What is PCI Compliance?

Because all online stores accept credit card payments, they must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, a set of rules meant to ensure credit card transactions and customer data are securely accessed during a transaction. PCI compliant stores take measures to secure customer data through protected networks, limiting vulnerabilities, implementing access control, and creating internal policies around security and compliance.

What measures should you take to become PCI compliant?

PCI compliance isn’t just legally required. It’s good business. All online stores should go to great lengths to protect their data from malicious parties.

Here are some of the key areas where online stores should focus to achieve PCI compliance.

  • Keep cardholder data safe. If you store certain types of cardholder information, you should do everything in your power to keep it safe, including ensuring data transmission is encrypted and sensitive pieces of information (like CVVs) aren’t actually stored on your servers.
  • Prioritize access control. This includes limiting who has access to certain kinds of data and what they can do with it, implementing a strong ID and password system for employees, and monitoring how info you store is accessed.
  • Protect your network. Firewalls, as well as custom security parameters, are essential for this step of PCI compliance. You also want to make sure you’re consistently tracking and testing your network.
  • Lay everything out in a detailed security policy. Put together comprehensive steps for employees and anyone else who can access sensitive data.
  • Manage potential vulnerabilities in your business. You can do this using anti-virus programs and building secure internal platforms and applications.

How can your store be certified as PCI compliant?

Certification requires you to fill out documentation related to the above guidelines for compliance. Choose the self-assessment questionnaire that corresponds to your business classification before you fill anything out. Once you have the right questionnaire, you’ll be asked questions meant to help you benchmark your performance against the regulations.

When you’re done with the questionnaire, you’ll need to fill out an attestation of compliance. This confirms you’ve taken appropriate measures for compliance with the regulations. Finally, you can submit the documents to your acquirer bank.

To stay compliant, you’ll need to repeat this process annually. Checking up on your infrastructure, your policies, and your security framework aren’t only important for compliance. They’ll also go a long way towards keeping the trust of your customers and avoiding the havoc fraud can wreak on a business.

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