Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance is becoming a bigger demand in many states, but how important is adhering to these standards? Why do people care, and is it really making a difference in the Information Technology (IT) world? Whether it's optional in your area or becoming a statewide requirement, here are a few reasons that IT PCI assessments and improvements are becoming a serious discussion in markets across North America.
It's More Than Hacking A Bank
The news is full of reports about banks being compromised, state governments losing the personal information of its citizens, and large companies being attacked in similar fashions. These are big problems, but it's too easy to consider the big targets as "others" and separate their dangers from your business.
If you're a small business or growing enterprise, you're still a target. You may be a practice target in some cases as people develop techniques, but businesses that aren't making major headlines can become an ATM for data thieves to take out money whenever they want in a situation where competent law enforcement can't reach.
Consider a business that manages farmers markets. If you have a lot of customers making payments to produce stall owners, you have a lot of areas where a hacker could make an attack. Can you prove that all of the payment devices are safe? Can you prove that there isn't someone out there intercepting data, or practicing different ways to steal information before moving on to bigger projects?
If not, you have a ripe playground for budding identity thieves. Although law enforcement and cyber crime prevention has come a long way in the past decade, it's hard to say if your local law enforcement is equipped to detect hackers and follow their trail.
Unlike in movies or the few cases that make it to mainstream news, not every thief leaves an obvious trail of shopping sprees. Personal discipline and reducing hubris is just as important to thieves as using good hacking tools.
Strong PCI Control Means Fewer Attacks
You have to take matters into your own hands and leave law enforcement for follow-up investigations. If PCI policy isn't required in your area, it can still be a great set of guidelines for protecting your customers and your business from hackers.
For the areas where PCI compliance is required, it's because the stakes are getting bigger every day. The large corporation and government data breaches are just the tip of the iceberg so to speak, as there is a mountain of other infiltration events that create increasing costs for customers and businesses.
To be certain, it creates business for companies designed to repair credit and evaluate theft, but there will always be that type of work. The floodwaters have to be controlled, and an important part of that control is strengthening businesses and customers with better tools to slow down and/or capture thieves.
Contact an IT PCI assessments professional, such as from The Cyber Watch ,
to schedule an analysis of your payment systems, and harden your business defenses while learning more about payment technology.