Ecommerce has grown into a billion-dollar industry. Just like in any other sector, e-commerce businesses face the risk of data breaches. From the onset, PCI DSS compliance was essential to the e-commerce industry since it helps companies to safeguard sensitive data. These regulations stipulate a set of requirements on how companies ought to protect customers’ credit card data as well as their overall cardholder data environment.
PCI DSS standards stipulate how companies can establish internal Information Security programs and how these programs can be designed to meet their business needs. Likewise. Companies are required to identify where and how cardholder data is coming from, where it’s moving to, and where it gets stored. Mapping how cardholder data moves throughout your company’s network is the first step to knowing how you can protect it.
For merchants to attain and maintain their compliance status, they must adhere to the six main PCI DSS requirements. All the conditions have one end-goal – securing cardholder data. Here’s a quick recap of the PCI compliance checklist for e-commerce merchants.
- A firewall ought to be installed between the public network and your payment card data on your website. The firewall should be regularly updated.
- All devices that store or process cardholder data should never use vendor-specific passwords.
- Cardholder data shouldn’t be stored if your e-commerce website is hosted on a third-party server. If you must store cardholder data, ensure that a reliable encryption technique gets implemented for your server/hardware/software.
- Encryption should be used to safeguard any cardholder data that gets transmitted over public networks.
- Antivirus software should be used in all machines within your cardholder data environment. Besides, the software should be updated regularly.
- Access to cardholder data should be limited. There should also be time limitations whenever users access the cardholder data environment.
- Users who access cardholder data should have unique login credentials. Each of them is accountable for any unusual or unauthorized access with their credentials.
- Physical access should be restricted to areas where hardware holding cardholder data is installed
- Access to the cardholder data environment via the company network ought to be monitored at all times.
- All systems, software, access data, monitoring data, and hardware must be regularly monitored.
- A security policy must be implemented to define all measures taken to secure the cardholder data environment.
A PCI compliance program should be part of your e-commerce company’s overall information security framework. There exists a symbiotic relationship between the two since they strengthen each other. The PCI DSS compliance program enables you to identify a set of standards that go a long way in enhancing your company’s information security framework.
The risks of failing to comply with PCI DSS regulations range from loss of customer trust to monetary penalties and lawsuits. Just like in any other business, it takes time to earn customers’ trust. However, all this can go away in a jiffy if they realize that you are not doing much to protect their data from unauthorized access. Similarly, the fines and penalties that result from non-compliance are typically immense. Therefore, violating PCI DSS regulations can have a significant impact on your e-commerce business.
PCI compliance may seem like an unattainable objective. Nonetheless, it isn’t as difficult as you might think. PCI DSS standards can get implemented across different business models. The council has, over the years, improved on the applicability, language, and definitions of the requirements. Besides, changes are continually made to improve the standards as a whole. Therefore, it’s easy to implement the PCI standard in a way that suits the business model of your e-commerce enterprise.
Most PCI standards are security policies that ought to be followed at all times, and in all cases. This could perhaps be the reason why many e-commerce entrepreneurs wrongly perceive PCI compliance as an unreasonable undertaking. By complying, you’ll be putting in place measures to make your e-commerce store secure. However, compliance isn’t a one-off undertaking. Instead, it’s a continuous process that doesn’t end when you gain compliance status.
One of the most-peddled myths about compliance is that a small e-commerce business doesn’t require PCI. This is a falsehood because compliance is necessary for all situations where merchants accept payment via debit or credit cards. It doesn’t matter whether they process one transaction at a time or a bulk of transactions.
Ensuring that your e-commerce business is PCI-compliant is one of the best business decisions that you can ever make. Rather than looking at it as an unnecessary undertaking, it would help if you looked at PCI compliance as a beneficial process that helps you to secure your network. When you prove to clients that you proactively protect their data, it will be easier to earn their trust, something that translates to more sales. This should be the goal of every e-commerce enterprise.