Important PCI Compliance Tips You Should Never Forget
With many companies investing in cloud computing now more than before, there are rigorous data security frameworks as well as best practices for storing, transmitting and processing customers’ credit card information. All this has to be done efficiently, safely, and securely. In that regard, every business organization in the payments industry has to adhere to the established credit card regulations. Otherwise, they would be prone and liable to consequences like data leak risks, damaged brand reputation, hefty fines, and other related sanctions.
So, to help you nail it when it comes to card payment regulations, below are some PCI compliance tips you should never forget.
1. Get Help from an Expert
More often than not, maintaining PCI compliance efficiently can be overwhelming. This is especially when doing it without sufficient know-how. In such a scenario, consulting a respectable PCI or data security expert goes a long way. As elaborated at www.securetrust.com, a PCI compliance expert provides all the tools, resources, and brains needed to ensure your business operations run smoothly without violating the compliance requirements and regulations. They can also offer the much-needed advice to navigate complex paperwork and technical jargon that could otherwise cause headaches. In a nutshell, they can help ensure:
- Card payment security is prioritized
- Best practices are established
- Visibility and control are improved
- PCI compliance resources at your disposal
They might even save you the trouble of reading the rest of the article, but it’s best to be informed!
2. You’re Responsible for Ensuring Your Compliance As Well As Your Vendors’
In a nutshell, any card-related transaction you make is supposed to be PCI compliant. Regardless of whether you made a single or many financial transactions, PCI compliance is a requirement. In that regard, it is your responsibility to learn, understand, and adhere to all the PCI regulations. Otherwise, you might find yourself on the wrong side of the law, attracting hefty fines. Also, you are responsible for any individual you hire, as well as vendors providing your business with software and other services, e.g. outsourced third-party credit payments processing agency services.
3. Protect Stored Card Data
You are required to add additional data security controls and authentications if your organization stores sensitive credit card information. For instance, you should ensure the sensitive credit card data is well encrypted to prevent any unauthorized access. So, ensure you use validated cryptographic keys and algorithms to protect the encrypting keys. Also, avoid storing sensitive authentication data such as passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs), etc.
4. Regularly Test your Security Systems and Processes
If you thought that PCI compliance is a point-in-time assessment for annual certification, then you’ve been thinking wrong. It is actually something that should be embedded into your organization’s day-to-day operations. Vulnerabilities may come in at any point, days, weeks, or months after the annual certification. This could be due to flaws in software, faulty security tool configurations, or even as a result of human error. Therefore, it is crucial to keep a regular test of your security systems to ascertain they are always functioning optimally and in compliance with the PCI requirements.
5. Noncompliance Brings Heavy Penalties
Let’s not hit the bush, non-compliant financial transactions are fined heftily. There is nothing cool with that because the fees charged as fines would otherwise be used for other important purposes in your business. For instance, if you collect debts for a bank or car dealership, remember you are responsible for ensuring everything is compliant. Otherwise, if a PCI non-compliant transaction is found during a PCI audit of their systems, they will definitely pass the fine on to you. To make matters even worse, this would trigger an audit requirement on your company. In such a case, since you’re non-compliant, you will certainly get penalized. That would really harm your reputation.
6. Have an Incident Response Plan
Since security breaches may happen when least expected, it is a PCI standard requirement for every business or organization to have a formalized plan for fixing unanticipated system security breaches. Most importantly, the response plan should always be ready to be put into effect as soon as a PCI security breach is detected. Moreover, the particular incident plan should allow for forensic evaluations.
Bottom line, even if remaining PCI compliance might feel like a daunting process, it is a crucial element of preventing your financial service business from credit card-related fraud. Also, there are numerous resources from the PCI council and from other certified experts that would help you figure out the requirements for you to be fully PCI compliant.