Ensuring your online retail business is compliant with regulations set out by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council is an essential part of protecting your customers and their sensitive information during each transaction. Any merchant who accepts credit card payments, either online or offline, must follow the three main principles in the standard and any breaches are taken extremely seriously. But what are the PCI Security Standards and where do you begin when adhering to them to ensure your online business is fully secure?
Is Your Business PCI Compliant?
What is the Data Security Standard?The PCI’s Data Security Standard (DSS) is applicable to every retailer, whether you are a large corporation or a small e-commerce website. The requirements set out in these standards ensure that any sensitive information handled by your website (i.e. credit card numbers, expiration dates and CVV2 codes) is used securely and is fully protected from hackers and fraudsters. As mentioned the standard consists of three points, all of which are actively upheld by the Council, payment card brands and individual retailers to ensure best practice when it comes to security.
These three principles are as follows:
- Assess: This first step involves the identification of data from the cardholder, the maintenance of your IT inventory, the procedure when processing card payments and the analysis of any vulnerabilities that may expose sensitive data handled by you as a merchant
- Remedy: This second step is integral in creating a safe and secure environment for the completion of any transaction, all merchants must fix all vulnerabilities highlighted and avoid storing sensitive data unless needed
- Report: Keeping in touch with your acquiring bank and card payment brands to alert them of any remedial works and security issues is also a vital part of maintaining PCI Standards. Retailers should assemble and send remediation validation records and compliance reports to ensure customer safety during every transaction.
The benefits of PCI Security StandardsComplying with PCI Data Security Standards offers a number of benefits to businesses across all industries, one of the main advantages is keeping your online system secure for your customers. Customer trust is difficult to win back after fraud has taken place via your retail website, however, complying with standards set out by the PCI eliminates the risk of being targeted by hackers that leaves your website and its customers in a vulnerable position.
By following the three principles highlighted you can ensure your customers can shop with confidence and increase the likelihood of repeat custom for years to come thanks to your heightened reputation as a safe online shopping platform.
What happens if I don’t comply?Not complying with the standards set out by the PCI can be disastrous for businesses of all sizes and can have an extremely negative impact long after you have faced your penalty. Just one incident can damage your reputation as a trusted online retailer, leaving customers and financial institutions a little frosty.
Fraud can also result in a dramatic loss in sales, which can damage your company and its shareholders financially. Non-compliance can lead to costly lawsuits, insurance claims and cancelled accounts and orders as well as fines from card payment brands, banks and the government.