For many merchants, Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance can be a frustrating and cumbersome process. In fact, many merchants give up, or avoid PCI compliance all together. Not only does this result in thousands of dollars lost to PCI non-compliance fees, it could leave a business at risk of a credit card breach. Additionally, PCI validation is a requirement for any entity that handles credit card information in any way. In this article, we will cover the top 5 reasons why merchants should validate PCI compliance and how it protects their business.
Completing a PCI questionnaire can highlight areas of a business that might be exposed to a breach and/or credit card theft
- A PCI self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ) covers 12 different areas. These 12 areas range from keeping a network safe with firewalls, to protecting systems with anti-virus, to restricting access to credit card data.
- Most merchants are unaware of the various threat points within their business. The PCI SAQ can provide many insights about a business. Completing a questionnaire is a learning experience for most merchants.
Performing regular PCI network scans can expose vulnerabilities in a network
- Passing regular network scans is the primary area where merchants run into challenges. A failing scan means a merchant is not PCI compliant. In some cases, the help of an IT professional is needed to patch vulnerabilities identified in a network.
- PCI network scans must be performed by an approved scanning vendor (ASV). These vendors have developed sophisticated scanning tools that identify vulnerabilities in a network. These vulnerabilities are one of the greatest threats facing merchants today. Having a safe/secure network is like locking the front door of a house so thieves can’t get in.
Completing your questionnaire can help you develop policies and procedures that will help you keep credit card information safe/secure
- A PCI policy sets the tone for the organization about addressing existing payment security risks by establishing requirements of things that must be done. These policies will include things like include changing password defaults on sensitive equipment and procedures to follow when restricting employee access to credit card information.
- PCI policies and procedures will also cover the steps to follow in the event of a credit card breach.
Failing to validate PCI compliance can cost your business $1,000’s in avoidable non-compliance fees
- Typical PCI non-compliance fees can range from $30-$90/month per location, depending on your processor. For businesses with multiple locations, these fees can amount to huge sums of money that are lost every year.
- Business professionals will often squander many of the savings they achieve by implementing for low-cost processing solutions because they overlook avoidable costs, such as PCI non-compliance fees.
Validating PCI compliance is a requirement
- Despite conflicting information from processors and merchants, validating PCI compliance is a requirement. The PCI Data Security Council was established by the major credit cards brands to minimize credit card theft and help merchants avoid breaches.
- In worst case scenarios, a processor may terminate a merchant’s ability to process credit cards if they do not validate compliance. Additionally, a business may be subject to tens-of-thousands of dollars in fines from the card brands. The majority of businesses are forced to close their doors after suffering a credit card breach and losing the trust of their customers.
The good news is, PCI compliance doesn’t have to be hard. Audit Advantage has developed a PCI/cyber program that works for any business. Our team of experts can walk you through your questionnaire, schedule network scans and provide you with expert counsel when addressing vulnerabilities.
If you’d like to keep your business safe, contact Audit Advantage today!
Check out our PCI page for more information (Click Here).
Director of Audit Advantage