Does your business accept credit cards? Do you need it to? In order to open your Illinois area small business up to the enhanced profit potential that accepting credit cards can provide, you'll need to understand what responsibilities you take on by accepting these forms of payment. Small businesses are prime targets for data plunderers. If you don't protect against these thieves, you may be subject to paying restitution, fines, or lose the ability to accept cards as payment.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a compliant data transfer standardization that is used to ensure the security and privacy of the transfer of financial information. It was designed as a standard to ensure that any company that would process, store, or transmit credit card information maintains the infrastructural security necessary to provide a secure pathway in which to transfer financial information.
While PCI DSS is not a law on the books, it is a global and almost universally accepted set of security protocols that govern the health of a company's computing integrity in regards to its ability to keep consumer and vendor financial information safe. The six goals of PCI DSS are:
1. Create, manage, and maintain a PCI-compliant network.
2. Protect the data that your organization has acquired.
3. Create and maintain a plan in which to manage your environment's vulnerabilities.
4. Implement enhancements to access control interface.
5. Monitor, manage, and regularly test networks.
6. Maintain a policy in which to continuously manage your organization's data security.
PCI DSS also provides merchants with many useful practices that work to ensure that you aren't short changing your data security protocols.
The primary reasons to assess your technology is to ascertain if it has vulnerabilities that would pose risks to cardholder security. Understanding the PCI DSS goals is paramount to this step so you can look through your hardware and software and consider where there may be a hole. In order to perform a proper assessment, business owners need to determine how credit card transactions flow through your computing system. Only then can you get the answers you need on if, and how, you will need to alter your IT infrastructure to accommodate for PCI DSS. Additional resources are available, including:
It is essential to understand the processes you use to charge and store your customer's financial information as it is your responsibility to keep this information safe.
Once you have identified the vulnerabilities, you will have to fix them in order to avoid the headaches associated with non-compliance. The remediation process is your organization's chance to expose flaws in its information storage security and diligently patch those flaws. Master Solutions's IT technicians can assist your organization in the remediation process.
Once your remediation process is complete, you then must compile your findings and submit the required remediation validation records and compliance reports to the acquiring bank and card processing centers. Every Illinois small business that wants to accept and store consumer credit card information needs to report a functional and secure a PCI DSS system in order to be in compliance.
Compliance with the PCI DSS can have serious benefits for businesses of all sizes, while failure to comply will likely result in negative results. The benefits include:
While there are many more benefits of compliance, some of the detrimental characteristics of a failure to comply with PCI DSS regulations include:
It's a fact that your company will have a hard time competing without a solution in place to accept credit cards as a payment. To learn more about Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliance or any other data security compliance your organization may need, call us today at (630) 495-3830.