PCI. To you, it’s just one more compliance protocol for your practice to deal with.
It’s true that a lot goes into maintaining compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), but with the right help, it doesn’t have to be a hassle. In fact, it’s empowering to know your dental practice is doing its part to protect your patients’ credit card data.
In this post, you’ll learn more about following PCI DSS regulations in your practice to stay compliant and why it’s so important.
What is PCI Compliance & How Does it Work?
PCI DSS is an acronym for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards PCI compliance is a set of standards created by The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (headed by big-name card holding companies like American Express, Discover, MasterCard, etc.) to help protect the data of their credit card holders.
PCI compliance is a mandatory protocol that’s enforced for businesses that handle credit card transactions. It was created to ensure that merchants are doing their part to protect personally identifiable information (PII) associated with credit cards. If your practice accepts cards as a form of payment, these regulations help to ensure you’re properly protecting your patients’ private and financial information that's stored on your devices and servers.
Why is PCI Compliance Important for My Practice?
Let’s talk about the biggest reason your practice needs PCI compliance protection: it’s the law. PCI compliance is legally required for any merchant who accepts credit cards as a payment method. Those who fail to meet the compliance standards can face large fines from credit card companies and banks. Your dental practice could even lose the ability to process credit card payments altogether!
Besides the impact a PCI violation could have on your dental practice directly, your patients could be negatively impacted by your violation. You have a duty to your patients to safeguard their data. Should any of your cardholder data be compromised in a security breach, your patients could find their bank accounts depleted or their PII used in identity theft schemes. It goes beyond losing their trust as customers— exposure of their card data could cause them years of financial recovery.
New Practice? Get Started Accepting Credit Cards
If you’re establishing a new dental practice and are just accepting credit cards for the first time, you’ll need to find a trustworthy credit card processor, like ProMercant, Square, Merchant One or other card processing companies.
You’ll likely end up locking into a contract with a credit card processing company, so make sure you do your research and choose a processor you trust.
Keeping Credit Card Data Secure
After choosing a card processing company, you’ll still have five major Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards to follow, including:
Protecting all cardholder information and data
Protecting your systems against malware
Putting strong access control measures in place
Monitoring and testing your networks
Creating and maintaining an information Security Policy
While our bulleted list may make it look quick and easy, there are specific things you’ll have to do for each requirement— like maintaining firewalls, training staff members on best practices for handling PII and more— which can be quite time-consuming.
In addition to maintaining those six core requirements, The Security Standards Council also requires those who handle card holder data to complete an annual Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) and perform quarterly scans to ensure they’re properly protecting the card data they house.
Really, there are a lot of T’s to cross and I’s to dot when it comes to PCI compliance. Remember, protecting cardholder data under PCI DSS is just one set of standards your practice must meet. There are also HIPAA standards you must follow to safeguard your patients’ medical and personal data.
Are You Truly PCI Compliant?
You have your hands full at your practice— the last thing you need is compliance and security headaches on your plate.
Because of the intricacies that go into protecting your patients’ personal and financial data, it’s often best to leave the legal work to the professionals.