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What you need to know about PCI compliance

It is no longer viable to depend on cash transactions alone for your business. 

The future of online payments for businesses is now. A business owner can no longer depend on only cash payments. More and more customers are carrying less cash on them and prefer digital currency like credit cards. Another thing a business must understand is the digital currency creates a lot of elevated level of security risks. Data Security Standards PCI Compliance levels, adopted by the Payment Card Industry serves as protection for businesses and customers.

Ensuring your business is PCI compliant is an important 1st step when dealing with virtual currencies.

PCI Compliance Levels are Based of Credit Card Transactions

PCI Compliance levels provide standards for business to follow to protect its company and customers. Each of the PCI Compliance are based on the volume of credit card transactions a business does yearly. In addition, each level requires a business to complete different tasks to maintain credit card transactions security. The lowest is level 4. The highest standards are found in level 1. The following list describes the requirements that must be maintained to qualify for the specific assessment:

1. PCI Compliance Level 4: This is the easiest assessment to pass. A business with less than 20,000 credit card transactions qualifies for this compliance level. The company must do the minimum to protect itself from data breaches such as firewalls and protective software.

2. PCI Compliance Level 3: This compliance level requires a little more work than PCI Compliance Level 4. It is for a business that generates credit card transactions ranging from 20,000 to 1 million. The company must complete a network data and security scan each quarter. In addition, it must complete a self-questionnaire.

3. PCI Compliance Level 2: Any business with 1 million to 6 million credit card transactions each year fit into this category. A self-questionnaire is required such like in PCI Compliance level 3. During the year, a company must conduct four network scans by the company’s Information Technology security team. No independent security assessor is needed for this compliance level.

4. PCI Compliance Level 1: The highest level of compliance is only for a business generating more than 6 million credit card transactions yearly. The company must complete requirements listed in the other compliance levels. For instance, they must complete quarterly network scans each year. Independent cyber-security assessor is required to validate whether the company is up to par with the requirements.

Ways to Protect Against Data Breaches

It is vital for cardholder data to be secured. The purpose of PCI Compliance is to protect against the data breaches that can debilitate a company and adversely affect existing customers by securing data. One way to secure cardholder data is to encrypt the data as it travels online from the business to the customer. Another way to protect against breaches is to complete the minimum PCI Compliance level.

Doing the things listed above are great ways to secure data. A business should complete some other tasks to protect against internal cyber-threats. An internal cyber-threat may be done by accident, on purpose or because of negligence. For instance, run regular network scans to monitor the software used. Limit the number of employees who have access to secured data. Provide those employees with access to the secured data with unique User IDs logins. This way a business owner will know who is accessing the data, when and why. Limit who has the ability to provide and rescind credit card purchases at the company.

Keep Hackers at Away from the Business with Software

The best defense against cyber hackers is a secure network. Having a strong password for each data point is key. Many companies either forget or do not know to change the default passwords at their modems and routers. It is easier for hackers to collect the default passwords from routers and modems. Set a password that can’t be hacked. In addition, it is important to take security to the next level with PCI Compliance attempts, conduct software updates, robust firewall and patches.

Still confused about compliance monitoring? Want to take a lot of the guesswork out of integrating a compliance monitoring into a business? Numerous software solutions are on the market to assist a business with compliance monitoring. They can help manage PCI Compliance and assist in lowering the risks of hacking and security breaches.


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