With recent technology, the rate of cybercrime is on the rise. It is for this reason that many businesses follow the guidelines of PCI when dealing with credit card information. Here are some frequently asked questions about PCI data security.
What Is PCI Compliance?
The PCI DSS guidelines ensure that all companies that handle credit card information do it in a secure environment. These standards were formed to improve payment account security. The rules are administered and managed by a body created by the payment card brands MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express.
The penalty for non-compliance will vary with the payment brand and may range from $5,000 to $10,000 a month. The acquiring bank will pass over the fine until it hits the merchant. Additionally, the bank could increase your transaction fees or terminate your relationship.
To Whom Does PCI Data Security Standards Apply?
PCI DSS affects all retail merchants who accept credit card payments from clients using MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. PCI Compliance also applies to service providers who deal with internet services like Amazon Web Services.
If a security breach could put your customer data at risk, you should comply with PCI DSS. Each year, you will be required to be PCI compliant to secure client data. The PCI Data Security mandates include creating strong passwords and cyber security protocols and encrypting information that is sent through public networks by using updated anti-virus programs.
What Is PCI Compliant Hosting?
Since PCI Compliance involves protecting the server environment, businesses are not required to use a shared hosting environment. You should use a dedicated or virtual server run by a web host that is conversant with PCI compliance issues.
For example, if you want to host an e-commerce site, you should use virtual machines that serve your company alone. In this case, you will be required to use two virtual machines – one for your database and the other for your website. Your host should have firewall rules that allow the web server to tap into the database server. The average cost for PCI compliant hosting is $500 per month.
What Are The Requirements For PCI Compliance?
One of the basic actions you need to take to be PCI compliant is to use a secure hosting environment. You should also hire an approved scanning vendor to check your site. You should have your site scanned after 90 days.
Another measure you should take to be PCI compliant is to make sure your business practices are up to PCI standards. This includes how you handle face-to-face transactions and credit card data. You may also have to submit a Self-Assessment Questionnaire.
How Do You Get Started?
The first step you need to take to comply with PCI is to establish a committee. The committee shall be in charge of determining which directives and levels apply to your organization. It shall also establish and test controls associated with payment processing security, maintaining PCI DSS compliance, and remediation of security vulnerabilities.
Committee members should be from different parts of your organization’s departments. Some of the departments that should be represented include information security, legal, human resources, compliance, finance, risk management, auditing, and information technology.
How Do You Reduce Your Costs And Risks?
One way of reducing your costs and risks is by limiting your PCI compliance scope. This can be achieved by switching to a payment method where the credit card number does not have to pass through your network. With such an approach, you reduce the risk and requirements needed to be PCI compliant.
For example, payment methods like PayPal Standard take users off your site and return them later. Since these payment methods can lead to cart abandonment, many people prefer payment procedures that allow users to remain on your site. Some of the payment providers that limit your PCI compliance but also allow users to remain on your site include Authorize.Net Direct Post Method, Amazon Checkout PayPal Payments Advanced, and Braintree Payments.
While PCI compliance is not mandatory for all entities, both MasterCard and Visa require service providers and merchants to be validated based on PCI DSS standards. Fighting cybercrime is the motivation for PCI DSS regulations. Apart from being penalized for non-compliance, a security breach can be costly in terms of compromised records and can also ruin the reputation of your business. Therefore, PCI compliance is necessary to ensure the security of customer and business data.