10 Tips for Achieving PCI Compliance for Your E-Commerce Business
In today’s digital world, payment card data security is everything. It’s easy to fall behind on compliance if you don’t stay up-to-date with the latest standards and regulations, so it’s important to know how to stay compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This PCI compliance guide will show you 10 key tips that can help your e-commerce business achieve PCI compliance so you can continue doing business securely online without any issues.
1) Enable SSL
When a website collects credit card data, it has to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). The following steps can help your e-commerce site achieve PCI compliance:
- Verify whether or not you are required to comply with the standard by verifying that your e-commerce site includes sensitive data.
- Secure transmission of personal information and payment data by using an encrypted, 256-bit SSL connection over Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).
2) Configure Web Applications
Enable an SSL connection for all pages that request personal information. The Web Application should use encryption to store passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data.
Monitor the servers that have access to your Web Application using a firewall and intrusion detection system. Install patches when available to protect from new threats on the Internet.
3) Protect Cardholder Data
- Use strong passwords – this is the most important component of data security and often one of the easiest to get wrong. Sometimes it’s tempting to reuse a password across accounts, but this leaves you vulnerable if your password is hacked. At the very least, use different passwords for each account that stores financial information and make sure they are secure by using an appropriate number of characters with mixed types like lowercase, uppercase, numbers, and symbols.
4) Encrypt Transmission Channels
One of the most important steps in being PCI compliant is to encrypt all transmissions that contain cardholder data. After all, a business needs to protect cardholder data when it moves between one system or network and another. One of the first things they should do is create a rule to encrypt transmission channels so that sensitive information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.
5) Use Strong Security Protocols
Companies that sell products and services online need to adhere to a set of protocols to ensure customer data is protected. These guidelines, set by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI), are in place because anyone who handles credit card data is at risk of being hacked. If your business doesn’t adhere to these guidelines, you could potentially suffer from an expensive data breach.
Hackers typically look for unsecured websites where they can enter sensitive information and harvest as much data as possible.
6) Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program
Your vulnerability management program should identify any vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure and implement the appropriate controls to protect against them. For example, an e-commerce business may want to consider penetration testing or data loss prevention (DLP) technologies. We recommend starting with these 10 simple tips
7) Develop, Implement, and Monitor a Policy on Removable Media
- Define policies and procedures that prohibit employees from using removable media, such as USB drives, CDs, DVDs, or SD cards, on all systems within the cardholder data environment.
- Require a user to provide written justification before they are permitted to use removable media with access to the cardholder data environment.
- Develop and implement an encrypted file system where data is protected by standard cryptographic technology at rest or in motion.
8) Establish a Program to Identify and Respond to Suspicious Events
Like most businesses, yours probably stores customer payment card information online and sends this data to merchants or banks as part of the transaction process. With so much customer data at stake, it’s important to have a plan in place that will protect your business against potential malicious hackers. One way to do this is by maintaining a Program to Identify and Respond to Suspicious Events that can help you detect and mitigate any risks as they come up.
9) Regularly Test Security Systems, Procedures, and Personnel Section: 10) Review Policies & Programs Annually or After a Significant Change
One of the most important ways to keep on top of your compliance is by reviewing your policies and programs annually or after a significant change.