5 Things ISVs Need to Know About PCI Compliance and Payment Security


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As an independent software vendor (ISV), providing highly functional and integrated services have always been central to what you do. When a client commissions a new software application, your job is to make sure it works as expected.

Yet, the scope of this responsibility continues to expand as more clients request payment integration with their projects. Not only must these applications work, but they also must comply with PCI Security Standards Council guidelines to maintain data security.

In an age of unprecedented cyberattacks and hacking, this is no easy feat. In fact, many ISVs prefer outsourcing payment integration, rather than taking on any additional risk. Most businesses prefer end-to-end turnkey solutions devoid of interoperability issues. ISVs that understand PCI compliance will continue to enjoy the lion’s share of new opportunities on the horizon.

Here are five details you need to know before diving headfirst into payment security:

1. PCI Compliance isn’t optional

PCI compliance is mandatory for any organization (and application) that processes, collects or stores credit card data. It doesn’t matter if your clients are for-profit businesses or charity organizations. If they fail to remain compliant, they could end up paying hefty penalties. In some cases, their merchant accounts may be terminated.

That doesn’t seem very encouraging, but read on …

2. PCI Compliance can be easy

PCI compliance often seems complicated, and it certainly can be. However, there are a range of existing technologies that can dramatically reduce your client’s exposure to credit card fraud and abuse. Risk reduction is the whole point of PCI compliance.

Below are just some of the payment security features you can use to move your clients closer to full compliance:

3. It’s possible to reduce PCI audit scope

Another effective security strategy is to use hosted payment pages that allow for off-site processing and verification. No credit card data is ever stored within the applications you develop — or in your clients’ payment environments.

With no data stored, there’s nothing for criminals to steal. Hosted payment pages not only shield your clients from potential fraud, but they can also help reduce their PCI audit scope.

4. You can still ‘outsource’ PCI Compliance

With the right approach, you can integrate third-party payment options into the software applications you develop. With this strategy, you are effectively “outsourcing” PCI compliance, while still providing your clients with complete, standalone solutions.

Prime examples of this payment integration include Apple Pay and PayPal. If your applications work seamlessly with these platforms, your clients benefit from the functionality they desire and the fraud protection they require.

5. One final PCI Compliance tip for ISVs

Navigating the PCI compliance landscape can seem challenging at first. The rules are constantly in flux, and there are so many moving parts. As a result, true compliance is not a one-time fix. It’s an ongoing process. This means you’ll often have to revisit older projects and update their payment parameters accordingly.

Still, this is actually great news for ISVs that understand the terrain. If you can provide PCI-compliant applications, you’ll have a steady stream of new orders — even as more established ISVs struggle to keep their businesses afloat.

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