Everything you need to know about PCI

PCI compliance refers to meeting the PCI DSS, also known as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard’s 12 criteria. The PCI Security Standards Council is a non-profit organization created by major payment card firms such as Visa. To avoid fees, penalties, and even culpability in the event of a data breach, any firm that takes credit cards must be PCI compliant.


Completing and delivering a yearly self-assessment form and attestation of conformity supplied by the PCI Security Standards Council, as well as performing internal and external security checks, are all required to achieve PCI compliance.


The PCI DSS has 12 requirements, and these are:

  1. Keep your business’s firewall up to date for your business device security

  2. Passwords provided by vendors should be changed.

  3. Encrypt consumer data transmissions

  4. Make sure your antivirus software is up to date.

  5. Consumer data should be kept safe.

  6. Access to consumer data should be restricted.

  7. Keep your systems and apps safe.

  8. Only make cardholder info available to those who need it.

  9. Create a unique ID for each person who has access to a corporate computer.

  10. Keep an eye on who has access to the network and who has access to customer information.

  11. Test data security regularly.

  12. Keep a data security policy in place.

Who is Required to Be PCI Compliant?

PCI DSS requirements must be followed by anybody involved in payment processing, including businesses, service providers, payment systems, and payment gateways. Regrettably, because many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) do not know how to defend themselves, they are more exposed to data breaches than bigger, established firms.


Those 12 PCI DSS standards may be broken down into six key aims that small firms should adhere to maintain PCI compliance:

  1. Keep your physical network safe.

  2. Secure customer data

  3. Keep your internal network safe.

  4. Access to data should be limited to those who have a justifiable need to know.

  5. Data security systems should be monitored and tested.

  6. Educate your employees on PCI compliance.

To accomplish so, you’ll need data security firewalls, physical security firewalls, upgraded technology (along with a secure POS system), and the most up-to-date antivirus software.


How to Get Your Small Business PCI Compliant

Each year, you must complete the necessary self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ) and attestation of compliance (AoC), as well as a completed vulnerability check, to verify PCI compliance.


PCI Compliance and Its Importance

Not only are all businesses vulnerable to data breaches, but consumers are becoming more conscious of what merchants can do to protect their personal information. This has an impact on their purchasing decisions.

According to one survey, 61% of consumers have become more aware of data privacy in the past year, 42% believe businesses should specify PCI compliance and data security procedures to customers, and 39% would choose a competitor if a company did not acknowledge their data privacy settings. Even worse, nearly 70% of people would avoid doing business with a company after a data breach.


According to recent research by PWC, 60% of consumers expect a data breach from organizations that have their personal information. And it is understandable for them to feel that way. When it comes to data security, many businesses, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, face significant hurdles.


Furthermore, many organizations are unsure if they are PCI compliant. A cybercriminal can obtain valuable credit card data by exploiting known weaknesses in firewalls, websites, phishing emails, and insecure remote access. Consider the Equifax data breach in 2018, which exposed over 182,000 credit card numbers. Credit card firms, banks, and small businesses all suffer as a result of such a breach.


PCI Compliance Costs

You may be charged a variety of fees to guarantee that your company is PCI compliant. These fees can be monthly or yearly, and they can cost anything from $10 to hundreds of dollars annually. It is dependent on the service, the payment processor you use, and how you intend to manage AoC and vulnerability scans.


PCI compliance costs are typical, as they go toward keeping data servers upgraded and maintained, as well as ensuring that all data protection is in place. Data transmission and storage are handled by your payment processor, payment gateway, or service provider, therefore it’s a necessary fee, regardless of how it’s calculated.


Because PCI compliance is a set of guidelines rather than a set of laws, it is governed by credit card companies. It’s worth noting that the average financial loss caused by cybercrime climbed from $1.4 million in 2018 to $13.0 million a year later.

Have Questions?

Want to find out more about how Resilience3™ security, risk, and compliance solutions will improve your business resiliency?