PCI Compliance and related terms like PCI SAQ, Audit Log etc are things that every entrepreneur needs to be aware of today. Every merchant who accepts payments from clients via credit cards, debit cards etc would need to ensure PCI compliance, which in turn ensures that all payments are made in a secure environment and that sensitive personal data of all customers remain secure.
Though the PCI compliance process (and related processes, like for example the PCI SAQ) may seem time-consuming and a bit arduous, it’s utterly important in today’s age when lots of trading activities are carried out digitally and companies accept, process, transmit and store cardholder data in large numbers. Other than securing cardholder data and transactions, PCI compliance also helps companies protect themselves from all kinds of damaging hacks and also in building up trust. Moreover, when a data breach happens and the company involved lacks PCI compliance, it could result in things like penalties, being rendered unable to process card payments in future and even the total washout and closure of the business.
Here are some very effective tips that would help businesses that are getting reading to go for PCI compliance…
Have understanding and clarity about data that’s to be protected
Having a thorough understanding as to what data qualifies as sensitive data and needs to be protected is important. Thus it has to be understood that any personally identifiable information that pertains to customers needs to be protected. There needs to be clarity as regards where the data is stored and how it moves from system to system. Thorough understanding as regards the whole process of data processing, storage and transmission is a must.
Never store data
This is important and can be seen as part of attaining PCI compliance. At all stages of data processing, analyze the data and consider if the information really needs to be stored. Then, refrain from storing data that doesn’t need to be stored. It’s always better to opt for an e-commerce system that doesn’t need data to be stored after customers make the payment in real time.
Restrict access to database
If there is the need for any data to be stored, then it has to be made sure that only those people within the company who really need to access it, must have access to the database. Each of them should be given unique log-in credentials as well.
Have firewalls in place, plus other security programs
Having firewalls in place and having all other security measures intact on systems and networks is important. Firewall is the first layer of protection; go for multi-layered protection. Also, make sure these security programs are properly configured and that all devices used are properly encrypted and password protected.
Do regular checks
Of course doing regular and frequent checks on systems and devices for rogue software, skimming devices etc is as important as going for the annual PCI SAQ.