As an independent software vendor (ISV), you have plenty to think about. You need to develop and protect your software with intellectual property protection and make sure it serves the needs of your clients. When you process payments as well, though, you need to meet the payment card industry (PCI) compliance standards as well. This can seem daunting—but if you prepare and work with the right partners, you can push yourself ahead of the curve.
You Don't Have a Choice
Any company, website, or ISV that processes credit and debit card payments has to meet the PCI compliance standard. This set of guidelines is established to protect customer data and financial information for everyone involved. If you suffer a breach, you already risk loss to your reputation and your customer base. When that breach comes as a result of your failing to meet the standards established, you also may lose the ability to process payments in the future.
Tools and Integration Can Help
Meeting the guidelines can feel like a powerful challenge. Fortunately, you don't have to figure everything out yourself. Developers in the industry have applications available to create end-to-end or point-to-point encryption for data working through your software solution. You can build in filters to help detect and reduce fraud, and layer in protective algorithms to prevent data loss or security events. Even for a software developer, there is no need to reinvent the data security wheel. Invest in some of the best available tools and integrate them with your payment solution.
Hosted Options Instead of Integration
The flip side of integration is pushing your payment processing into a hosted solution. This can be appealing if you want to offer payment solutions but do not want to store data. After all, for you to lose a customer's financial data, you need to have it first. Cloud storage and processing gives you the ability to work with other vendors whose sole reason for being is data-protected payment processing. If you are not comfortable with integrated options, this gives you a viable alternative.
It's a Process, Not an Event
As the PCI compliance guidelines make clear, protecting data can't work as a single event. Identity thieves and hackers evolve over time; a solution that works today may not work once an enterprising criminal finds a way around it. Your solutions thus need to remain nimble, with the ability to adapt and adjust to new threats as they emerge.
In this world, working with experts is critical. As you develop your software offerings, be sure to work with people who live in the world of protecting data in payment processing. By preparing up front for the threats that arise every day, you can keep ahead and maintain PCI compliance.