PCI compliance are standards set by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). PCI Data Security Standards (DSS) ensure that businesses and card brands process payments responsibly.

Importance of PCI Compliance

PCI compliance protects cardholder data. This especially applies to eCommerce transactions. PCI standards hold businesses accountable to securing payer information.

PCI compliance can be a hassle for business owners who already have a full plate. However, the standards protect not only consumers, but businesses as well. Companies can be held responsible in cases of data breaches and hacking. PCI sets businesses up for breach protection and mitigate the blow of any data leaks.

Who Enforces PCI?

The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) creates the standards, but card brands and banks enforce compliance.

The card brands involved are the same ones that created PCI: Visa, American Express, Discover, JCB, and Mastercard. They can require merchants to run tests through a third-party to check for compliance.

12 PCI Requirements All Businesses Should Know

PCI compliance has many parts that can be difficult to keep track of. Along with 78 base requirements and 400 types of tests, getting to understand and apply compliance is an overwhelming process.

The PCI SSC mapped out 12 key standards for businesses to follow. These main requirements make PCI enforcement simple and gives merchants a good base to start off of. If you are new to PCI, you may already recognize some of these steps as measures you have taken.

1. Firewall Protection

Most computer users use firewall protection for personal and business use. Firewalls block unwanted traffic by screening for malware.

Data breaches and hackers can come out of nowhere. An essential step to preventing payholder data leaks is to use a basic firewall that will detect viruses and hackers.

2. Secure Passwords

Using unique and secure passwords is a practice that people use in their daily lives.

Vendors and third-party companies can make account creation easier by curating ready-made usernames and passwords. This convenient service comes with drawbacks, especially for businesses.

Companies must ensure that employees who access cardholder data don’t use vendor-supplied default passwords and instead come up with one-of-a-kind passwords. Businesses should also require regular password changes throughout the year.

3. Protect Cardholder Data

Businesses can encrypt stored cardholder data to ensure further protection. Software and programs can make encryption easy and possible. This includes a way to go through data on a regular basis to find any gaps in encryption.

4. Encrypt Transmitted Cardholder Data

Transmitted cardholder data includes payer information sent through payment processing and other channels. Encrypting outgoing and incoming data is just as important as doing so for stored data.

5. Anti-Virus Measures

Like firewalls, anti-virus software is a familiar tool. Cardholder data includes Primary Account Numbers (PAN). Any device that stores or transmits PAN should use updated anti-virus programs.

6. Secure Systems and Applications

Your systems and applications that protect your business are only secure when you maintain them. Your programs need to be checked and updated regularly, including ones that don’t have the sole purpose of breach protection. Systems such as gateways and other software may include security measures in their own right.

7. Restrict Data Access

Data should not be readily available. Cardholder information should only be accessed on a need-to-know basis. Companies should explicitly outline which roles and employees can access data as well as how much and how often.

8. Secure Computer Access

Using one-of-a-kind login credentials are a given when it comes to protecting information. Every individual with data access should have their own unique password and username. A single login for every employee increases the risk of compromise by a third-party.

9. Physical Security Measures

Businesses with offices that store user information most likely have physical measures to keep that data safe. Hard drives, physical papers, logs, and anything else with cardholder data should be locked away. Additionally, access to the data should be tracked and monitored.

10. Monitor Access

Like physical documents, businesses need to track access to information stored on online systems and computers. Tracking can reveal any holes that allow foreign access to information. Additionally, information logs can protect businesses and employees in the case of a data breach.

11. Test Systems for Security

The PCI DSS includes at least 400 different tests to scan for compliance. Once merchants install the right software, programs, and protocol, maintenance over time becomes even more important when it comes to protecting cardholder data.

12. Information Security Policies

Documentation and information move through, in, and out when it comes to payment information and PAN. Along with security and tracking systems, include a way to follow the activity of information flow.

How Can I Ensure that My Business is PCI Compliant?

PCI compliance doesn’t have to be complicated. High risk businesses and industries have PCI compliance on top of other additional regulations to upkeep. Revitpay has grown with high risk merchants and over time have acquired the best tools to keep businesses compliant. Contact us today to find out how we can help keep your business compliant.