New PCI Council documents focus on security

For small businesses, there's no question that cybersecurity continues to be one of the biggest issues out there. Although following the PCI Security Standards Council is meant to help businesses protect themselves, the organization is focusing more attention on this important field with a series of new resources for merchants.

On the official Council website, visitors can now download resources, including the first version of a "Small Merchant Guide to Safe Payments." According to Verizon 2012 data included in this guide, 71 percent of hackers target businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

The guide also promoted the benefits of simple environments, noting that they make it easier to change systems. The more complexity that's present, the more possible challenges merchants will have to face.

David Matthews, of the National Restaurant Association and the PCI Small Merchant Taskforce, described the need for restaurant owners to partner with experts for more secure transactions.

"Restaurateurs are not technology experts," Matthews said. "They are skilled in culinary arts, general business management and hospitality.  Like many small businesses, they are reliant on the expertise of others in the cybersecurity space. In order for small restaurants to thrive in the digital age, they will need significant help from the broader technology and security community."

To meet PCI requirements, businesses can start with card processing software that is already verified. In some cases, businesses may qualify for exemptions altogether, but the best approach is to prepare for compliance, since you will need to be able to interact with payment engines for successful processing.

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