How to Achieve & Maintain PCI Compliance

3 Minutes Read

PCI compliance relates to the standards and requirements created to keep private cardholder data handled by the credit card industry and relevant businesses uniform and secure. When it comes to achieving and maintaining PCI compliance, the first step is to find a reputable payment provider to work with. There is a variety to choose from, but three of the most well-known companies include Stripe, PayPal, and Duo

Unless you intend to handle the annual system scanning and security questionnaires internally, the next step is to find a third-party company like Security Metrics or an MSP to handle those tasks for you. 

Make sure you properly train your staff on compliance protocols and assign access to private cardholder data to designated parties.

Keep in mind that as cybersecurity continues to evolve, so too will the standards for compliance. To stay ahead of these changes, be sure to monitor advances in the cybersecurity space and adjust your strategy when and where necessary. 

Another good practice for maintaining compliance is to keep all business and client data organized and easily accessible to designated parties in your company. 

You should also make it a point to understand the boundaries of your data environment for payment information. How does the data enter your system? At what point does it become secure? 


PCI Compliance Reporting

If criminals manage to breach your security, there’s little reason to believe they’d stop at cardholder data, especially if your business handles other proprietary information that could be valuable. In other words: a breach puts your entire organization’s data at risk. 

How your company is required to respond to a data breach varies state by state, but the emergence of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws helps indicate the general direction the entire data security world is headed in.

For instance, the GDPR laws require your organization to report a breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) within 72 hours after your company becomes aware of the event, but this only applies if you serve customers in the EU and or track their data. 

If your business only serves customers that are in the USA, your deadline for reporting on your breach can be anywhere from 30–90 days, but the sooner you do it, the better. If you take longer, you can provide justifiable reasons for doing so. The 72 hours include weekends, bank holidays, and evenings. 

Some details to include in your report are: 

  • Describe the nature of the personal data that was breached and how many it affected. Include the type of personal data records compromised. 
  • Submit the name and contact information of your data protection officer. If your company does not have one, provide an alternative contact point. 
  • Describe the probable impact and consequences of the data breach.
  • Describe the measures your company took or proposed to take to handle the breach, the details of which you should be able to acquire from your business continuity and data recovery (BCDR) plan. 

You will have to contend with the loss of confidence from customers and/or business partners, money lost during downtime, and costs that come with rebuilding your reputation.


Following PCI Compliance Supports Data Security

Working to maintain PCI compliance will help enhance your business’s security practices all around, especially if you’re working from an office or have a website. 

Even if your company doesn’t have private cardholder data to keep secure, conducting regular scans of your systems and website will help set the tone for protecting critical data. 

Maintaining PCI compliance will help keep your company more secure since PCI compliance requirements are based on IT security best practices.


Keeping Your Cardholder Data Secure

Maintaining PCI compliance is about more than just following rules and regulations. 

Your customer's cardholder data is confidential, and with data becoming an increasingly hot issue in the digital world, prioritizing PCI compliance will help your business thrive into the future. 

As you’re no doubt aware, maintaining PCI compliance takes a lot of time and energy. It’s possible for your company to build your PCI compliance from the ground up, but that approach takes a lot of attention away from running your business. 

Many businesses rely on third parties and MSPs like us to take care of this aspect of their businesses. We provide tailor-fit solutions and work to weather any storm of technological disruption that comes your way. With our IT Security and Compliance Auditing services, you’ll get a clear picture of all your IT systems, network, and data.