PCI – Comply or Not to Comply?  

Who Must Be Compliant? 

All entities that accept, store, manage, process, or transmit payment card information must be compliant. There are no exceptions, even for an entity that processes one payment transaction in a year. The specific validation and assessment procedures vary from one organization to another. 

The cost of a PCI DSS Assessment depends on a number of factors including the type of business, number of transactions processed each year, payment card processing and storage practices and of course the current existing IT infrastructure within your organization. Many businesses have faced heavy fines because they did not properly protect their customer’s sensitive payment card information, leaving holes in their computer network systems which made them vulnerable to hackers. The cost of being compliant significantly outweighs the cost of doing nothing. 

Why Comply With PCI Security Standards? 

Small companies may believe that the effort is too great and the standards too confusing. However, compliance is gaining major significance and it may not be as overwhelming as companies expect. 

Compliance with data security standards can result in key benefits to all businesses. There are negative effects that may occur if companies refuse to comply. Certain failures can be far reaching for an organization. 

Complying with the PCI DSS lets your customers know that your systems are secure and your organization is safeguarding payment card information. Customers choose companies they can trust and successful organizations value repeat business as well as customer referrals. 

Businesses rely on acquirers and payment brands and your business can receive a negative reputation as a result of non-compliance. 

It is imperative to see compliance as a recurring process so that you prevent security breaches and payment card data theft. Merchants must stay up-to-date with current and future threats as technology constantly evolves. Global compliance helps to ensure a united response to fighting payment card data breaches. 

Associated benefits of compliance with the PCI DSS may result in the company having an improved corporate security strategy, IT infrastructure efficiency, and readiness to comply with regulations, such as HIPAA, SOX, etc. 

Consequences of Non-Compliance 

It takes effort to build a business and part of your success depends on customers knowing you have secure systems in place to ensure their sensitive information cannot be comprised. However, it’s not only your customers who will have a negative effect from a data breach. Merchants and financial institutions will also be affected and just one data breach can severely damage your company’s reputation. This will have an impact on the future of your business as sales may decline and business partnerships may dissolve. Public companies have a major impact when stocks decline due to negative results. 

Other likely consequences may include: 

  • Loss of ability to accept payment cards 
  • Lost customers  
  • Fines and fees 
  • Lawsuits 
  • Federal oversight 
  • Loss of investor confidence 

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