What Is PCI Compliance?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) are best practices that seek to safeguard cardholder credentials. PCI is an initiative of major card payment brands to provide a consistent rationale for merchants’ security protocols.

As long as you store, process, or transmit any cardholder information, you must be PCI-compliant. Practically, almost every business in Nederland, Port Arthur, Beaumont, and East Texas accepts credit/debit card payment; so, you might want to be a little keener on this.

Here’s a short video to get you started:

Why Should You Be PCI-Compliant?

For starters, non-compliance is quite costly and is bad for business. Although the Standard is not a state or federal law to be executed by the government, non-compliance may attract several inconveniencing enforcement actions on your enterprise. The payment brands will penalize the acquiring banks, automatically transferring the fines to the non-compliant merchant. At the very extreme, they may permanently or temporarily ban your organization from receiving card payments. With a ban enforced on your enterprise, you’ll inevitably lose some of your clients. Besides, your reputation will be tarnished. In any case, you’ll have succeeded in demonstrating your incompetence in safeguarding cardholder credentials.

What’s more — PCI non-compliance often automatically qualifies you to be in breach of GDPR. So, you also risk the repercussions of GDPR violation, i.e., a fine of up to €20,000,00.

Imagine a small or medium-sized business like yours having to deal with PCI non-compliance fines, a ban on accepting card payments, and an extra $23,294,00 penalty for GDPR violation, all at once. Even for a large enterprise, this situation could be a business-ending event.

Is there a way out of all these? Yes — by ensuring that your organization stays PCI compliant.

How Can You Become PCI Compliant? The requirements differ depending on the size of your organization:

For small businesses with standalone bank card terminals from the acquiring banks

  • You must assign unique user IDs to each employee who has access to bank card information: This is important for tracing access attempts and login activities, i.e., when did the user access specific data, and how they use it?
  • You must have robust passwords for all devices processing card payments: Do not use generic default passwords. Implement password complexity and expiration protocols for any computer handling bank card transactions.
  • Restrict access to cardholder information: The Standards state that access to user credentials and logs should only be on a ‘Need to Know’ basis. Even so, you must have clear records of how your business obtained and used this information.
  • You must have clear policies and protocols for all workers that deal with bank card information.

For Larger organizations with Point-of-Sale Systems or third party software

  • You must install and update firewalls protection for all corporate computers.
  • You must also have reliable antivirus protection just in case your systems get hacked.
  • Your systems must be scanned every quarter of the year by a third-party PCI Certified scanning company.

What Are The Benefits Of PCI Compliance? As you must have noticed, most PCI DSS requirements are just your standard cybersecurity measures defined to fit specific scenarios. Compliance, therefore, is not just a way to avoid being punished or sanctioned. Actually, the biggest beneficiary will be your business:

  • PCI compliance enhances your cybersecurity: In the chase to meet these Standards, you will be implementing fundamental cybersecurity measures like firewalls, antivirus software, and password complexity/expiration protocols.
  • Better Public Relations: Every client wants to be sure that you can protect their credentials. There’s no better way to give them reassurance than publishing that you are PCI compliant.

Discovery I.T. is your trusted compliance partner and provider of hyper-professional IT solutions in Beaumont, Nederland, East Texas, and Port Arthur.

Give us a call today at (409) 240-0686 and leave the rest to us.

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