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Four Ways To Soar Above PCI Compliance and Achieve Higher Levels of Security

Published November 6th, 2017 by Servistree

When you’re running a business that accepts credit card or debit card payments for transactions, you must adhere to the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards regarding the storing, processing and transmission of all credit card information.

PCI compliance is achieved by following the standards set up by government, but as a business owner, you may think it’s fine to just meet those minimum standards.

And you’d be wrong.

To truly establish a higher level of security, you have to push beyond compliance, and you can achieve that goal by incorporating these four methods.

1. Employ Encryption On Computer Hardware

Chance are, you use computers in your daily business, and multiple studies have shown that the majority of credit card number theft is done by hackers infiltrating supposedly ‘secure’ systems. That’s why it’s vital that you encrypt all the hardware on your computers, especially if you’re in the habit of storing customer credit card numbers in a file. Encryption is just a fancy word that means hiding information by encoding it in a set of words and numbers that will mean nothing to anyone who tries to access your system. But there is one caveat:  don’t do this yourself. Hire a professional computer security expert to provide encryption at the highest security level.

2. Educate Internal Employees On Data Handling and Destruction

The success of your business is dependent in a large part on the people you hire, and boosting your security is no different. You must train your employees so they understand the importance of handling sensitive financial data, and what they can and cannot due to maintain strict security standards. For example, some financial information should be classified as ‘public,’ which means that its dissemination will not have an adverse effect on a customer or client.

Other information, such as social security numbers and billing addresses should be classified as ‘sensitive,’ meaning that it should only be used when taking orders over the phone or online, or processing a customer’s credit car payment in person. Some businesses still use credit card imprint machines, in which a facsimile of a customer’s credit card is created. If your business uses these types of machines, you must instruct your employees to shred and destroy these imprints at the end of each business day to prevent their theft and unauthorized use.

3. Making Use of New Technologies

One of the newest technologies in credit card transactions are chip cards, cards with a small, rectangular ‘chip’ that customers insert into a reader. The chip technology is supposed to make transactions safer for both you and your customers, because they generate a unique code each time the chip is inserted, and because that code is different for every use, it’s extremely difficult for credit card thieves to duplicate the code. This is a perfect example of making sure you utilize these new technologies. Chip reader cards are different than readers for standard cards, which means you will have to upgrade to keep up with this change. Another example, are mobile card readers, which allow customers to pay for transactions with their mobile phones, and are becoming increasingly popular. But if you don’t keep up with these new technologies, you’ll get left behind, and it will affect your bottom line.

4. Maintain Software With Updates and Security Patches

What’s the point of having state-of-the-art security software, if it’s never updated? Updates come fast and furious, because hackers are always finding new ways to crack security systems, so make sure your security software is always updated, as even a small bug in your system can open your business to infiltration. But don’t forget about security patches, which are smaller updates that take place between the releases of a new software package. Patches are designed to provide temporary fixes to bugs in your system, so while they are useful in enhancing your security, you really need to focus on software updates for a more comprehensive fix.

Soar Above

The security of your credit card processing system is the key to maintaining outstanding customer and client relations, and avoiding a costly data breach that can damage the reputation of your business. By employing these four methods, you’ll ensure security that exceeds PCI compliance.

If you need help establishing greater security in your business, contact us at 1-866-944-3244, or visit us online, to learn how we can add value to your company, and help your profits soar.

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