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PCI-DSS for E-Commerce: 6 Key Things You Need to Know

PCI-DSS - Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, an essential protocol that should be followed by all companies that handle payment transactions.

2022-01-09

Security should be a top priority for any online business. To impose that in a more effective and structured way, credit card companies developed the PCI-DSS - Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, an essential protocol that should be followed by all companies that handle payment transactions.

Having said this, every organization that handles cardholder data must comply with the PCI-DSS for e-commerce; therefore, you must comply with the PCI Standards, and you want to avoid dealing with a security breach and its legal ramifications when running an online store.

As a result, you must consider several security factors for an e-commerce business to protect it from cybersecurity threats. Your company must be PCI-compliant, with a secure website and a payment gateway that provides the necessary protection against data breach.

So, today's article lists six key things you should know to support your attempts to achieve PCI-DSS for e-commerce businesses.

PCI-DSS for e-commerce

PCI-DSS for e-commerce explained

All companies that handle, store, or transmit cardholder information must follow Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, also known as PCI-DSS. PCI-DSS for e-commerce establishes best practices for eCommerce businesses to create a secure environment for such information.

Any business with an e-commerce website must adhere to PCI compliance. To create these regulations and manage PCI-DSS for e-commerce, the PCI Security Standards Council (SSC) was established in 2006, and the most recent edition, PCI DSS v4.0, was issued in March 2022.

The major international payment card networks that make up the council are Visa, JCB International, Discover Financial Services, MasterCard, and American Express. Before 2004, there were no industry rules and regulations, although these five businesses had begun to create their unique powers.

As a benchmark for the best practices for receiving, sending, and storing cardholder data, PCI-DSS for e-commerce business criteria became mandatory in December 2004. The requirements have changed because of new data storage and payment methods, such as contactless payments and unique point-of-sale devices.

The importance of PCI-DSS for e-commerce

Cybercriminals are constantly looking for easy ways to obtain private data and profitably target the eCommerce industry. Data breaches and security incidents can cost you millions of dollars in fines and quickly ruin your brand.

PCI compliance is hugely important for e-commerce businesses. A site's absence of fraud prevention and data security guarantees causes at least 27% of clients to cancel transactions before buying anything.

Small companies lack the resources of industry giants like Walmart, Amazon, and eBay, making them easy targets for attackers. Hacking a few smaller eCommerce websites is simpler for hackers than hacking Amazon.com.

Although organizations of all sizes have well-funded information security processes, sensitive cardholder data remains a major concern, as evidenced by the breach of 2.15 million credit cards in October 2019 at the Buca di Beppo restaurant chain and the breach of Macy's department store.

In fact, in a study conducted by Experian, more than 72% of businesses cite fraud as a growing concern over the past 12 months, and nearly 63% report the same or higher level of fraudulent losses over that same period.

Payment fraud and the growing concern over the past 12 months. Source: experian.com

A PCI-compliant eCommerce business protects client credit card information under industry best practices. When customers are aware that you are adhering to PCI-DSS for e-commerce business regulations, they are more likely to trust you. Moreover, sales output has grown enormously.

1. Work with a PCI-compliant Payment Gateway

The first thing that you will need to know when it comes to PCI-DSS for ecommerce is that you will need to work with a PCI-compliant Payment Gateway if you want to ensure that you are handling transactions in the safest way possible. While you can comply with PCI-DSS on your own, doing it with a gateway such as MYMOID is much more beneficial, fast, and cost-effective.

To select the right PCI-compliant Payment Gateway for your business, make sure that you:

Have a good understanding of all the requirements that need to be met when it comes to PCI-DSS

Understand exactly why PCI-DSS is important and how it helps merchants handle transactions

Be aware of the costly penalties that may incur as a result of non-compliance

Determine the level of PCI-DSS that you should be at as a merchant;

Of course, you will also need to have a clear understanding of exactly what features and functionalities you are looking for when choosing a Payment Gateway. If you need any help with that, contact us and we will be happy to answer all of your questions and resolve all of your doubts.

2. Programs for security training and policy-making

Only those who truly require access to cardholder data should have it. However, this also demands you instruct the authorized staff to exercise caution around hacking and other security dangers.

The hacker only needs one uninformed or negligent employee to inject a virus into your system unintentionally. Therefore, be sure to routinely train your staff on your organization's security procedures and protocols, and raise awareness of dangerous emails, files, downloads, etc.

A policy that covers information security for every employee needs to be set up and maintained within your company. A security strategy and guidelines will allow you to consistently evaluate and revise safety precautions. As a result, you will hold your employees accountable for their actions, especially those in charge of security.

