What E-Commerce Sites Need To Know About PCI DSS

What E-Commerce Sites Need To Know About PCI DSS

Ken Lynch
August 28, 2019

According to Business Insider, data breaches compromise the personal data of millions of people globally. Some of the companies affected by the vice in 2018 included Facebook, Quora, and Google, where personally identifiable data may have been used for criminal activities.

These cases do affect not only the data owners but also the organizations. The institutions use a lot of money to recover the lost data and restore confidence among its customers. If inappropriately handled, the episodes of data breaches have the potential to bring down any organization.

Based on the statistics, it’s clear that managing an E-Commerce site requires that you establish sturdy security systems. If you accept credit and debit card payments, you’ll be dealing with the personal information of your clients, which is at high risk of being compromised. As such, you need to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) to safeguard your customer’s personal information.

What Is PCI DSS?

PCI DSS is a standard that aims at securing the data of customers that share their personal information with vendors. It was formed by MasterCard, Visa, America Express, Discover Financial Services, and JCB International. Its primary aim is to ensure that all debit and credit card transactions are safeguarded against fraudulent activities.

If you operate an E-Commerce store, you are expected to fulfill certain requirements to acquire the PCI DSS certification. While the process may be overwhelming, it will be worth every minute you spend on it. Once you are certified, your customers will develop trust and confidence in your store, which will consequently increase your business.

Why E-Commerce Stores Should Never Ignore PCI DSS Certification

Contrary to the belief of many entrepreneurs, approximately 90% of all data breaches affect small businesses. The cybercriminals perceive E-Commerce stores as an easy target since most of the proprietors fail to institute stringent security measures.

While criminals can compromise massive data from big corporations, they opt to target small organizations where getting the data is a breeze! As such, you should prove these criminals wrong by instituting hard-to-penetrate security measures. The best starting point for you is ensuring that you comply fully with the PCI DSS standards.

What It Takes To Be PCI DSS Compliant

For your E-Commerce store to comply with PCI DSS standards, you must meet certain requirements depending on the nature of your business. You must prove that you have put in place the necessary measures to protect your customers’ data. Below is a checklist that you should use to evaluate your readiness for PCI DSS certification:

  • Vet all Your Vendors. Third parties pose a significant risk to your data. As such, you should be vigilant when recruiting your vendors to ensure that they have security measures to protect the data you share with them. Also, you should limit their access to data and only provide what they need to perform their specific roles
  • Use Firewalls. Application of firewalls between the public networks and the payment card data prevents cybercriminals from accessing the data. You should regularly update the firewall for continued protection
  • Use Encryption. If your business requires that you store the cardholders’ data, you should institute strong encryption. This ensures that this sensitive information cannot be shared over public networks
  • Use Sturdy Antivirus Software. All the computers that receive, stores, or processes personal information should have strong security measures. You should install antivirus software to protect the data from attacks by viruses and trojans which would compromise its integrity
  • Segment Your Business. If you are determined to ensure the security of cardholders’ data, you should limit access to just a few people in the organization. Also, all the computers that store the data should have intensive security measures where only a few people can access it. This improves accountability and reduces the chances of data compromise
  • Assign Unique Identity Number to Each Employee. You should let your employees understand that you are dealing with highly sensitive information. Assigning a unique code for each of the workers ensures that they take responsibility for their actions. You should configure the systems in a way that every login indicates the username and the time duration that that particular employee used the computer
  • Have a Network Monitoring System. You should ensure that you monitor all the activities of your networks. Regular reports will help you to identify irregular logins and other security threats. As such, you’ll be in a position to act in time before the data is compromised
  • Develop a Security Policy. You should develop a detailed security policy and regularly train your employees on the best implementation practices
  • Evaluate your Security Systems Regularly. Updating your systems and networks is necessary to keep your data safe

Bottom Line
If you collect or store your customers’ personal information, you should comply with the PCC DSS to protect it from malicious cybercriminals. Read through this article to understand what you require to comply.

Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran, who has always been fascinated about what drives workers to work and how to make work more engaging. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. He has propelled Reciprocity's success with this mission-based goal of engaging employees with the governance, risk, and compliance goals of their company in order to create more socially minded corporate citizens. Ken earned his BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT. Learn more at ReciprocityLabs.com

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