What is PCI Compliance and Why it is Important?

If you handle credit card information then your business must be Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant or face a penalty. Learn what PCI compliance means and why it matters (beyond the fine).

Who Needs to Be PCI Compliant?

Any business that handles consumer credit card information must be PCI compliant. So whether you are B2B, B2C, retail, or ecommerce, you need to learn about PCI compliance standards and ensure you’re following them. Even if you are just a solopreneur, you are affected. PCI sets four tiers or levels, depending on the number of transactions businesses run. The highest level is 1 and the lowest is 4; standards of compliance vary in strictness by level. The PCI Security Standards Council, which consists of representatives from major credit card companies, monitors compliance and penalizes violators. You won’t be charged with a crime if you are not PCI-compliant. However, you will face fines and potentially audits. Your business reputation could be damaged. It’s in your best interest to be PCI-compliant, in other words.

Why Compliance Matters

For busy entrepreneurs, PCI compliance may seem at first like one more annoying thing to stay on top of. Yet, if you take a step back from stressing out over another set of rules, you’ll see that compliance protects not only you, but your customers. When you have worked hard to build a loyal following, you know that keeping your customers happy ensures repeat business, high satisfaction, and positive praise. A OnePoll survey found that 86.55% of customers said they were “not very” or “not at all” likely to do business with a company that had lost their credit or debit card data. Let these numbers convince you, if nothing else does, that PCI compliance does indeed matter.When you follow PCI regulations around credit card data, you send a signal that you care about protecting customer data. By following the regulations, you reduce your risk of a cyber security breach and data theft. You will also have an informed idea of where your enterprise’s network is vulnerable, so you can best protect your assets too. Even with total PCI compliance, you may still suffer a cyber-attack. Yet compliance can greatly reduce this risk. Do you want to make sure your business is covered in all aspects of your networked security? Then seek a managed services provider who can evaluate your infrastructure, perform vulnerability assessments, help you implement PCI regulations, and best protect your data, your reputation, and your customers. Managed service providers can help businesses of any size implement PCI compliance. Since becoming compliant involved digging into the regulations, scanning your system, and fixing areas of vulnerability, it’s simply more than many stakeholders can do on their own. Make compliance easy by seeking help from the cyber security pros.

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