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PRONETS BLOG
 
What You Need To Know About PCI Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 October 2012 10:31

ATTENTION ALL BUSINESSES PROCESSING, STORING OR HANDLING CREDIT CARDS: What You Need To Know About PCI

PCI Compliance is shorthand for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and it is a set of legal requirements for any business that processes, stores or accepts credit card payments, even if they use a third-party processor. PCI was designed with one goal in mind: to prevent credit card fraud and identity theft. To that end, there are 12 compliance requirements and all must be implemented for a merchant to be certified as compliant.

Who's Behind It?

The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) was launched on September 7, 2006 to manage the ongoing evolution of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards. The PCI DSS is administered and managed by the PCI SSC (www.pcisecuritystandards.org), an independent body that was created by the major payment card brands (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB).

What Are The Requirements To Comply?

Most of the 12 requirements are just common sense. For example, you never want to store your customers' credit card numbers in an unsecured media, like tape backups, and you want to use good, strong passwords for important web portals and system access.

Other parts of the compliance regulations are IT security measures you should have in place anyway, such as up-to-date firewalls, security patch management, encrypting cardholder data transmission, developing an in-house security policy and restricting access to your processing network. If IT security is not your core focus, then you probably want to bring in a team of pros (us!) to determine if you truly are meeting the compliance standards and to manage your network to ensure security stays updated.

How Do You Know If You're Compliant?

A full list of the requirements, along with a self-assessment, can be found on this web site: www.pcisecuritystandards.org. Even if the PCI security requirements weren't mandated by law, these are the kind of guidelines you would want to adopt anyway to ensure the security of your processing system and your customers' data

 
 
7 Ways to Increase Your Profits and Productivity Print E-mail
Friday, 05 October 2012 15:55

increaseprofitsThink about it: a 10% improvement in employee productivity across 20 employees seems small but is quite significant. Let's do the math: 20 employees X 8 hours per day X 10% = 16 hours/day X 5 days in a week = 80 hours a week, the equivalent to 2 additional employees without the expense! That is significant. Here are several easy ways to increase your profits and employee productivity.

#1: Setup a company-wide Wiki or knowledge base. A Wiki or knowledgebase makes it easy for your team to share knowledge, quickly, easily and intelligently. Whether it's a new client onboarding process, new product launch or simple steps to enter an order in your systems, process checklists or anything your employees do on a regular basis should be added/documented in your company's wiki or knowledge base.

#2: Upgrade any computers that are more than 3-4 years old. Since computers double in speed and power every 18-24 months, a three-year-old computer is slow compared to today's standards. Are budgets tight? Then replace the power users' PCs first. Remember, your time or time waiting costs money – it's the expensive part and pales in comparison to spending $800 or so on a faster PC.

#3: Increase Internet Speed and Setup Internet Fail-over. We hear from a lot of clients that the Internet speed is too slow. And yes, Internet bandwidth used to be quite expensive. It's a fair priced commodity now and the ISPs compete aggressively to win your business. Today, you can have 10/20/50Mbs of Internet speed for a few hundred dollars or less. This upgrade alone can increase your team's productivity immensely. With Internet speeds being so fast and cheap, consider installing a firewall that load balances or acts as fail-over to ensure your team stays connected.

#4: Exercise More. Really? Yes, really – your body is the most powerful asset you have and your health is critical – you only get one shot. Invest in exercise, eating healthy and getting at last 7 hours of sleep a night. This strategy works. People often get great ideas after spending an hour in the gym or just going for a brisk walk. The workout releases endorphins which help you solve challenges your mind is chewing on.

#5: Play with your spouse, kids, grandkids, brothers, sisters, or pet. You work to live not live to work and each day is a treasured gift. Make the most of it. Years from now, you will remember that 1st scary roller coaster ride with your daughter but the marketing project that got a day or so behind will not be remembered. There is no day like today. Live it up. Again, playing is good for your brain.

#6: Take vacations – more and frequently. Studies show that vacations and scenery changes recharge your mental health, make you happier and happier to be around. Whether it's a long weekend in the Georgia Mountains, a week cruise with family and friends or an International rendezvous, just do it. When you come back, you will see your business, team and clients in a different light and you will likely see opportunities that you didn't notice before.

#7: Give your team members 2 or 3 monitors each. In 2003, the University of Utah conducted a study that showed that employees are 20-30% more efficient with dual monitors compared to one. Calculate your savings at http://www.pronetsinc.com/multiplemonitors.

If you have questions or challenges in your business, talk to us. We help our clients identify time and productivity drains and ways to overcome them. We'd love to be a resource for you.

 
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