Moreover, access control implementation is essential for data security. Limiting access to credit card information will reduce the chance of information misuse or data theft.

Only those workers who are needed to perform a particular task should be given permission. All of these accesses ought to be properly encrypted and logged. This holds the person with authorization responsible for the action they took.

It is also important to secure physical tools or storage devices that contain card data to prevent data theft or modification.

PCI-DSS for e-commerce

3. Secure application and website development

Compliance success begins with properly designing and developing your e-commerce application or site. Understanding and incorporating the standards into creating a secure website is required for PCI-DSS for e-commerce businesses.

Establishing a firewall is crucial because it lets you filter website traffic and halts problematic or excessive traffic. So, to secure corporate information, we highly advise that you install firewalls on your computers and networks.

According to the PCI-DSS for e-commerce business standards, you are required to install antivirus software to safeguard all networks against malware and to keep that software up to date regularly to ensure compliance.

Moreover, using default password settings and vendor defaults still makes many of you vulnerable to breaches. You must ensure you don't use the vendor's system password defaults or other safety managers.

You must use strict security measures to protect your website so that hackers cannot access it or break into it in any way.

4. Data security for cardholders

If you want your clients to buy from you and trust you, protect their payment procedure and private card information.

Avoid keeping credit card data on your site as much as you can. Through your SSL, your merchant should receive the credit card data of your client when they make a purchase. Therefore, if your website is hacked, card numbers will not be accessible for theft.

Moreover, data security for cardholders is crucial for your company. It would help if you created a solid security architecture as an online retailer.

Data encryption is one of the major requirements outlined by PCI SSC for obtaining PCI-DSS for e-commerce businesses. By encryption, I mean that your security software encrypts data before it leaves your computer and decrypts it once it reaches its final destination.

A person attempting to intercept the data will find an unintelligible code impossible to crack without the appropriate keys. Make sure you use TLS 1.1 when transmitting encrypted data. When encrypting data, it is recommended to use AES 256.

E-commerce companies also benefit from a variety of payment alternatives. There are three common methods of implementing a payment form: the retailer's payment form, an iFrame, or a URL redirect.

You must install the required security measures for your payment solution according to the type of payment option you choose for your company.

5. Regular network monitoring and testing

To protect the security of cardholder data, track and monitor every access to the network, resources, and data. A SIEM is recommended for automated log matching and alerting to keep you informed and detect malicious activity.

Therefore, even if something goes badly, you will have the knowledge to identify the weaknesses and prevent unauthorized access.

Furthermore, we recommend hiring a third-party vendor to audit your security procedures and systems frequently, identify ways to improve your security posture and ensure that your website is PCI-compliant.

6. Licensed scanned providers

An approved scanning vendor performs PCI compliance scanning and determines whether companies have met the requirements. They have the right to examine your card environment's externally exposed systems for problems.

It is mandatory to perform these inspections at least once every three months. This will alert you if any vulnerabilities exist. Moreover, the information will help you decide whether to use a particular vendor or not.

Levels of PCI-DSS For E-Commerce

The level of compliance varies based on whether you are a service provider or a retailer. Four main compliance levels are available to e-commerce merchants, which may differ significantly based on the credit card system.

You can establish your PCI compliance level by calculating your monthly transactions through your credit card company. Let's look at Visa, Discover, and MasterCard to determine your compliance level.

Level 1 - A Report on Compliance and an Authentication of Compliance are necessary reporting documents for merchants conducting six million or more transactions annually across all payment systems.

Level 2 - Businesses that execute between one and six million transactions yearly across all payment channels must submit an SAQ and an AOC as part of their reporting requirements.

Level 3 - Businesses that process 20,000–1,000,000 e-commerce transactions yearly must submit an SAQ and an AOC as part of their reporting requirements.

Level 4 - The only reporting document required is an SAQ for all merchants who process less than one million transactions annually and 20,000 or fewer e-commerce transactions annually.

PCI-DSS for e-commerce: compliance levels

When it comes to meeting PCI levels, one of the most important things that you will need to know is that becoming PCI-compliant can be a lengthy and expensive process. Meeting Level 1 of PCI-DSS can cost up to $100,000 per year for bigger companies, which can be a huge expense, but not something that you can really skip.

For this reason, we recommend becoming PCI compliant through a Payment Gateway that not only allows you to accept online payments and handle transactions, but only provides additional security features and other functionalities to help you grow your business.

Cybersecurity is necessary regardless of how large or small your company is. Don't endanger your company's standing and future sales; comply with PCI-DSS for ecommerce today! Start accepting online payments now - contact us!

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