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What Is PCI Compliance?

Millions of people around the world have fallen victim to credit card fraud. According to a report, global card fraud losses are predicted to exceed 35 billion dollars in 2020. Businesses that accept credit card payments must protect their client information to prevent them from falling victim to credit card fraud.

For companies to meet the required security standards, various guidelines have been laid out. In protecting credit card data, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) was developed.

Check out our latest video to learn more about PCI DSS:

What Is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)?

Launched in December 2004, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security requirements established and maintained by the PCI Security Standards Council. The PCI Security Standard Council, formed in 2006, is an independent agency established by all major card brands (MasterCard, JCB International, VISA, American Express, and Discover). These guidelines are aimed to ensure that all merchants that store, transmit, and process debit and credit card information develop and maintain a secure environment to reduce the likelihood of the cardholder’s data getting stolen or compromised.

Why Is the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance Important? Businesses that accept credit card payments and those that transmit, store, or process cardholder data must comply with the PCI DSS regulations. Credit card companies are mandated to enforce PCI compliance. According to a report, only 39.7% of American companies are 100% PCI compliant.

What Are The Requirements for PCI Compliance? PCI DSS provides requirements for security procedures, policies, software management, and network architecture. These guidelines are considered the best security practices. Its six main requirements include:

Build and Maintain a Secure System

  • Install Firewalls: Configuring firewalls helps to block access by malicious entities from accessing private data.
  • Create and Update System Passwords: Third-party products often come with easily accessible passwords. Create random system passwords and frequently update them to keep your data safe.

Protect Cardholder Information

  • Protect Stored Data: Companies that store cardholder data should employ multiple data protection methods such as authentication, passwords, and physical restrictions to servers.
  • Encrypt Transmitted Data: Cardholder data is often sent across multiple public channels. This data must be encrypted to ensure that it is unreadable and useless to any malicious actor.

Maintain a Vulnerability Control Program

  • Install and Update Your Anti-Virus Software: It’s essential to install and regularly update your anti-virus software to protect your systems against the most recently developed malware.
  • Maintain Secure Applications: Frequently update applications and software in your system to patch security loopholes.

Implement Robust Access Control Measures

  • Restrict Access to Data on Only a Need-to-know Basis: Cardholder data should only be accessed on a ‘need to know’ basis.  Those that do not need access to this data should not have it.
  • Give a Unique ID to Persons with Data Access: Persons who have access to cardholder data should have individual credentials for access. Unique IDs minimize vulnerabilities and facilitate a quicker response time in case of a data breach.
  • Restrict Physical Access to Data: Cardholder data should be stored in a secure location, and access should be limited.

Regularly Monitor and Test Networks

  • Monitor All Access to Your Network and Data: All activity involving access to cardholder data requires log entry. This will help pinpoint the cause in the event of a security breach.
  • Frequently Test Security Processes: With regular testing processes in place, you can ensure your client’s data is safe at all times.

Maintain an Information Security Policy

  • Maintain a Policy That Addresses Information Security for Employees and Contractors: The policy should include all acceptable uses of technology and annual processes for risk analysis and operational security procedures.

PCI compliance is a core security component for all companies that handle cardholder data. Non-compliance with PCI requirements makes cardholder information easily accessible to cybercriminals. Cardholder data can then be used in identity fraud or a multitude of fraudulent actions. Non-compliance can also result in substantial fines for agreement violations and loss of business.

Are You Looking for A PCI Compliance Partner You Can Rely On?

Although becoming compliant may seem overwhelming for your business, having the right IT company as a compliance partner will make the process easier.

At Buffalo Computer Help, we offer years of expertise and experience in helping businesses in Buffalo and Western New York become PCI compliant.

Consult with us today, or call us on (716) 206-3200, and let us help you keep your company compliant and cardholder data safe.

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