PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is a set of guidelines designed to keep financial information safe from credit card abuse.

While being PCI compliant is necessary for your business (assuming you handle financial transactions), it also isn’t exactly a simple or straightforward subject.

To simplify things for you, we’re now going to talk about the four most important things you need to know about PCI compliance:

1 – You’re Responsible For Being Compliant

The most important thing to know about PCI compliance is that as a business owner or manager, you are the one responsible for ensuring that your business is compliant in the first place.

If your business makes any kind of financial transactions, then you will need to be PCI compliant (even if you handle just one single credit card transaction).

Furthermore, you must also understand that you are responsible for the compliance of any vendors who provide your company with products or services. This means if you use a third party to process payments, you will need to confirm that they are PCI compliant as well.

2 – You Need To Determine Your Merchant Level

PCI DSS standards are not universal across the board. Rather, there are different levels that vary by credit card brands and the number of transaction you make.

For instance, making at least one million annual transactions with MasterCard makes you a Level 3 merchant, while making the same number of transactions only with Visa makes you a Level 4 merchant.

Each level has different compliance requirements, and it’s up to you to find out which level your business falls under and what those requirements are.

3 – Multi-Factor Authentication Is A Good Idea

In today’s age single factor authentication is simply too easy to be breached. Multi-factor authentication is much smarter because it requires a minimum of two technologies in order to access a customer’s card data.

Multi-factor authentication is also already required for PCI DSS when it comes to remote access. To put things simply, a password alone will not be enough to verify the identity of the user and gain access to their financial information. Multi-factor authentication is not breach proof, but it is much safer.

4 – Keep Yourself Up-To-Date

The PCI standards are always changing, and it’s up to you to keep yourself up-to-date on them to stay compliant.

The reason the PCI standards are always evolving is because thieves are constantly coming up with new ways to hack the financial data of customers, and it’s only a matter of time before they adapt on a large scale to new security technologies.

For this reason, the PCI compliance requirements are always being updated and you need to be prepared to adapt your security measures to meet them.

PCI Compliance

Remember, you can’t just know how to be PCI compliant, you also need to ensure that all of your software and hardware are fully up-to-date as well to keep your customers safe from breaches.