What Is the PCI DSS?
The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), which is the governing body responsible for developing, launching and educating businesses about the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
Created in 2004, the PCI DSS is the widely accepted—and frequently updated—set of policies and procedures set forth to optimize the protection of credit and debit card transactions to protect cardholders from a hacker obtaining and misusing their personal information.
Why Is the PCI DSS Important?
Per the PCI DSS Quick Reference Guide, more than 510 million records containing sensitive data have been breached since January 2005. On top of that, the combination of determination and nefarious ingenuity of today’s cybercriminals is tireless.
A quick look at 2016 reveals that it was a record-breaking year for data breaches with more than 1,000 logged, which translates to a 40 percent increase of the number of breaches in 2015, notes Bloomberg.
Companies that focus on complete and consistent PCI DSS compliance not only stand a far greater chance of protecting their valued customers’ private cardholder data; they also protect their own business reputation and enjoy customer retention.
What Types of Companies Must Achieve and Maintain Consistent PCI DSS Compliance?
Businesses that need to adhere to PCI DSS policies and procedures include financial institutions, point-of-sale vendors, merchants of all sizes and service providers. Any company that provides a good or service, and accepts a card as payment, must comply with the PCI DSS.
Why Is It Important to Maintain Complete PCI DSS Compliance?
With full and continuous PCI DSS compliance, business owners let their customers know how important their business is to them and that they are doing their best to keep their personal information safe and secure.
What Does Compliance for PCI DSS Mean for Your Organization?
At its foundation, the PCI DSS is a common-sense approach to cardholder security with steps that include the following:
- Complete the PCI Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ), according to the Self-Assessment Questionnaire Instructions and Guidelines.
- Perform regular network vulnerability scans, using a PCI DSS Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV).
- Hire a PCI SSC-certified Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) team to help determine if your security management systems and your data storage meet PCI DSS standards.
- Submit all materials compiled by your IT and QSA teams to your merchant bank.
Enjoy the Benefits of PCI DSS Compliance
Besides protecting your most important asset, your customers, there are a few additional key benefits associated with diligently maintaining PCI DSS compliance, which include your being far less likely to experience an interruptive data breach and the fact that you can promote your business as being consistently PCI DSS compliant. With data breaches continually on the rise, your compliance might make the difference in attracting savvy customers looking for a company committed to securing their private data.