The Global Financial Market and the State of PCI DSS Compliance


Since the turn of the millennium, the internet and technology have ultimately revolutionized the way we live. AI, cloud, and big data are continuously disrupting all industries, forcing all businesses along the way to evolve or go home. The global financial market has not been left out.  It has experienced tremendous changes over the past two decades and is currently one of the most sophisticated industries.

For instance, gone are the days when consumers had to carry hard cash as they can now make payments using credit and debit cards. Now, the number of card payments done in a day has increased dramatically and is predicted to reach 60 million by the year 2026. Mobile banking is also at the heart of business operations, and similar to card payments has also changed the way of doing things. 

Even though there’s no denying these changes have simplified things, they also come with risks. For instance, with the convenience of card payments and mobile banking comes the risk of identity theft, which even though it affects both parties, tends to affect the consumers more.

What’s even more appalling is that all sorts of businesses, whether small or large, are at the risk of a security breach. Already, major companies such as Target and JPMorgan Chase have been victims. The good news, however, is that being PCI DSS Compliant can help businesses in the global financial market protect both business and consumer data.

What Is PCI DSS Compliance?

Contactless payments such as credit and debit cards are not a new thing. They have been in play since the late 90s. The only difference between today and then is that these payments have evolved to become better and easier. However, they present the same risks as back then, only that today, the risk is much higher. What does any of this have to do with PCI DSS Compliance?

Well, PCI DSS Compliance is a set of standards that were developed in 2004 to ensure that any business accepting electronic payments protects consumer data. In other words, they exist to ensure enterprises do their part in protecting consumers from the risks associated with data breaches such as identity theft and fraudulent activities. Even though it mostly protects the consumer, PCI DSS Compliance also safeguards the wellbeing of the business in several ways as shown below

  • Prevents Problems with the Authorities

As noted, PCI DSS is a set of policies that every business is expected to implement. Failure to do so results in penalties and fines. Thus being compliant protects businesses from such penalties.

  • Safeguards the Future of the Business

When transacting with an entity, every consumer wants to be assured that their information will be kept safe. So when a data breach occurs and customer data stolen, both current and potential clients lose confidence in the business. This, in turn, affects its continuity as customers are more likely to turn to its compliant competitors, forcing the latter to shut down.

Additionally, when a data breach occurs, the business in question is not only forced to pay hefty fines to the federal government but also the customers who decide to use it. A ruined reputation and substantial penalties are enough to force a business to call it quits.  

Thus, being compliant not only keeps penalties at bay but also safeguards the future of the entity by boosting consumer confidence hence ensuring continuity.

A Look At The State Of PCI DSS Compliance in The Global Financial Markets

As you can see, PCI DSS Compliance policies were created with the sole aim of protecting both the business and consumers from costly data breaches. Thus, you’d expect all entities accepting credit cards and mobile banking payments to do their part in being compliant. Surprisingly, this is not the case, and despite the rise in costly data breaches over the last decade, most firms are yet to be compliant.

According to a survey conducted by Verizon in 2016, only 55.4% of firms in the global financial markets are compliant. While on the one hand, this is a significant increase, on the other hand, it shows that almost half of enterprises are exposing their clients to the risk of identity theft by failing to comply. Some of the reasons behind this failure include

  • Inability or Failure to Segment Networks

The inability to isolate payment data from the rest of the company’s data is one of the main reasons why firms are still struggling with PCI DSS Compliance. For instance, in the case of Target’s data breach, hackers seamlessly accessed consumer data because the American retailer had not segmented its network.

  • Using Basic Configurations.

Most organizations often use basic configurations. According to Verizon, approximately 48.9% of organizations use vendor-supplied passwords instead of creating stronger and tough to hack system passwords and logins. This automatically means failure to comply with the demands of PCI DSS requirement 2.

Other Reasons Behind PCI DSS Compliance Failure

  • Avoiding or being complacent about data encryption
  • Slacking on reporting
  • Failure to invest in more secure network architecture

What Can You Do?

If you own a business and accept card payments, then you’re part of the global financial market. Hence, it’s your role to ensure your consumers are protected through PCI DSS compliance. However, implementing all PCI DSS policies can be hard, which is why most businesses fail in the first place. You can, however, save yourself the trouble by allowing an experienced PCI DSS vendor to handle the process. Therefore, be sure to check us out for more information!

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