As thousands of harried spouses and romantically entangled Americans scramble to find the right Valentine's Day gifts this week, many are pulling out the credit cards and ordering online or over the phone or waiting in line to swipe their debit cards at the florist or candy store. That's a lot of personal data zooming through cyberspace, which can make the perfect gift for hackers.
One of the compliance regulations that controls how merchants and others handle credit card data is PCI DSS, established to prevent, detect and react to unauthorized access to personal payment information. The standards are strict and penalties can be stiff.
The challenge comes when retailers, overwhelmed with busy shopping seasons and lines of customers, have so many things to manage that their vigilance protecting customer data can lose priority. And yet, it just takes one misstep to open the doors to a data breach.
That's why it's critical that retailers and other organizations who handle credit card information regularly assess their data protection policies and processes, and implement effective encryption and data transfer tools that can automate the process of keeping data secure so they can focus on keeping their customers happy.