How to Protect Cardholder Data

How to Protect Cardholder Data

The PCI Standard

Retailers, businesses of all sizes, and call centers all base the majority of their business transactions on credit card payments. Call centers require that the customer use credit cards to handle their purchase orders. No matter if they are a sole-proprietorship of only one or a large corporation of thousands, businesses also manage credit card data to perform their business transactions. Retailers everywhere, both large and small, handle credit cards as a means of making purchases. What do all of these different size businesses have in common? They must adhere to global PCI standards.

What are the PCI standards? Otherwise known as PCI DSS, or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards are the rules and regulations that merchants must follow to accept major credit cards as a means for transactions. The standards are a requirement from the major credit card brands, but it is administered by an outside counsel, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. The measures were put into place worldwide to protect consumers and reduce credit card fraud.

It is paramount for any business or institution to maintain consumer trust. One way to maintain trust with consumers is to keep their data safe. It is a serious business to preserve payment information, personal transactions, and personally-identifying information safe from fraud, misuse, and data breaches.

Validation of Compliance

One method of assuring that a business is upholding its security levels is through validation of compliance. Compliance is required for business entities that handle major credit cards for business transactions. Depending on the business’s size or the number of transactions processed, the validation of compliance can be performed annually or quarterly. It is the company’s judgment to manage this based on the volume of business that they handle. Ways that the validation of compliance are conducted include:

PCI-DSS Security Standards

Businesses of any size that accept major credit cards must follow PCI-DSS security standards. The standards are designed to protect both the consumer and the company from fraud or data breaches. The standards apply to any technical or operational systems that are connected to cardholder data. What are the required PCI-DSS standards?

Compliance Levels

All businesses that accept major credit cards are subject to PCI DSS standards. To be PCI compliant, these businesses must follow all security standards set forth by the PCI SSC or Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. There are four levels of PCI Compliance standards based on the number of financial transactions each business processes per year. This monetary amount is equated to the level of risk assessed by the major credit card companies. Each card issuer maintains its level of compliance, though most follow the standard:

Call Centers

Many businesses contract with call centers for several reasons, including customer relations, sales, or processing. Call centers provide a unique example of how a business should ask questions about privacy details such as PCI compliance prior to starting a contract with them for their services. Companies looking to contract with a call center vendor should look at the following list of privacy requirements and their responses before signing the contract.

Cybersecurity is now the number one concern in nearly every business enterprise. A single data breach can be costly to the business with fines and penalties, legal fees, lawsuits, and consumer trust loss. Social media spreads the word of a breach like lightning, and that one breach can cost the loss of a large portion of regular consumers who are wary about any company that has not placed tight security around their data. These penalties can further project into loss of employees, cutbacks, and possible company closures if the profit margins cannot be maintained.

No matter if you are using a call center or handling consumer credit data yourself, it is worth its weight in gold to hire privacy and security experts to help guide you through the necessary steps to maintain data security. Work with a quality redaction company, such as CaseGuard, to find ways to remove personally identifying data and protect your company’s reputation. If unnecessary data is removed prior to storage, then if a breach occurs, no consumer data is lost. Learn from your experts about encryption, firewalls, and access points – doing so will keep your business and reputation in the green.