The importance of PCI compliance

It is important to keep your data safe especially while shopping online and performing other financial transactions over the internet. Online security is a way to keep this information secure. This means that your personal and payment related information must be safeguarded as you navigate the web. Online merchants are required to protect the information provided by their customers.

What Is PCI Compliance?
To maximize the security of customer data it is essential to continuously monitor and enforce the use of controls specified in the PCI data security standard. PCI is an acronym for Payment Card Industry. PCI compliance means that the company is in compliance with the PCI DSS. PCI DSS is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It is a proprietary information security standard that any company that processes credit card payment is required to meet to increase controls over cardholder data and reduce credit card fraud.

How Can You Be PCI Compliant?

To be compliant with PCI DSS, companies must fulfill the following requirements:

1. Build and maintain a secure network: To protect cardholder’s information a firewall should be established. In case the network is compromised, a firewall will help prevent leak of information.

2. Protect cardholder data: Data should be stored in a protected and secure manner. Data that is sent over an open or public network should be encrypted.

3. Maintain a vulnerability management program: In-house systems and applications should be built securely and maintained keeping in mind security aspects. Anti-virus software must be updated regularly to make sure that most recent threats are taken into account.

4. Implement access control measures: Only authorized users should be allowed to view cardholder information. Every person that has access should be given a unique id and login credentials. Physical access to cardholder data should be restricted. Audit trails must be maintained where required.

5. Regularly test and monitor networks: All access to cardholder data must be monitored. Security systems must be subject to regular tests to ensure they are functioning as expected and have not been compromised in any way whatsoever.

6. Maintain an information security policy: Maintain a security policy that addresses the information security need for all personnel within the organization including those who have access to cardholder data. Ensure that the policy is well understood and is being followed.

By maintaining compliance you are better prepared to deal with any attacks (internal as well as external) intended to steal cardholder data. While compliance is not enforced, it is being used by security-conscious individual paying brands and banks.