Are you ready for PCI compliance?

Davey Winder takes a closer look at the financial transaction security standard and what you need to do to get certified.

The trouble is, according to Andy Gibbs, director of security and compliance at cloud computing provider Star, that many of the smaller level 4 companies (those handling fewer than 20,000 payment card transactions a year) have "complained that the acquirers and payment card industry have not communicated the requirements and deadline clearly enough". As a result, Gibbs believes there will be "thousands of smaller firms struggling to meet the 12 basic requirements of the standard".

This is particularly worrying as level 4 merchants suffering a security breach exposing customer credit card details will automatically be moved up to level 1 (the big boys category for more than six million transactions a year) making the PCI-DSS compliance process much more expensive.

Gibbs and others will say the answer is to outsource payment processing to a specialist platform provider which is already PCI-DSS compliant. Thatt's not bad advice to be honest, but is it too late in the day to get compliant yourself?

Not according to Barclaycards' Neira Jones who insists "it is never too late!".

Jones says Barclaycard always advises its customers:

*Do not treat PCI DSS as an IT project: it is a Change Programme and needs organisational commitment.

*Train staff at all levels (there will be various degrees of training).

*Understand how card payments are currently processed (people, process and technology).

*Embed an information security culture within your organisation early.

*If you don't need cardholder information, don't have it...

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