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Card transactions play a vital role in facilitating transactions. This is because they negate the need to carry plenty of hard cash not to mention that they allow for smooth cross-border transactions seamlessly. They are however not without their own share of downsides. They are targets of cybercriminals and data breaches.
To keep these issues at bay, the various stakeholders have to conform to certain standards. We are going to explore the importance of PCI compliance in our discussions hereunder. We are going to offer compelling reasons to implement these strategies in your business.
What Is PCI Compliance
For a start, PCI compliance is a set of information security standards that are set forth for organizations that handle the credit and debit cards. They govern the use, handling, storage, and facilitation of the data. They spell out the practices to uphold, those to avoid, and how to prevent the various problems from arising. Its main aim is to reduce the incidences of fraud and possible identity thefts.
The standard is administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. The validations of these standards are ascertained on an annual basis. It might be done an external qualified security assessor or any other relevant internal security assessor.
10 Major Importance Of PCI Compliance In Online Business
1. Protects Sensitive Customer Data
All the information that is entered by the customers is usually sensitive. These include the official names, date of birth, bank account details and PINs, among others. The PCI compliance demands that these vital pieces of information be safeguarded at all times. It, therefore, follows that by complying with these standards, the sensitive customer data is shielded from unnecessary possible breaches. This is great for the safety and wellbeing of consumers.
2. Reduces the Risks of Possible Data Loss
Other than safeguarding the consumer data, compliance to the PCI standards also reduces their possible losses. This is because the data that is furnished by the customers are often held in stock and used for repeat purchases. If they are carelessly stored or handled, it may often be necessary to lose them altogether. This guarantees the sanctity of future transactions and also eliminates the need to waste too much time while processing subsequent transactions.
3. Expedites the Detection and Prevention of Potential Data Breach
Some aspects of PCI compliance are also futuristic. This is to mean that they look forward by predicting the detection and prevention of any impending data breaches. They may, for instance, suggest how the data breach may arise, its likely impacts, and how they might be mitigated. This compliance, therefore, saves a great deal of time and resources. This is not to mention slowing down any impacts of such breaches if and when they do arise.
4. Safeguards both Cardholders and Merchants
Complying with the PCI terms of references is great for both the merchants and the cardholders. To the merchants, compliance with these standards will minimize possible financial losses. These might normally arise out of suspicious activities of third parties. To the cardholders, compliance with these standards leads to safer transactions, greater trust on the system and expedited processing of the transactions. This is not to mention safety from all kinds of adverse negative problems.
5. Assures Clients of their Security
By far the topmost concern for all clients while utilizing the web platform or their cards to transact business is their safety. Many are indeed hesitant to surrender their details for fear that they might be used to settle future payments without their consent. The PCI compliance also aims to allay these fears. Your compliance with these standards will, therefore, go a long way in assuring your clients of their security at all times.
6. Mitigates the Likelihood of Identity Theft
Perhaps the most common means of violating the security of the customers is to steal their identity. Identity theft is basically the use of other people’s personal names and other vital identifiers to acquire loans, credit, goods, and services. The PCI compliance does lay strict regulations as regards access to these vital pieces of information. Your compliance with these rules, therefore, enables you to considerably reduce the likelihood of such thefts occurring.
7. Spares you of Fines and other Associated Penalties
Non-compliance to the PCI standards do come along with some undesirable consequences. These are mainly the heavy fines and other forms of penalties. Depending on the nature of the breach and the jurisdiction you operate in, you might usually have to part with as much as $100,000! These fines do take a toll on the company revenue and financial standing. This is why you should avoid them at all costs. That can only happen if you comply with the PCI standards.
8. Reduces Possible Revenue Losses
As stated, the failure to comply with these PCI standards may often evoke fines and other forms of financial punishments. It, therefore, follows that by failing to comply with these standards, you also get to lose portions of your revenue. This leads to reduced income stream and possible shutdowns especially if the problem persists. You can never hope to stay vibrant in business without complying with these issues.
9. Safeguards Brand Reputation
For your brand to be trusted and relied on, you have to make every effort possible to safeguard it. You have to avoid any issues that might usually compromise its reliability. Compliance with the PCI standards is a sure way of guaranteeing this safeguard. Most enlightened clients, as a matter of fact, will usually insist that the company it deals with shows proof of this compliance before proceeding.
10. Guarantees the Right to Facilitate Payments using Cards
Lastly, compliance with these standards is the only guarantee that your company might retain the right to facilitate payments using the major credit and debit cards. This is because most of these cards and their issuers will usually carry out random checks to ascertain whether their clients are compliant or not. Moreover, companies usually have to furnish their banks with the latest compliance information and prove that they are indeed capable of mitigating data breaches.
PCI Compliance Checklist At A Glance
PCI security training and the bellow checklist may help you a lot to control the security issues. The following issues will have to be got right if there is any hope to comply with these standards:
- Installation and maintenance of a firewall configuration. This is necessary to shield the data of the cardholder. It is what guarantees the safety of the data on the whole.
- Abandonment of the vendor-supplied defaults. This is closely followed by a reset of the system passwords and other vital security parameters such as PINs and biometrics.
- Protection of the stored cardholder data. This could take the forms of backups and secondary storage devices.
- The encryption of the transmission of cardholder data across all platforms like the open, public and networks. Encryption makes it difficult for the data to be breached or accessed by mistake.
- Utilization and the regular update of the anti-virus software. Some complex forms of breaches may be avoided by this step.
- Development and maintenance of secure systems and applications. Such an initiative will go a long way in bolstering the safety of data not to mention the expedited access and processing of transactions.
- Restriction of the access to the cardholder data by the business need-to-know. This is necessary as some data may be illegally accessed by the employees of the firm as well.
- Assign of unique IDs to each person who has access to the computers. By so doing, it may be easier to track and monitor the flow of information and other access keys.
- Regular testing of the security systems and processes. It allows for the detection of any impending breaches or leaks that might create room for unauthorized access.
- Tracking and monitoring of all access to the network resources and the cardholder data. This also complements the assignment of the unique IDs as it allows for easier tracking and monitoring of the flow of information.
Conclusion (The Final Thought)
Well, you have obtained the guidance you badly want to possess as regards the importance of PCI compliance. Indeed, these standards play a vital role in enhancing the safety and security of the card and online transactions. This is why you now have to make every effort to incorporate them into your business regime.
As you may well have noted, these strategy is quite complicated. You, therefore, have to bring in an expert to help you out. You do not want to enjoy the benefits alone. Therefore, consider sharing this information with others. All the best as you comply with these standards!