The Need for PCI Compliant Hosting

More web hosting providers are offering services that provide customers with the help they need to achieve PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance.  Achieving compliance requires the use of numerous security tools and policies to meet the standards that apply to any business that accepts, processes and stores credit card information.  Those who do not adhere to these requirements are subject to penalties and may eventually lose their privileges to accept credit card payments, which is the most common method of payment on the web.  If you sell products or services online, investing in a PCI compliant hosting solution may be worthy of your consideration.

Though PCI standards were introduced to protect consumer information and ensure integrity across various industries, they have also introduced a new level of frustration for the smaller business that has a need to sell products or services online, but doesn’t possess the resources to meet compliancy.  There is a lot that goes into protecting sensitive card data and unfortunately, one too many organizations are not equipped to provide this protection.  Everyday, companies are scattering in attempts to gather the necessary resources to not only fend off attackers, but also keep the government out of their business.  Difficulties aside, PCI compliance is needed as threats are growing rapidly in terms of numbers and sophistication.

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PCI-Friendly Hosting Features

Achieving compliance requires a multitude of security components.  Some of the essentials include:

Malware Protection – Malicious software such as viruses, worms, Trojans and keyloggers pose a direct threat to card data stored on any computer or web server.  Businesses are strongly advised to keep their systems protected with reliable solutions capable of detecting and eradicating the latest malware programs.

Firewall – A firewall provides an organization with the ability to control inbound and outbound traffic going to and from the system.  With the right configurations, it can halt malicious traffic and also help to prevent basic hacking attacks.

Intrusion Detection – Though very effective, a firewall can only do so much.  An intrusion detection system enables PCI compliance by detecting the presence of malicious activities that pose a potential threat to card data resting on the system.

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Network Monitoring – Even with all the right security mechanisms, card data can still be at risk due to a wide range of circumstances.  This could related to hardware failure or a problem with a backbone provider.  Network monitoring allows companies to stay one step ahead of such issues by watching over the network and reporting its status to system administrators.

SSL Certificate System – SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a must-have security feature for any business that sells goods or services over the internet.  Credit card data is in jeopardy whenever transactions are made on any website that isn’t protected.   With an SSL certificate, businesses can ensure the protection of sensitive information as the protocol creates an encrypted tunnel for which credit card details to travel through.

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Not all hosting providers make the commitment to aid in PCI compliance but more are getting onboard with the concept.  Those who are should be commended for their efforts to aid in business-friendly solutions that take the stress out of meeting these demanding standards.

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