Per the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard set up in June of 2005, all businesses that accept credit cards and secure customer information need to be PCI compliant. However, the level of compliance varies on the merchant, though itís never a bad idea to be seen as a secure business to your customer.
Developed by the four major credit card companies Ė Discover, American Express, Visa, and Mastercard Ė PCI was created to give customers the added security of knowing that their information was safe once it was given to a business. Any of the transaction or account information as given to the business is required to be confidential and safe from hackers and other computer infiltrators. All merchants who accept credit cards need to be PCI compliant or risk having their accounts suspended and fined or even terminated.
There are two steps involved in becoming PCI compliant. One is that businesses need to pass scans of their systems on a quarterly basis. These scans will be conducted by an independent scanning service like ScanAlert. These scans will need to be done at every internet access point, server, and connection. The next step is that ScanAlert, or another independent scanner, will provide you with a questionnaire that will ask you about your security measures and how you feel they are working for you. These questions are provided with an online wizard tool.
You can expect to pay annual fees to help keep your website PC compliant and scanned at regular intervals. You can also opt for a Hacker Safe logo on your website from various scanning companies that will scan your site on a daily basis to give your customers the ultimate feeling of security.
You will also want to look for scanning services that can provide you with repairs on parts of your system that might be vulnerable to attack or security compromises. This will allow you to keep any prying eyes out of your personal records as well as the records of your customers.
And just what are you trying to keep them safe from? Hackers that can get into the Internet files of your server can access confidential information from your customers, allowing them to find out credit card numbers, contact information and even identification information that can help in stealing an identity. All of these security breaches can not only compromise the security and privacy of your customers, but will also diminish the overall respect of your website and its commitment to customer safety.
You owe it to your business and to your clients to provide them with shopping in a PCI compliant environment. Customers will return to you when they know that they can count on their information being used only for that purchases that they want to make. In this day and age of identity theft and credit card fraud, you just canít afford to take any chances Ė and when you do, you might find yourself without the ability to take credit cards anymore.
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