No matter how small or big your business is, if it accepts, stores, and transmits credit/debit card data, it must be PCI compliant. Lucky for you, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about how to be PCI compliant.

In today’s environment, no one can afford to play fast and loose with sensitive data. In 2017 alone, data breaches cost American companies 7.35 million dollars.

This is what the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is for. Credit card data is often targeted by data thieves, and IT companies that handle it need to follow special precautions.

While following these regulations may seem like a headache, it’s much more costly to suffer a data breach. In fact, non-compliance can cost an organization up to $500,000 per incident.

Check out this guide for more details on how to be PCI compliant.

1. Do Use a Secure Network

The first step in building a secure network is to create and install a firewall configuration system unique to your company. There should be a clear policy and configuration test procedure that is regularly updated. Maintaining these firewalls is best practice for maintaining PCI compliance.

Don’t use system passwords provided by software vendors. Instead, make sure to create passwords unique to your organization, managing their use regularly.

2. Do Protect Data

Companies that do not store data are saving themselves a lot of work when it comes to PCI compliance.

If you do store data, you need both virtual and physical protection from your hosting provider. Virtually, make sure they have several layers of protection that include passwords, authentication, and authorization.

Physically, your private data hosting provider should securely store their servers. This means housing the equipment in a locked environment.

3. Do Use a Vulnerability Management Program

If managing your own private data, anti-virus software is a must. As with all software, it needs to be regularly updated.

If outsourcing your data storage, make sure the company keeps audit logs of their system checks. You can ask for these regularly to ensure the company is responsibly handling the data.

Security vulnerabilities are an inevitability. This is why your system should regularly identify them so they can be properly addressed as they occur. Alert systems should be in place to do this.

4. Do Have Strong Access Control

Having strong access control means limiting access to protected data. This will limit the potential for mishandling and misusing that data.

Those with access should have user accounts with password encryption, regular password updates, login time limits, and other authentication procedures.

The physical environment holding the sensitive data needs entry authentication and thorough surveillance.

5. Do Have an Information Security Policy

Work policies must reflect PCI compliance, and employees should be knowledgeable about them. These policies should discuss how employees should and should not use company technology. They should also detail security procedures.

In addition to sharing the content of the policy, the company should review it with staff. Quality checks of policy adherence can help with data risk management.

More on How to Be PCI Compliant

In our increasingly digital world, PCI compliance is more important than ever before. Unfortunately, PCI compliance is a complicated task and many businesses struggle to meet it.

To learn more about how to be PCI compliant, check out our blog page.