What is PCI DSS Compliance?

PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It’s a risk management framework that standardizes how organizations handle sensitive user data – such as credit card numbers and billing address details – to reduce the risk of fraud, cyberattacks, and other security incidents related to that data. Any company that stores, processes, or transmits payment card user data must be compliant with the PCI DSS standards. Failure to comply can result in fines and even termination of your merchant account if you continue to process payments with a non-compliant provider. Read on to know more about compliance with PCI DSS standards...

What does PCI DSS compliance mean?

When a company becomes PCI DSS compliant, it has been audited and verified by an independent, third-party compliance expert. The company’s internal policies, procedures, and systems have been examined and verified against the twelve PCI DSS requirements. If a company has been approved, it receives a DSS compliance certificate that it can share with any of its customers (businesses that use the company’s services to accept credit cards) to prove that it’s in compliance with the PCI DSS standards.

Why is PCI DSS compliance so important?

Credit card fraud is a very real concern for merchants who accept payment cards. If you are not PCI compliant, you put your company’s financial security at risk as well as your customers’ personal financial data. PCI DSS compliance is a proactive measure to reduce the risk of credit card fraud. If your company is not PCI compliant, you will not be able to process any credit cards through your merchant account. When you’re attempting to land new customers or expand your business, this can be especially problematic. Customers who use credit cards expect their payments to be secure. Merchants who accept credit cards are expected to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards.

How to become PCI DSS compliant?

There are twelve requirements that businesses must meet in order to be PCI DSS compliant. Here’s a look at what those standards entail:

- Identify and protect sensitive data

- Use strong passwords and change them often

- Protect company assets and data

- Protect transmission of data

- Require authentication for all users

- Track access to company assets

- Inventory company assets

- Monitor systems for unusual activity

- Create a plan for responding to security incidents

- Maintain the PCI DSS compliance program If you do business with credit cards, you need to be PCI DSS compliant. It’s important to know that becoming compliant is a process that takes time. It’s also a process that can be costly and challenging, especially if you are doing it without the aid of a professional company. You can expedite the process by giving yourself enough time to complete the necessary steps.

PCI compliance requirements:

Following are the 12 main PCI DSS requirements that merchants must meet to have PCI DSS Compliance.

Build and Maintain a Secure Network

1. Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data

2. Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters

Protect Cardholder Data

3. Protect stored cardholder data

4. Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks

Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program

5. Use and regularly update anti-virus software or programs

6. Develop and maintain secure systems and applications

Implement Strong Access Control Measures

7. Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know

8. Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access

9. Restrict physical access to cardholder data

Regularly Monitor and Test Networks

10. Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data

11. Regularly test security systems and processes

Maintain an Information Security Policy

12. Maintain a policy that addresses information security for employees and contractors

The cost of becoming PCI DSS compliant

The total cost of becoming PCI DSS compliant will vary depending on the size of your business and your chosen compliance path. A professional service, can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. The cost of hiring a security consultant can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the size and complexity of your business. If you decide to tackle the compliance process on your own, you can expect to spend anywhere from several hundred to a few thousand dollars for software, hardware, and training.

Key takeaway

PCI DSS compliance is important for any business that does business with credit cards. It reduces the risk of credit card fraud and protects customers and company assets from security breaches. Becoming PCI DSS compliant can be a lengthy process, but once you’re certified, you can rest assured that you’ve done everything possible to protect your data and your customers’ data. FrenzoPay adheres to high levels of security and compliance certification namely PCI-DSS 3.2.1, per global payment security standards. Choose us as your payments partner today