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When researching a secure hosting company, it is imperative to make sure it is compliant with the Payment Card Industry (PCI). A PCI compliant website ensures secure credit card processing, and this is a benefit for all parties involved in the transaction. Thus, it is worthwhile to invest in a safe company hosting the platform that customers will be using. Furthermore, taking preventative actions and investigating a hosting company’s PCI compliant standards will ensure that protection while preserving a business’ brand and reputation.

A hosting company that meets PCI standards will often provide this information on a page linked within the footer or FAQ section. Some may automatically integrate PCI compliant standards into their platform, but others may require businesses to ensure their own secure payment processing methods. Regardless, even the most basic standards will not offer thorough protection from non-compliant penalties. Thus, business owners should educate themselves thoroughly on the matter to avoid the costly risks.

The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) is the cornerstone of resources about information security and mandates the requirements businesses must meet in order to be compliant. PCI SSC will explain the necessary precautions for preventing security incidents. They also offer advice about what to do in case such an incident occurs.

One of the responsibilities of the PCI SSC is maintaining the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). PCI DSS pertains to proper debit and credit card processing. A business should also mind the Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA DSS). If a hosting company offers direct payment options through an integrated merchant account on their platform, both their PCI DSS and PA DSS should be validated through the PCI Security Standards Council.

Start ups or micro-businesses might not always have the resources to secure a PCI compliant platform for their websites. It might help to set up an internet merchant account to bill their customers separate from the platform. If they go that route, PCI SSC provides guidance about accounting for these types of transactions both online and offline. Many merchant accounts also adhere to PCI compliant standards.

Maintaining PCI compliance is one of the most important measures a business can take to ensure its reputability and profitability. When in doubt, one should always contact the hosting company directly with questions about what they offer or any limitations they may have. It is better to be well aware of potential risks rather than to risk the costly penalties and repercussions of a non-compliant website.