Does My Business Need a PCI Compliance Manager?
If your business deals with sensitive credit card information, or financial data, then you probably need to adhere to PCI DSS regulations. In some cases, your business may even benefit from hiring a PCI compliance manager.
Violating PCI compliance can lead to huge fines for you and your business. Plus, a massive loss of customer trust, which you might not be able to recover from.
Below you'll learn what PCI compliance entails, how a PCI compliance manager can streamline compliance, and why you might want to hire (or create) this position in your organization.
What is PCI Compliance?
Data breaches and hacking are all too common throughout the credit card and payment industry. It's important, now more than ever, to ensure the safety of your customer's credit card and financial information.
PCI DSS has been around since 2004. It was originally created by credit card companies such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and others to create standards for protecting credit card data, and reducing fraud.
The overarching goal of the PCI DSS is to help both businesses and consumers stay protected. Credit card breaches can be incredibly costly to all parties involved. By ensuring that your business is up to the latest PCI compliance standards you'll be able to keep your customer's sensitive data safe. Plus, avoid any costly fines or penalties for your business.
Does My Business Need to Be PCI Compliant?
Any type of organization or business that processes credit card payments or utilizes merchant banking systems will need to adhere to the PCI DSS guidelines.
There are four different levels of PCI compliance that your business may have to adhere to. The levels are determined by the volume of transactions and the size of your company.
The process utilizes a self-assessment questionnaire so you can self-validate your own PCI compliance.
What is a PCI Compliance Manager?
Running your own business means that you have dozens of other tasks to attend to. Keeping your business PCI compliant will take a lot of work, especially in the beginning. For some business owners it makes sense to hire a PCI compliance manager.
This individual will help to ensure your business remains compliant. As technology changes, the application of the PCI DSS will evolve as well. For this reason, it makes sense to have an individual whose sole responsibility is to keep your business compliant.
A PCI compliance manager will help you work through the process below ensuring you adhere to the guidelines every step of the way.
Here are the basic guidelines for achieving PCI compliance:
- Determine your level of compliance. There are four different levels of compliance dictated by the credit card processors you're using along with the volume of transactions you process every year. Your level of compliance will dictate which PCI requirements you must adhere to.
- Take the self-assessment questionnaire. This will determine your current level of compliance and show you what areas and aspects of your business you need to improve. The procedural document will show you how to fulfill each requirement.
- Validate your compliance. This might take a while as you'll have to implement new security standards into your business.
- Conduct a security scan. You might have to utilize an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) which will conduct a security scan and make sure you're adhering to the required standards.
- Submit the required documentation. Typically, you'll need to submit your documents and proof of compliance to your bank or credit card processors. They will validate that you're currently compliant and you're all set.
This is just the bird's eye view of what it takes to achieve PCI compliance. Typically, you'll have to adjust business practices, implement new procedures, add new employee training, thoroughly vet all third-party providers and vendors, and a lot more.
By using a PCI compliance manager, all of these tasks will be done by a professional with the required training and skill-set.
How a PCI Compliance Manager Can Help Achieve and Maintain Compliance
Not every business will need a team member who handles PCI compliance. Usually, it will depend upon the size of your business and the level of compliance you must adhere to. For example, if you have potential non-compliance fines that range into the hundreds of thousands of dollars it makes sense to do everything you can to ensure compliance.
However, if your business is very small you might not have the resources or capacity to create a position solely dedicated to PCI compliance.
Here are some of the benefits that a PCI compliance manager can bring to your business.:
- Reduce the risk of a data breach. A PCI compliance manager will be able to create and Implement measures for protecting sensitive data. Not only will they be able to verify invalidate internal practices like creating firewalls ensuring encryption and more. But they'll be able to spend extra time verifying any third-party software that you might be using.
- Offer you fine and fraud protection. Depending on your business the fines you can incur might be very steep. To avoid these penalties you'll need to strictly adhere to PCI guidelines. With a dedicated manager keeping your systems and processes up to date you can virtually guarantee that no penalties will be incurred.
- Protect your customer's and brand. Today's consumers continue to grow more sensitive towards protecting their data. If you want your business to remain competitive in the long-term, take care of your customers and ensure their data is protected. In turn, you'll be able to improve brand loyalty and ensure that you never violate your customer's trust.
Hiring a PCI compliance manager isn't completely necessary. However, having an individual who's fluent in the latest PCI DSS regulations can greatly improve your business.
As you've learned above achieving PCI compliance can be a technical and time-consuming process. But, it's absolutely necessary and something that will only grow in importance into the future.
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