Your PCI compliance responsibilities explained

by | Mar 22, 2023 | Security

As a business owner, it’s essential to understand your responsibilities when it comes to PCI compliance. But with so many rules, regulations, and technical jargon, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. With so much to lose when it comes to non-compliance with PCI compliance requirements, you must understand where your responsibilities lie.

What is PCI Compliance?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance is a set of standards that businesses must follow to ensure the safe handling, processing, and storage of payment card information. The PCI Standards Council (SSC) is responsible for the development of the standards for PCI compliance.

These standards were developed to protect sensitive information from theft and fraud. PCI compliance requirements are designed to protect both the business and its customers by ensuring that payment card information is kept secure throughout the transaction process.

PCI compliance is a set of guidelines that businesses must follow to prevent payment card fraud. Failure to comply with these standards can result in hefty fines, legal action, and damage to your business’s reputation. The PCI standards are divided into six categories, each with its own set of requirements.

Why is PCI Compliance important?

PCI compliance is crucial for businesses that accept payment cards. Non-compliance can result in losing the ability to process payments, facing fines, and damaging reputation. Compliance protects customers’ payment card information, builds trust and maintains a positive relationship with them. PCI compliance is a critical component of trust-building and security for businesses that want to retain customers while positively impacting their profit by reducing the risk of fraud, chargebacks, and streamlining payment processing systems.

PCI Compliance requirements

The PCI compliance requirements are divided into six categories:

Build and maintain a secure network: By installing firewalls, secure passwords, and encryption methods to protect against unauthorized access from external threats and internal employees.

Protect cardholder data: Safeguard cardholder data through encryption, limited access, secure disposal, and secure payment processing systems. Businesses must also ensure third-party vendors are compliant with PCI standards.

Maintain a vulnerability management program: Businesses must regularly scan for vulnerabilities, address any found vulnerabilities and use updated software and security patches.

Implement strong access control measures: Including limiting access to cardholder data, using strong passwords, and reviewing access logs to detect unauthorized access attempts. Physical access to cardholder data should be restricted, and employees who handle it must be trained in security procedures.

Regularly monitor and test networks: Review access logs, detect suspicious activity, and test security systems. Any security incidents should be investigated and addressed promptly.

Maintain an information security policy: Create and implement security procedures, educate employees, and regularly review and update security policies. Businesses also need to have a system for addressing security incidents.

Levels of PCI Compliance

There are four levels of PCI compliance, based on the number of payment card transactions that a business processes each year.

Level 1 is the highest level of compliance and applies to businesses that process more than 6 million payment card transactions per year.

Level 4 is the lowest level of compliance and applies to businesses that process fewer than 20,000 payment card transactions per year. The level of compliance that your business needs to achieve will depend on the number of payment card transactions that you process each year.

Consequences of non-compliance

Failure to comply with PCI standards can have serious consequences for your business. Here are some of the consequences that you may face if you’re found to be non-compliant:

PCI compliance made easy with the experts

Whether you’re just starting your PCI compliance journey or looking to improve your existing program, the team at Aquarius IQ provides the knowledge and tools you need to succeed. Remember, PCI compliance is an ongoing process, and it requires ongoing effort and attention to ensure that your systems remain secure and compliant. Talk to the security and PCI compliance experts at Aquarius IQ today.

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