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What is PCI DSS and why is it so important?

As with any business, customer approval and satisfaction is paramount to running a successful business. Without attending with care to the needs of every single one of your customers, you are sacrificing your quality of service at the expense of your business. Related to the matter of keeping happy customers is being PCI DSS compliant – trust me and read on.

For those not familiar with the technical jargon, PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It effectively means that you are doing the best you can to ensure the protection of your customers most valuable payment information. It also means that you are not only protecting them when they are using your site, but also protecting the storage of their information. This includes a variety of things besides avoiding the obvious fraud issues.

For example, PCI DSS compliance means that as a business, you don’t hold on to data and information about your customers and their payment habits that you don’t explicitly need. To make this easier to understand, consider the possibilities of not being PCI DSS compliant and incurring the loss of credit card information of a client. Not only are you as a business owner liable for the fraud losses but without being PCI DSS compliant, you can also be subjected to card scheme fines and other costs. This can deal a serious blow to you and your business, perhaps to the point of forcing customers to decide to no longer do business with you as they are afraid to have their card information compromised. 

With modern technology, hacking has become an easy and profitable endeavor for criminals. Just because your business is “safe” doesn’t mean that you are immune from such risks. Being PCI DSS compliant is one of the only ways to keep you, your business and above all else, your customers safe.

But being PCI DSS compliant isn’t just an option to safeguard the payment information of a business, in fact, it is a basic requirement. PCI DSS compliance is the global, not just domestic, standard that was established to help business process card payments safely and securely in order to reduce and prevent credit card fraud. The way such compliance works is to focus intently on keep a tight control on the storage, transmission and processing of cardholder data that comes with owning and operating a business.

A quick review of what is exactly PCI DSS does to protect cardholder information is separated into about twelve levels of requirements separated into these next six categories. These include the building and maintaining of a secure network with a firewall, the protection of cardholder data in storage, the maintaining of a vulnerability management program, the implementation of strong access control measures, a regular testing of network systems and finally, an ironclad information and security policy.

Organizing and understand all these tenets of the PCI DSS compliance policy are key, as well as completing annual PCI DSS compliance checklists. This adherence to policy is the only way to bring satisfaction and a safety guarantee to both you and your customers.

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