Merchants today have a lot to deal with. One of the major problems they face is ensuring their customers that they can be trusted with valuable, personal information. Stuff like credit card numbers and banking accounts aren’t something to be treated lightly. This is why certain protocols and standards regarding security have been developed in order to help merchants. Depending on how committed a merchant is to create a secure environment for him and his clients and partners, he can either become PCI compliant or PCI certified. But, although many merchants around the world are trying to obtain one of these statuses, that doesn’t mean that mistakes can’t be made along the way, and even after. This is why it is very important that merchants know how and where they might make these mistakes and take the necessary steps in order to avoid them or at least minimize the potential damage.
What Mistakes Should One Avoid Making When Trying to Become PCI Compliant?
Becoming a merchant nowadays means becoming part of the international economic phenomenon that unites people and businesses from all over the world. But that also means exposing yourself, and your clients, to some very serious security risks. Overcoming these security risks isn’t always an easy task and that is why certain protocols had to be formulated and put in place so that merchants that wanted to make sure they and their customers are safe can adopt and implement them in their own business. This is why so many merchants nowadays are trying to improve their security and make sure that their customers and partners know that they are taking serious steps toward creating a safer space for doing business.
Becoming a part of the global merchant security movement starts with becoming PCI compliant. That means that you recognize a set of security standards and apply them to your own organization. But, although for some being PCI compliant might sound easy, there are some mistakes that can be made along the way, but which can be avoided. The first mistake any merchant wanting to become PCI compliant can make is to not do his research carefully. Although PCI compliance is more of an internal review, making sure that you understand what you have to do and how the standards apply to you is the first step. Some merchants don’t pay the necessary attention to this step and that can cost them in the long run. Compliance can be subject to external auditing and PCI compliant status can be revoked.
Another mistake a merchant seeking PCI compliant status can make is to not follow up on any changes made to the standards he adopts. The security standards are permanently improving and changing in order to keep up with potential threats and cover weaknesses. Some merchants might consider that once they have become PCI compliant once, they don’t need to do anything else. That is quite wrong and can lead to big security issues and the loss of compliance status. Also, not keeping up with the changes made to the standards and protocols can translate in danger for both the merchants’ and his customers’ information. Compliance is one of the things that a merchant can use in order to attract more clients and partners. Not keeping up with the changes other merchants with the same status are making can spell revenue losses and very serious image losses.
What Mistakes Should Be Avoided When Trying to Become PCI Certified?
Becoming PCI certified is a more extensive and laborious process than simple compliance. It means that your steps in implementing certain security protocols and standards have been reviewed by specialists and have been deemed satisfactory. But even so, some merchants might make certain mistakes during the process of becoming PCI certified. One major mistake a merchant can make is to wrongly adapt security standards and protocols to their own business. Standards and protocols are general guidelines which merchants should tailor to suit their own needs. This can be avoided by employing the right team in order to do this and to help you define your own security climate. Also, careful research is required before setting out to becoming PCI certified in order to properly understand what it entails and how can you become a productive member of this exclusive club.
Another mistake any merchant wanting to become PCI certified can make is that of not investing in security measures once they become certified. Security is a process. That is why it is important for any merchant that seeks certification to come up with new ways of making their business, and by extension every business, safer. That means a merchant has to permanently make sure that he is at the top of his security game. That usually translates to better equipment, stricter protocols when dealing with customer data and extensive checking of its personnel in order to make sure that it is up to date with all security protocols. Once a merchant becomes PCI certified it becomes sort of his duty to come up with other improvements for the security protocols he uses in order to help himself and others.
What some merchants don’t understand is that being PCI certified is a privilege, not a right. That means that this status can be revoked is not treated the way it should be. Many of them take this position of certification very seriously, as it helps them improve their image in their community and even helps them get more customers and partners. Certification is a way of showing others that you have done your homework and have taken the necessary steps towards creating a safe space for doing business so they can trust you with their personal information. This is why some countries even impose fines on the merchants that do not at least try to become certified in a certain amount of time after setting up their business.