Veterinary facilities are increasingly vulnerable to cyber security attacks as their reliance on technology, and electronic data grows.
Although many practice owners assume that their business and practice are safe, the fact remains: small businesses were the ones affected hard by data breaches in the previous years. As a result, choosing the correct credit card processing solution is the first step in protecting your clients’ credit card information.
The easiest method to be safe is to make sure your veterinary practice is PCI compliant.
Exploring PCI Compliance
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Compliance, or simply PCI Compliance, is a regulatory security standard. This standard applies to all organizations that accept card payments in person, over the phone, or online. It serves to protect both you and your customers from data breaches and other forms of cyberattacks.
To ensure compliance, the PCI Security Standards Council oversees all major card types, payment service providers, banks, and any other businesses that process card payments.
PCI Compliance Requirements
Vet businesses must comply with specific security regulations to become compliant. Systems, including software and hardware, may need to be updated to become compliant.
While some of the following factors may already be in place at your company, formalizing them is excellent practice and assures that you will maintain compliance. As a result, you can avoid being held liable in the event of data theft.
The following is the complete list of requirements:
- Encryption: To safeguard data on your systems, ensure that your public networks are encrypted.
- Firewall: Protect your customers’ data by installing and maintaining a firewall. Do not use any of the vendor’s preset system passwords.
- Regular Monitoring and Testing of Networks: Keep track of all network resource access so you can spot any vulnerabilities that could jeopardize your security.
- Restrict Access to Data: Those with computer access should receive unique IDs. You should restrict physical access to cardholder data to demonstrate that you have put effective access control mechanisms in place.
- Vulnerability Management Program: Update anti-virus software on systems that you could infect with malware regularly to keep your systems and applications safe.
The Importance of PCI Compliance
PCI compliance is obligatory, but it also benefits your company. In a nutshell, it is one of the most crucial safeguards you can take to protect both your own and your client’s most sensitive information.
Following that, here are some reasons why remaining PCI-compliant is important:
Provides Protection for Your Clients
Maintaining PCI compliance entails safeguarding your clients’ financial details.
Your client’s data will be better protected, and you will reduce many of the chances for a data breach. As a result, your clients will appreciate your desire to follow the most current security standards and continue patronizing your products and services with confidence.
Provides Protection for Your Business
Being PCI compliant protects your consumers and your company from data breaches. Data breaches, fraud, and the negative consequences of an attack will be less of a concern for your company.
Reduces the Risk of Penalties and Fines
As established, PCI compliance is mandatory. If your company is not PCI compliant and you get linked to a data breach, prepare to be hit with substantial fines and obligations.
Moreover, your company could potentially be held accountable for any further damages or costs incurred as a result of the data breach. Furthermore, your merchant account may be closed by credit card companies. Ultimately, these penalties can put your business in jeopardy.
Therefore, you need to ensure you are PCI compliant every year to mitigate risk and repercussions.
Safeguards the Image and Reputation of Your Company
If a customer’s data gets stolen, you risk heavy fines and the ruination of your company’s reputation.
Customers who have been the victims of fraud are likely to quit doing business with the company where the incident took place. Furthermore, new clients may be discouraged from ever doing business with you.
Complying with New Regulations
As the vet practice becomes more adoptive of new technology, future payment processing trends will get dominated by security concerns. As a result, it is only reasonable that vet companies expect both new technology and stronger regulations to play a big role in protecting payment data.
Businesses will have to pay closer attention to industry standards and new consumer protection legislation. Thus, checking if you are already PCI compliant is an excellent place to start.
The Consequence of Non-Compliance with PCI
Veterinary clinics that do not comply with the PCI DSS and its sub-requirements are unethical since they did not honour their merchant agreement’s provisions.
In the end, breaking this agreement can lead to:
- High Non-Compliance Costs
- Penalties and Fines
- Costs of Litigation, Settlements, and Judgments
- Significant harm to a vet practice’s reputation could lead to its collapse
- The immediate termination of the ability to accept credit and debit cards
Becoming PCI Compliant
PCI compliance gets required for any business that accepts credit or debit cards. The benefits of conforming to PCI requirements outweigh the risks of failing to do so.
Working directly with the PCI Security Standards Council is one approach to accomplish this. You can browse through the 12 PCI requirements on their website to guarantee your company is compliant. Training and certification programs are also available through the organization.
You can also engage with a Managed Service provider familiar with PCI compliance and standards. Consider Veterinary IT Services in this respect.
Maintaining PCI compliance in your business systems can be difficult, especially as your practice’s environment, technology, and people change. In this context, Veterinary IT Services focuses directly on your IT systems and continuously monitors these modifications to ensure compliance and, more importantly, the safety and security of your data.
Veterinary IT Services can help you with everything — from PCI compliance to expanding your payment alternatives for your customers and so much more.
Get in touch with Veterinary IT Services for a free consultation.