Organizations must comply with these PCI-DSS standards before they are eligible for access to card networks or processing systems that contain sensitive customer information. These standards are designed to reduce cybercrime by making it more difficult for an unauthorized person to steal credit card information from a merchant’s system. Read this guide to learn more about what the PCI standards are and how they affect merchants.
1. How Did This Standard Get Its Start?
The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI-SSC) was established in order to address the casual way that cardholders’ data were being handled by merchants, service providers, and other organizations. The council was established in 2006 and currently consists of five major payment brands: American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide, and Visa Inc. Each company has representatives who make up the board of directors and the executive team for this group.
2. Why Were These Standards Created?
These security standards were designed to reduce cybercrime by making it much more difficult for an unauthorized person to steal credit card information from a merchant’s system. Prior to the establishment of the PCI DSS, merchants were not held accountable for negligence that resulted in data breaches and theft of cardholder data. Merchants also had no obligation to report security incidents or implement new security measures. Data breaches often went unnoticed by both consumers and organizations.
3. How Does This Set Of Standards Work?
The standards are made up of twelve main requirements. Organizations must comply with these standards before they can be eligible for access to card networks or processing systems that contain sensitive customer information. The council reviews all self-assessments submitted by merchants and service providers who have been approved for access to cardholder data. Merchants and service providers may only process applications that have been approved by the council. If the application isn’t approved, it is not allowed to process or store cardholder data. The council does offer compliance testing for organizations that need to assess their security standards in order to be PCI compliant.
4. Who Is Responsible For Complying With These Standards?
These standards were designed to be used by any organization that handles cardholder data, including merchants, service providers, and other third parties. There are different requirements for organizations depending on how much access to cardholder data an entity has. If your organization or business processes credit cards directly, you are required to comply with the full set of PCI standards. On the other hand, if you do not process credit cards directly, but use a third party to handle your transactions for you, then you are exempt from some of the more stringent requirements. Your third-party service provider must still comply with all PCI standards that apply to them and their organization.
5. How Do I Comply With These Standards?
The easiest way to comply is by hiring a third-party security company that specializes in these kinds of services. These companies have professionals who will help you create a comprehensive plan for compliance and can often provide additional training as well. Self-assessments are also available if your business already has the resources to complete them yourself. You may want to begin by reading through the “Self-Assessment Questionnaire” on the official PCI website. This will give you an idea of what to expect and how to begin complying with these standards.
6. What Are The Penalties If I Don’t Comply?
If an organization fails to comply with these standards after it has been approved for access to cardholder data, then the council could potentially delist that organization. This means that you will no longer be able to accept credit cards as a form of payment and may have difficulty processing any other transactions as well.
Organizations are encouraged to take action immediately if they have failed to comply with these standards in the past. This is because of the potential negative effects that this could have on an organization’s business operations.
If you run a business that handles credit cards, then it is your responsibility to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). This set of standards was designed to make cardholder data more secure by ensuring merchants and service providers adhere to strict guidelines. If an organization fails to comply after being approved for access to sensitive customer information, it could be delisted, which would have detrimental effects on its business operations. We hope this article has clarified the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and answered any questions you may have had about them.