What is PCI Compliance?


Digital currency such as credit cards is the standard form of payment for customers these days. No more talking about how credit cards and digital currency being part of the future. The future is now. This fact elevates the level of security a business owner must take to keep their business and customer data safe. A business owner is not alone when fighting hackers and breaches. The Payment Card Industry’s adoption of Data Security Standards (DSS) PCI Compliance levels. Following the levels of these levels serves as business and customer protection.

Four Levels of PCI Compliance

DDS is separated into four PCI Compliance levels. These levels are dependent on the number of credit card transactions a business owner has for the year. The levels range from one to four. The highest is PCI Compliance Level I. The following is a description of the four PCI Compliance levels:

  • PCI Compliance Level I: This is the security standard for a business owner with more than 6 million digital currency transactions. With this compliance level, an assessor validates whether a business is meeting the compliance requirements. This is done each year. This level also requires in-house quarterly scans are conducted of the company’s network. These scans are done by the company’s Information Technology (IT) Team.
  • PCI Compliance Level II: A business with credit card transactions ranging from 1 million to 6 million fits into this category. No independent security assessor is needed to meet this requirement. However, a business must complete four network scans throughout the year. A self-questionnaire is also required.
  • PCI Compliance Level III: No independent security assessor is needed for this level of PCI Compliance level. A company that meets this level has $20,000 and $1 million credit card transaction each year. They are required to conduct quarterly network security and data scans. A self-questionnaire is also required for this level of PCI Compliance.
  • PCI Compliance Level IV:  This is the lowest PCI Compliance level and the easiest one to pass. This level is for any business that does 20,000 credit card transactions or less. Requirements include things needed to protect financial data like firewalls and protective software.

 Protecting Against Data Breaches

The reason for PCI Compliance is protecting a business against data breaches. It is vital for a cardholder to be protected against debilitating data breaches at all costs. In addition to protecting them against data breaches, data packets must also be encrypted. This is important because the data packets travel between the business to the customer over the Internet. One tactic of protecting against data breaches is conducting software updates. This is one of the easiest minimum PCI Compliance levels to complete.

There are some other tactics a business owner can do to protect their customers and business from data breaches. For example, run regular scans of the company’s information network. Monitor software that is available for any size and type of business. Be aware that there is always the possibility of a cyber-threat happening within a business. This means a business may face a security threat from within on purpose, by accident or via employee negligence.

One way to fight an internal cyber-threat is to employ some access control methods. With these methods, only a small number of employees have access to a company’s customer financial information. Limited access includes the ability to rescind or refund purchases or credit. Another way to protect against internal cyber-threats is by allowing limited visual access to customer social security number. Only provide certain employees with a unique User ID logs into a system. This means a business owner knows each time an employee logs into the system.  Also, the business owner knows exactly which employee accessed the system.

 Security Keeps Data Intrusions at Bay

Simply put, a secure network is the best line of defenses against cyber hackers. Strong passwords for every data access point is key for starters. One problem that is too common involves for businesses is that is not changing default passwords on modems and routers. This means that default passwords can be accessed by hackers online. Set a password that can’t be figured out in any way. Limit who has any access to the password too.

Besides business passwords and changing default passwords on routers and modems, there are things a business owner can do. A robust firewall, software updates, and patches must take a company’s security to the next level with PCI Compliance. This will increase the transactions each year.

Take the guesswork out of compliance monitoring with one of the numerous software solutions on the market. These software solutions will help a business owner manage their PCI Compliance, lower a company’s security risks and keep hackers at bay.