Reducing Your Company’s PCI Burden

As the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council (SSC) observes its first decade of protecting sensitive financial transactions this September, evolving technological advancements reinforce its ongoing relevance.

But 10 years ago, many merchants didn’t view PCI compliance as a major priority. Gradually, PCI’s Data Security Standard (DSS) concepts and advantages became obvious. Today’s upgraded requirements lower breach and fraud risks significantly. Exploring this controversial subject’s history and developments will help you achieve compliance while shielding your valued clientele.

Evolving Protections

The initial PCI DSS 1.0 version was one solution for all firms. Users thought they might need that guidance for just a brief period before it became obsolete. Unfortunately, highly organized and dangerous perpetrator counts rose quickly, increasing damaging events and threats dramatically. Hackers can jeopardize corporations’ livelihoods from distant locations 10,000 miles apart.

Ongoing technological expansion is making PCI’s standard along with its associated security theories more essential than ever. Anywhere financial remittances contain personal details, PCI concerns arise. Regulations affect millions of companies, banks, e-commerce merchants, web hosts, distributors, and terminals. The SSC regulates sales via the internet, point-of-sale (POS) terminals, and telephones. It governs how retailers store and protect customer data. As the system progressed, the council divided vendors into four levels by size. It enacted stricter guidelines for those processing more annual transactions.

Revised Security Measures

Requirements undergo SSC scrutiny and updates according to feedback from various stakeholders including banks, card companies, merchants, software and hardware developers, payment processors, and assessors. The latest PCI DSS 3.2 version incorporates new recommendations that stress validating your existing security controls’ effectiveness. Revisions will become mandatory on Feb. 1, 2018, giving your organization time to prepare for new obligations and implement safer procedures.

Default, weak, and stolen passwords account for 63 percent of breaches. So even critics are welcoming multi-factor authentication as a better recourse that strengthens Identity and Access Management (IAM). That standard applies to all employees who have administrative access to environments dealing with cardholder data. Former two-factor authentication pertained just to those accessing untrusted networks remotely. The multi-factor upgrade stipulates that verification must combine at least three safeguards: confirmation code (password), tangible admittance authorization (certificate or token), and biometric identifier (eyeball scan or fingerprint).

Disturbing Facts

Research shows that most PCI scrutiny concerns two internet scams:

Online retail payment-card theft:

  • Attempts rose 30 percent from 2014 to 2015
  • Card-not-present rip-offs will exceed card-present fraud fourfold by 2018

Hackers infiltrating shopping carts online:

  • Unpatched vulnerabilities affect almost 75 percent of lawful e-commerce sites
  • Web attacks involve a record 40 percent of applications

Expensive Consequences

Security breaches can entail steep non-compliant fines and liability for all incurred damages. If hackers steal your patrons’ data, financial service providers and banks may pass penalties exceeding $10.8 million on average and other related costs onto you. Unexpected expenses might include replacement cards, forensic audits, brand damage, and lawsuits.

Credit card companies and banks may increase your payment-processing fees or blacklist your firm. Severing your working relationship could leave your organization without its vital payment platform. Customers may switch to competitors offering safer transactions, tanking your sales. These devastating scenarios could necessitate changing your corporate name if they don’t cripple your business altogether.

Affordable Solutions

Luckily, most security breaches are preventable. Advancements like tokenization and point-to-point encryption (P2PE) will reduce merchants’ oversight and protection responsibilities greatly eventually. But PCI’s current DSS is the best way to combat today’s many threats. Compliance is a complicated, expensive, and lengthy endeavor for organizations tackling it alone. If your e-commerce website hosts your checkout and payment page, you assume the highest PCI obligations all on your own.

A better option involves partnering with a PCI-validated third-party provider. That smart move drops your burden to the lowest possible rate. Outsourcing your payment page fortifies your security because your transaction service stores, processes, and transmits all cardholder data for you. That safe and surprisingly affordable remedy will save your firm even more money over time.

To decrease your company’s PCI compliance responsibilities, outsource your remittance acceptance to E-Complish. As a PCI-compliant payment provider, our merchant processing services improve speed, convenience, and fraud protection while decreasing costs. Our secure online applications and automated telephone platforms simplify payment acceptance. We customize everything from our comprehensive VirtualPay package to individual transaction-processing solutions so you get exactly the options you need.