As a small business owner, keeping your business and its data secure is likely one of your top priorities. If it isn’t—it should be. Nearly 60 percent of small businesses close their doors within six months of a data breach—and that’s after losing money, brand reputation, and customer support. When you accept credit and debit cards at your business, it becomes your responsibility to keep your customers’ data secure. One of the easiest ways to ensure your business is up-to-speed on cyber security protection is by staying PCI compliant.
What is PCI?
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards intended to ensure that all companies that accept, process, store, or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. The PCI DSS is administered and managed by the PCI Security Standards Council, a global forum that is responsible for the ongoing enhancement and implementation of security standards for payment cardholder data. This set of security standards helps to ensure your customers’ data is handled properly, minimizing the risk of sensitive card data falling into the hands of bad actors. Each merchant level, determined by the number of transactions you process each year, has a slightly different list of security requirements. Your payment processor can help you identify which security requirements apply to your business, and help you stay compliant with those rules.
Who is Responsible for Following the Payment Card Industry Security Standards?
The card brands—Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, etc.—require processors and merchants to adhere to PCI standards. If a merchant experiences a security breach and is found to be non-compliant with PCI rules, they may be subject to significant fines. A payment processor that takes security seriously will make their commitment to security clear, by offering client’s the flexibility, support, and security tools, like tokenization and encryption, they need in order to process securely.
How Can I Be Sure My Business is PCI Compliant?
To certify compliance, most merchants must complete a Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) and provide an Attestation of Compliance (AOC) annually. The questionnaire asks basic identifying questions about your business, like what kind of merchant you are, what types of payments you accept, what vendors you use, and a list of all your locations where you are accepting card payments. Your payment processor may also provide access to a PCI support program, and/or security tools (vulnerability scans, security training, data breach insurance, or customer education and assistance) to help your businesses become compliant. Remember, all businesses that store, process, or transmit payment cardholder data must be PCI compliant—don’t put your business at risk.
At Beyond, we follow industry-leading PCI standards to manage our network—designed to protect both you and your customers. Our payment solutions combine EMV, encryption, and tokenization in a single, simple, and affordable integration. Security is in our DNA at Beyond—we promise to make every effort to protect and secure your business, thanks to the Beyond Promises.