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Where does PCI compliance originate from and what does it all mean for your business?

The development of this business standard stems from a concern over credit card fraud and consumer security.

PCI stands for the Payment Card Industry and is more formally known as PCI DSS – the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.

However, it is most commonly referred to as PCI compliance in today’s day and age.

Why is it so important to be compliant as a business merchant? Find out everything you need to know in this blog…

Understanding PCI Compliance

In 2004 the credit card industry established the PCI Security Standards Council. This was a joint venture between five of the world’s largest credit organizations.

Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and the Japanese Credit Bureau (JCB) joined forces to formulate this data security standard.

Their end goal? To protect consumers’ payment information.

A quick PCI definition: PCI compliance is related to how business merchants handle, store and transmit cardholder data.

Here are the 6 major objectives of PCI compliance:

  1. To provide a safe and secure network for companies who store cardholder information. Networks require firewalls and security protocols in order to protect consumer data.
  2. To provide encryption of all consumer and cardholder information.
  3. To ensure a secure software environment where company data is protected from malware and hackers. Data and networks must be protected by antivirus and anti-spyware programs.
  4. To offer a restricted access policy where only trusted employees who need to access consumer data have this capability.
  5. Stringent network monitoring. This ensures a company’s networks are tested regularly so that they are safe, secure and 100% compliant.
  6. To ensure security policy is documented. All companies must have a written and document security policy which keeps them accountable at all times.

At the end of the day, PCI compliance is not only about protecting the consumer but also the business.

Companies who make it their mission to abide by stringent security policies, such as PCI compliance, build consumer trust.

Why is PCI Compliance so Important for Businesses?

So now that you understand PCI compliance a little better, why exactly is it necessary for merchant businesses?

PCI compliance levels are checked regularly by an Approved Scanning Vendor. Their job is to scan a business website or network for compliance.

PCI compliance is not a legal obligation. However, your business could face hefty fines and serious reputation damage if found to be non-compliant.

Your business could also face costly forensic audits and card replacement costs.

A breach of sensitive consumer data by malware or hackers could also land your business in very hot water.

This could result in legal action being brought against you, including expensive insurance claims and government fines.

As previously mentioned, businesses with PCI certification are more likely to be trusted by their customers.

Your consumer is likely to support your business with the knowledge that their personal information is safe and secure. And what could be more important than that?

Acquiring PCI certification doesn’t require much effort from most businesses, but the benefits it offers are truly priceless.

Master the Art of Answering Services

At ServiceFirst we specialize in offering advice and service tips on how to become a master within the answering services industry.

Whether you’re looking for advice on PCI compliance, HIPPA violations or how to increase your revenue – we have the answer for you.

Get in touch with us for all the answering assistance you need!