PCI Compliance & Small Merchants: Whose Concern Is It Anyway?

May 30, 2012 • Published Categories Archive, PCI 101 Tags , , ,

Small merchants who want to accept credit cards as part of doing business can find themselves lost in a sea of information when it comes to PCI compliance.  While it can be frustrating, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) has a worthwhile goal, and that is to ensure that credit card transactions are secure and consumers’ sensitive data is protected.

At this point you may be thinking: That’s all well and good, but isn’t it up to my payment service provider to worry about PCI DSS? Shouldn’t they be the ones to ensure I don’t have a data breach?

Unfortunately, being an innocent bystander to the technology transmitting your payment data doesn’t absolve your business should a data security breach occur. In fact, there are many actions only you can take to close security holes in your business systems.

Still not concerned? Consider this…

Even the smallest data breach can have a business-ending result for the average merchant:

  • Costly fines – In 2011, 96% of the merchants experiencing a data breach had not complied with the PCI DSS; when not compliant, the breached merchant is often subject to fines from its payment card brand and/or acquiring bank.
  • Recovery-Related Costs – Merchants’ direct costs associated with recovering from a security breach average $194 per stolen record. Given that the typical breach involves tens of thousands of records, the results can be catastrophic to the business.
  • Brand/Reputation Damage – If the fines and costs related to the breach aren’t enough to topple the business, the loss of consumer trust could be the catalyst.

Now that I have your attention, let me reassure you: There are simple and cost-effective steps you can take to help secure your business from data thieves. And, they don’t take as much of your personal time as you may think.

If you’re just starting out and need some tips on getting off the ground with your business’s PCI compliance and security, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve turned your attention to data security and your business, I invite you to check out this newly released white paper, “The Top 5 Security Best Practices for Small Merchants.” This free educational paper will help equip you with the information you need to take a proactive approach to information security, so that your business becomes a less likely target for data thieves.

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