What is the PCI DSS? And how does it affect my business?

5 min read

Our world is becoming increasingly digital, with technology infiltrating every aspect of our lives – from the way we do business, to how we spend our leisure time, and even how we make and process financial payments.

This shift towards an ever more electronic and interconnected world has many benefits for businesses and consumers alike. However, it has also created new risks and challenges when it comes to aspects such as privacy and security.

Modern cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and dangerous. All over the world, organised cybercrime rings are working hard to develop new tools and methods of accessing secure data for financial and personal gain.

It is therefore fortunate an organisation exists with the sole purpose of protecting confidential information and ensuring financial data is stored in the safest way possible – the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council.

What is the PCI Security Standards Council?

The PCI Security Standards Council was formed in 2006. It is a collective consisting of representatives from five founding global payment brands, as well as a number of other strategic members.

These parties have joined together with the purpose of defining and encouraging best practice data security compliance, each agreeing to incorporate a number of rules and technical requirements into their data security programs.

Most significantly, the PCI Security Standards Council is responsible for creating and maintaining the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

According to the PCI Security Standards Council website, the PCI DSS provides organisations with “an actionable framework for developing a robust payment card data security process – including prevention, detection and appropriate reaction to security incidents”.

So, what implications does this have for Australian businesses?

The PCI DSS and you

The PCI DSS applies to both standard brick-and-mortar businesses and online e-commerce retailers. Essentially, any organisation that receives, processes or stores credit or debit card information is strongly encouraged to maintain PCI DSS compliance.

Why would you want to invest in PCI DSS compliance? Well the biggest factor is security and reputation. Organisations that commit to complying with the PCI DSS are likely to generate greater levels of consumer trust and goodwill, due to their active investment in customer privacy.

PCI DSS compliance also improves B2B relationships. Proving that you are a responsible and committed retailer shows payment brands and business partners that you are not neglecting critical components of data security.

While PCI DSS compliance is beneficial for the vast majority of commercial businesses, it has added significance for e-commerce businesses, which are often at increased risk of data loss and information theft.

A safer e-commerce solution

For online commerce businesses, the most important first step towards achieving PCI DSS compliance is ensuring you are utilising a PCI Security Standards Council authorised payment solution at all times.

Using an e-commerce payment solution that adheres fully to PCI DSS requirements is the best way to ensure that proper attention is being placed on the importance of your customer’s information and financial security.

PCI DSS authorised e-commerce payment options are significantly more secure than non-compliant alternatives, and make use of sophisticated firewalls, data encryption techniques, ongoing scans and evaluations, penetration testing assessments and high-tech monitoring solutions.

That all adds up to create a system that is more secure, reliable and consistent than any non-PCI DSS compliant option on the market.

At the end of the day, the consequences of poor cyber security can be expensive, far-reaching and long-lasting. Therefore it is well worthwhile investing in this area.

Making use of the range of a PCI DSS compliant e-commerce solution is one of the best methods of achieving a respectable level of security, without sacrificing on affordability or productivity.