By 2020, the losses that stem from credit card fraud cases in the US could exceed $12 billion. Who will be the greatest losers? When credit card data breaches happen, all stakeholders end up being losers. First, customers risk identity theft as well as getting into financial disasters. Second, businesses that are primarily affected by these breaches get their reputation damaged, not to mention, the financial effort it takes to survive such disasters.
Last, the credit card companies that offer their financial services might experience the loss of customers. With the interest of these and more stakeholders at heart, the top credit card brands came together to create the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). The standard outline standardized security practices for protecting sensitive cardholder and credit card data.
Here is some more information as to why compliance with the standards is essential:
Do you need PCI compliance? Well, you do, as long as you accept, process or store credit card data. This includes e-commerce merchants, retail stores, and even service providers. It also spreads to your vendors, especially if they have access to your payment information.
Ideally, firms need to achieve 281 directives and 12 objectives to be compliant. While it might seem like 281 directives are too many, your organization might not need to follow each, and it all depends on the compliance level you are placed. Under the standard, you are placed in level 1, 2, 3, or 4, depending on the number of credit card transactions that you deal with each year. Furthermore, there are some security controls that you can implement, which will stand for more than one directive.
In an age rife with data breach cases, customers have learned to be conscious about the security posture of any business that they work with. In fact, two-thirds of US adults will cut ties with your business after a data breach. As a result, showing that you care about data security will give you a competitive advantage.
Customers can trust you with their personal and credit card data more. While compliance might be relatively expensive, the ROI that comes from it is unmatched.
In case an audit proves that you are non-complaint to the PCI DSS, you risk getting fined. Not only can these fines have substantial financial repercussions, but they can also portray you in the wrong way to customers. For businesses that manage to escape the radar of non-compliance fines, data breaches can have adverse effects.
A great example if the situation of the Wyndham Hotel, which was sued by the FTC after they experienced three data breaches. While the lawsuit ended in a settlement, the damage it caused to their reputation was irreparable. Even worse, you risk customer lawsuits, government fines, third-party lawsuits, and card brand fines. Compliance helps evade such issues.
Without the PCI compliance guidelines, businesses would have to guess what needs to be done for a healthy security posture. Although others will get it right the first time, it can be quite easy to leave gaping security holes as you try to protect the sensitive data. Luckily, the guideline offers enough information to ensure that your business can remain secure enough.
It offers information on security tools and strategies to implement, such as data masking. Businesses also learn how to handle PR nightmares that follow data breaches. Most importantly, it offers a guideline to continuously monitor your security controls, since compliance isn’t a one-time deal.
Investors have the most significant interest in the success of your business. Since they are pouring their sweat into it and betting on a business’ success, it only makes sense to invest in a business that shows the highest chance of success. For most investors, having a strong cyber-security posture is a necessity.
The last thing on their list of expectations is to lose their investments to a data breach. As a result, focusing on PCI compliance is a sure way to attract the right type of investors. It ensures that you can build a history that proves to the future investors that you can indeed take care of their interests.
Most businesses implement the security controls for compliance and leave it at that. Sadly, when the PCI guidelines are updated, or one of their security controls fails, the chances are that they go unnoticed. In turn, this increases the chances of non-compliance and the occurrence of a data breach.
To avoid this, your business should offer the compliance monitoring role to specific individuals, a compliance officer to be specific. Their role will be to be accountable for compliance updates and security controls. As a result, it becomes easy to act quickly to changes in your security posture, both due to updates in the regulations and the failure of security controls.
PCI compliance ensures the happiness of all stakeholders. Even better, it only takes a few steps to achieve compliance. Focus on maintaining compliance to fortify the future of your business.