One of the most commonly used security standards for ensuring security in card transactions, PCI compliance stands for Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard. It is a series of security requirements which is followed by merchants across the world. PCI DDS comes under the Payments Card Industry Security Standards Council. It was formed as a joint initiative of Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card and JCB in the year 2004. The forum is respected globally for its initiative to provide greater website security through a secure transactional environment. In this article we provide you with important details about the PCI and what it takes to be PCI Compliant.

What It Means To Be PCI Compliant

PCI DSS Compliance is the process by which a company follows the set of policies which are designed to protect both debit and credit card transactions. It is developed and managed by the Payments Card Industry Security Standards Council. After following the procedures to be PCI Compliant, the company receives a layer of security whenever it conducts payment transfers through cards. Additionally PCI DSS Compliance helps prevent the misuse of the personal information of cardholders.

The Benefits Of Being PCI DSS Compliant

To clarify a commonly held confusion; it is not compulsory to be PCI Compliant. However, it is mandatory for every e-commerce website which conducts payment through cards to adhere to the PCI DSS standards. With some investments and some efforts, the company can overcome one of the biggest issues faced by e-commerce organizations: security. The benefits of being PCI DSS Compliant are discussed below. :

  • Being PCI DSS compliant helps you to prevent being a victim of credit card fraud.
  • It can also help you to boost your marketing efforts by incorporating the fact that you are PCI DSS compliant in your marketing communications. This can help you project an image of being an extremely safe company which can draw more customers to your website.
  • Most companies have reported a reduction of data loss and have noted a reduced cost of website restoration after being PCI DSS compliant.
  • Investors are likely to be impressed by the fact that you have taken the efforts to be PCI compliant.

Steps To Be PCI DSS Compliant

To enjoy the high level of security provided by being PCI compliant, you have to go through a number of process. There are 12 heads which are divided among 5 goals which the forum wants to achieve. These are listed below:

Goal No.1:  Building And Maintaining A Secure network

  1. Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data.
  2. Not using vendor supplied default passwords and other security parameters but using your own.

Goal No.2: Protecting Cardholder Data

  1. Protect shared data.
  2. Encrypting (using keys in a code which can only be read by those who can translate the code) the transmission of cardholder data across open and public networks.

Goal No. 3: Maintaining A Vulnerability Management Program

  1. Use and regularly update anti-virus software.
  2. Develop and maintain secure systems and applications.

Goal No. 4: Implementing Strong Access Control Measures

  1. Restrict access to data of cardholders.
  2. Assign a unique id to each individual with computer access.
  3. Restrict number of individuals with physical proximity to data.
  4. Tracking and monitoring all access to network resources and cardholder data
  5. Regular testing of security systems and processes

Goal No. 5: Maintaining A Policy Of Informational Security

  1. Formulating and maintaining a policy that addresses security of the user’s information.

As you can see, it provides a comprehensively layer of security which it makes it extremely difficult to hack into. The costing is done according to the number of employees, the transactions in the website and even the level of infrastructure in the website office. The whole process of a PCI DSS Compliance keeps your website far more secure and puts a lasting impression on the user.

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