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Oct 5, 2020
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Understanding PCI Compliance and Its Importance

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With stolen credit cards being used more and more in the online commercial world today, the PCI Standards council has set the PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance as a requirement. This makes it important for every online business in order to abide by a standard process while dealing with credit cards on the web.

Why is PCI Compliance Important to Businesses?

PCI Compliance is essential for businesses in more ways than one:

Security

The main objective of setting up PCI standards is to ensure a higher level of security at the time of payment card transactions. However, PCI compliance has turned into a standard and a norm in the card processing industry today. When any business fails to comply with the standards set for each transaction, it can lead to PCI Compliance Fees from credit card companies or banks. This can be as much as amounting to thousands of dollars. In a few cases, credit card companies or banks can completely stop extending all these services to merchants.

Security happens to be an important aspect of customer services that are rendered by any agency. Any merchant can be projected by PCI compliance as a business, which is serious about personal data protection and the security of customers. Basically, compliance with PCI and other data security standards can help businesses get more customers these days. When you are PCI Compliant, you actually contribute to making the business environment far safer. It goes with the better interests of your business over the long term.

Industry Standard

These days, it is an industry norm to comply with PCI standards. This has turned into a good business practice, and it is used to make sure that customers can rely on the quality levels. With PCI compliance, financial services can be delivered better to clients. It can lower the risks that are related to the transactions of funds. Customers can experience comfort while transacting with agencies that match PCI DSS standards even at the time of sharing personal details.

Recognition

PCI compliance is not only useful for customers. It can help credit card providers, financial institutions and banks gain more reputation and better recognition. PCI compliance, in simple terms, is more important for any online business these days – in order to get customers’ trust. It can ensure better relationship with financial agencies and avoid being fined by credit card providers and banks.

Getting the confidence of customers

For gaining consumer confidence, PCI compliance happens to be among the most vital aspects. It is a requirement for the top credit card agencies in order to be assured of safety. In the present times, the commercial business environment has become very fast-paced. There is an increasing reliance on electronic transactions, offline as well as online, and reliable security can get more importance. PCI compliance is needed for any merchant that is transmitting, storing or processing sensitive credit card information.

Some Important Requirements about PCI Compliance

Layers of protection are included in PCI security standard, and these have to be ensured by service providers, merchants and financial institutions while funds are processed with the help of credit cards. Such types of standards comprise of a comprehensive set of requirements from any agency that wants to process payments via credit cards. These requirements include:

  • Vulnerability management program maintaining
  • Maintaining Information Security Policy and other policies
  • Regular network testing & monitoring
  • Network architecture monitoring & testing
  • Software Design, which can safeguard data of cardholders
  • Security management, such as network security maintenance
  • Processes associated to Access Control Measures implementation

Companies following and practicing PCI standards have to carry out operations which can ensure compliance validation. These include quarterly scans and onsite review by QDSCs (qualified data security companies). There are quite a few data security regulations, other than PCI standard, for merchants out there – such as Accountability Act and Sarbanes-Oxley Act. However, PCI standard is regarded as the most easy to follow, precise and accurate standard even for small sized merchants.

PCI Compliance and Online Business Owners

Your first step as a web business owner is to look for an ASV and have PCI compliance-tested. Remember that every online business owner who makes use of credit cards for payments processing need to be compliant to PCI standards. Typically, PCI scanning occurs after every 4 months or so. It is the period needed for getting retesting conducted as the PCI standards council sets.

Daily PCI scanning is offered by a few companies, which means that every day, your online business would be scanned for any problem. It is regarded as time consuming and unnecessary. This is because, as many people report, servers are taken down by scanning tests due to the test intensity. Remember that after there is fixing of the server issues and it passes the requirements of PCI compliance, issues will not quickly recur. Thus, there is no need for daily tests to be conducted. A scan is needed to be done only once after every 3 months, according to the PCI security standards council.

As an online business owner, however, you should not fall for sales gimmicks such as daily PCI scanning tests. You would just have a website that is put under unnecessary pressure and does not have any actual additional value. While shopping online, customers typically look for sites that exhibit credibility and trust. Web seals can be an excellent way of improving sales online. Online business owners are offered a web seal by a few approved scanning vendors, after they are found to pass PCI compliance tests. Although the law does not make it mandatory that your online business has to be compliant to PCI standards, you would do well to opt for it to make sure that your website is vulnerable to threats from the outside.

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