6. Develop security systems- Creating processes to find and take actions on vulnerabilities.

  7. Restrict access to cardholder data to a need-to-know basis. Creating user privileges and control systems

  8. Assign user ids to everyone with computer access- Authenticate users, document their policies in this area.

  9. Restrict physical access to cardholder data- Use cameras or other tools to monitor who is in sensitive areas.

  10. Track and monitor who accessed network and data

  11. Regularly test systems and processes- Test and inventory wireless access points.

  12. Have a policy on information security. Write, publish, and disseminate a policy once a year that lays usage roles for certain technologies and explains everyone’s responsibilities.

Why is this important for your business?

Public Service Announcement: PCI Compliance is not a law. But if there is a security breach there are financial penalties that must be paid.

Here are some advantages to being PCI compliant

  1. It protects residents’ card data and reduces security breaches.

  2. Boosts residents’ confidence

  3. Reduces cost of a data breach

  4. Offers a security standard for other agencies to follow

Being compliant is a great tool to have, especially for small businesses so people can feel safe with their information. If credit transactions are unsecured, then it’s more likely to be hacked. Hacked transactions may lead to identity fraud.

On the flip side, if you are not compliant and a security breach does happen you will be on the hook for those stolen funds, and more. You may have to pay back your customers, their banks and a fine.

 

As a small business it is important to secure the trust of your clientele. If their information is not secure, then it will change the relationship. Some customers may not give you another chance. Moving forward it would be in your best interest to protect yourself and your business.

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