Merchant Levels and Their Impact on PCI DSS Compliance

PCI DSS merchant levels featured

If you work in retail or payment processing, you may already know about PCI DSS. However, you may not know of the details about compliance and transaction processing. For example, did you know that the size of your business and the number of transactions you process actually change how you comply with PCI DSS?

Here, we’ll break down the merchant levels in place to address this difference and how it could impact you as an organization facing PCI DSS requirements.

 

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Cybersecurity and PCI DSS eCommerce for Online Transactions

PCI DSS ecommerce featured

Online shopping has ballooned in 2020. While most consumers have been moving to online purchases for years, the onset of COVID-19 has kickstarted a huge shift to online shopping across several industries. That’s why businesses that may never have normally considered online transactions are fielding new ways for their customers to engage with them through eCommerce functionality. That kind of online shipping will almost inevitably allow customers to make purchases with credit cards, which will mean PCI DSS eCommerce compliance. 

Here we discuss the importance of understanding the sea change in online transactions, and how your organization can start to think about PCI DSS compliance for those transactions even if you’ve never accepted them before. 

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RegTech Eases Compliance Costs & Strengthens Cyber Security

RegTech Simplifies Governance, Risk, and Compliance

As compliance costs skyrocket, standards grow increasingly complex, and the cyber threat environment evolves, organizations are turning to RegTech solutions to automate their compliance processes and improve their overall cybersecurity posture.

As compliance costs skyrocket, standards grow increasingly complex, and the cyber threat environment evolves, organizations are turning to RegTech solutions to automate their compliance processes and improve their overall cybersecurity posture.

Compliance with regulatory and industry standards, such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, FedRAMP, and SSAE 16 SOC reporting, are a burdensome yet necessary part of doing business in the digital world. Organizations operating in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare and finance, face significant compliance challenges, especially when they must comply with multiple standards. HIPAA, for example, applies to any organization that handles medical records, including schools, collection agencies that handle medical debt, personal injury attorneys, and SaaS providers of healthcare software; meanwhile, these same organizations may also have to comply with PCI DSS, SSAE 16 reporting, SOX, and other applicable standards.

Organizations must figure out which standards apply to them, then continually keep up with reporting requirements, audits, and the inevitable changes in those standards as technology and the cyber threat environment evolve. It is estimated that regulatory compliance costs U.S. businesses about $2 trillion annually, and in a perverse twist, small business’s compliance costs are over three times higher than what large companies bear. This heavy burden helps explain why so many enterprise cyber security “plans” start and end with compliance, even though compliance does not equate to data security. It’s not necessarily that organizations don’t care about whether their data is secure, but that they spend so much money and time on compliance, there’s nothing left to tackle cyber security.

Fortunately, technology has made it possible for organizations to achieve compliance and secure their systems and data, at an affordable cost.

RegTech to the Rescue

One of the biggest problems in many organizations is the fact that their compliance processes – or the processes of their third-party compliance providers – are not automated. Some companies still use spreadsheet programs such as Excel for compliance reporting and audits, even though Excel was never meant to be used with the very large data sets produced by today’s complex data environments. But RegTech software, such as Continuum GRC’s IT Audit Machine (ITAM), can.

While the term “RegTech” is most commonly associated with the finance industry, RegTech solutions can be employed by any organization that must adhere to compliance standards, including healthcare, cloud computing, SaaS, education, and public-sector organizations. RegTech solutions utilize big data capabilities and rapid report creation to automate data management and reporting. Instead of multiple, disparate spreadsheets and ledgers, RegTech software creates a centralized repository of all IT compliance requirements with associated controls and automated information flows for audits, assessments, and testing.

Making Sense of Big Data

The big problem with big data is that it amounts to a lot of big noise unless you have the capability to analyze it and derive actionable insight from it. RegTech doesn’t just simplify your compliance processes; it also strengthens your enterprise’s cyber security by providing the advanced data analysis capabilities you need to make sense of your data environment and discover where your vulnerabilities lie. The ITAM, for example, integrates IT governance, policy management, risk management, and incident management. In addition to taking the pain out of the compliance process, it empowers you to document and analyze IT risks, develop mitigation plans, define security controls, and manage ongoing risk assessments so that you can anticipate new and emerging threats and stop them before a breach occurs.

RegTech is poised to transform IT governance, compliance, and cyber security. Organizations that employ this new technology will free up money, time, and human resources to innovate, create, and pursue long-term organizational goals instead of being bogged down in regulatory paperwork and worried about data breaches and other cyber attacks.

The cyber security experts at Lazarus Alliance have deep knowledge of the cyber security field, are continually monitoring the latest information security threats, and are committed to protecting organizations of all sizes from security breaches. We offer full-service risk assessment services and Continuum GRC software to protect companies from data breaches, ransomware attacks, and other cyber threats.

Lazarus Alliance is proactive cyber security®. Call 1-888-896-7580 to discuss your organization’s cyber security needs and find out how we can help your organization successfully simplify Governance, Risk, and Compliance, and secure your systems.