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PCI DSS regulations are meant to keep customers safe from financial theft, but these types of vague goals are exactly why there’s an uneven rate of compliance when it comes to meeting the regulations. If you learn nothing else about PCI, know that the responsibility of keeping customers’ payment data private is starting to fall to the merchants. Before it was the credit card companies picking up the bill, but not anymore. See why you can’t afford to ignore them.
You don’t have to follow PCI regulations to be legal, but the consequences are significant enough that you can’t take the chance. In 2016, the public noticed EMV card readers at retail stores because EMV chip cards make it harder for criminals to achieve their goals. And because business owners who used the older technology would be held liable if customer data was stolen. If you’re not updating your security or found guilty of irresponsible practices, you’ll be required to pay for fraudulent charges, fined thousands of dollars for non-compliance or sued for negligence. You could even be in trouble if one of your affiliates is found to have poor PCI compliance.
Small Businesses Take Note
The average cost of a breach is about $86,000 for a small company after all is said and done. Even violations that are noticed and acted upon immediately can cost a small business more than $25,000 on average. Hackers are all too happy to go after small businesses because their security practices are typically out of date, and their devices are often a mishmash of hardware that was never meant to be used together. Anyone who takes credit cards needs to be alert to the standards even if they aren’t targeted by hackers. PCI DSS 3.2 came out last year, with one of the major changes being to increase the number of audits for different companies to ensure security compliance. While small business owners may have vastly different requirements than larger retailers, they still need to be followed.
It doesn’t make it any easier that PCI DSS standards need to change as fast as criminals do. Since thieves are highly adaptable, it can feel like a full-time job just to keep up with it all. Busy business owners don’t necessarily have time to keep up with each new law change, or they may be turned off by the high costs of advanced security measures. But the message is becoming more and more clear — the less attention given to these matters, the more likely a business will face significant financial repercussions in the wake of an audit or theft.
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