Payment Processing Compliance

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Payment Processing Compliance

It may be safe to say that today's urgent need for security in every aspect of business is both unprecedented and overwhelming. The ubiquitousness of the Internet opens doors for both commercial gain and digital theft. For merchants who use payment card devices, staying ahead of competitors offers enough challenge. For some, keeping up with corporate security details regarding those devices is beyond their internal capacity, and by not addressing that fact, they risk (or suffer) losses due to hacking, phishing, and other nefarious digital activity. If it’s time to engage a payment card security service provider, thoughtful evaluation of what is needed and the options available is a good start to a positive and safe outcome.

Outsourcing is Cost Effective

Outsourcing the critical function of consumer data security to a qualified provider is very often both the best response to the problem, as well as the most cost-effective and efficient. Governments the world over have escalated their oversight of digital financial transactions and implemented intricate webs of reporting rules and regulations for companies to follow. Digital security companies have risen in response to those regulations and offer the technology and expertise to make and keep safe both corporate and consumer data, as well as maintain company compliance with all required standards. For most merchants, these services are almost always less expensive than developing them in-house, and the out-sourced services and systems offered can be implemented at a much quicker pace.

At the very least, companies seeking outsourced financial data security support should look for companies demonstrating accreditation in these digitally-relevant elements:

PCI-DSS Certification

The International "Payment Card Industry" (PCI) Security Standards Council develops standards to ensure the safety of cardholder data for hundreds of millions of people. "Payment cards" are all cards that are used by merchants, vendors, software developers and financial institutions to facilitate financial transactions. The PCI Council established "Data Security Standards" (DSS) for cards that are issued within the major card schemes (American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and JCB). The DSS are intended to increase card security and reduce credit card fraud.

SSAE 16 Compliance

The name, "Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagement 16 (SSAE)" is sufficiently daunting to signify the need for professional management of its processes. Simply put, SSAE 16 details the requirements for accurate reporting of the security and financial systems used by companies and their outsourced providers to make and keep their data secure. Properly managed, these reports offer critical insights into risks management systems, vendor programs, and regulatory oversight.

Encryption and Tokenization

Both of these separate and distinct processes protect information, and they are used in different ways, depending on the entity and the volume of data being accessed.

  • Encryption: Encrypted data has been transformed from its original form into an indistinguishable form. Recovering the original form is only done through the use of a passcode. Authorized users with the passcode can access the original data.
  • Tokenization: "Tokenizing" replaces original data with a "token," a surrogate value that represents the original data. Original, sensitive data remains stored securely, and is accessed by its holder after the transaction closes, and the data is no longer in transit.

As these security systems evolve, their capacity to protect data from inadvertent or intentional breaches improves. For some companies, encryption may be suggested for larger applications that transmit immense volumes of data, where tokens might be insufficient to adequately cover it all. For other businesses, tokenization may offer the best option because it keeps proprietary data out of transmissions altogether.

Outsourcing Provides Security and Freedom

Thousands of enterprises have embraced the services of certified financial data security consultants to maintain the safety of their proprietary corporate data and their customer's personal and financial information, as well as keep them in compliance with international financial services regulations. Their wisdom in doing so is especially significant considering the complexity of today's global digital security landscape. By outsourcing this critical function, these companies are better able to allocate corporate resources to their primary industry and eliminate the waste and potential disaster of creating the security oversight in-house.

Pam S.

Pam S.

Portland, Oregon, United States

Pam Sornson is an advocate, attorney, mother, and active community member who, for years, has used words to improve the lives of those around her. Her writing is a product of her long career as a lawyer, and of her responsiveness to the needs of vulnerable populations (abused ...

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