Security and PCI Compliance on Content Creator Websites

October 3, 2022
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When it comes to online security, SSL certification, and PCI DDS, the stakes are exceptionally high for online sellers and creators, and the path to compliance can be complicated. Thankfully, the e-commerce experts at SamCart are here to help. Here is a guide for internet security for content creators, explaining how you can maintain compliance as you grow your online sales.  

The Importance of SSL for Online Sellers

At the beginning of your website’s URL, you will notice either an “HTTP” or an “HTTPS.” That last letter “s” is vital for online sellers, as it indicates your site is secure.   SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is an online security protocol that encrypts user data as it travels between your server and a customer’s web browser. This kind of Transport Layer Security (TLS) keeps sensitive customer information protected. Without SSL, hackers could intercept data (like a customer’s credit card information shared during checkout) and view it as plaintext.

What Happens If Your Online Store Does Not Have an SSL Certificate?

SSL certificates are required to run an online store, and website owners must renew them every two years. So what happens when online sellers fail to maintain their SSL certificate?

  • Search Rankings: Browsers and search engines tend to penalize websites in organic search without SSL certificates by pushing them lower in online rankings—meaning that your website will reach fewer potential customers. You can learn more about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in courses within SamCart’s CreatorU.
  • Security Warnings: Your website will be marked as not secure, and browsers like Google Chrome will inundate potential customers with warnings against visiting your site.
  • Hacking Threats: If your customers are hacked, you could lose the trust of your community—and you could find yourself financially responsible.

Thankfully, the solution here is simple. When you partner with a secure e-commerce website (like SamCart), the platform maintains SSL certificates for each of your supported sales pages.   By maintaining SSL certificates, these e-commerce platforms help your sales page stay PCI compliant, which is essential for online sales.  

PCI DSS Compliance and E-Commerce

Most online businesses strive to accept every popular online payment option—opening the door to a broad audience of customers. However, when you accept, store, or process a customer’s payment information, your business becomes responsible for keeping that sensitive data safe. Therefore, online sellers are obligated to protect customers with PCI DSS website compliance.   PCI (Payment Card Industry) DSS are global data security standards for all e-commerce websites accepting online payments. These standards regulate a website’s online safety to ensure they keep customer payment data secure. PCI standards are continuously updated to safeguard against the latest data security threats, and your e-commerce site must adapt to new PCI DSS changes as they are released.  

What Happens If Your E-Commerce Site is Not PCI Compliant?

Non-compliance to PCI DSS standards can financially ruin online sellers—especially small businesses. Payment processors will begin hitting your bank with massive fines (up to 6 figures per month of non-compliance), which the bank will pass to your business.   You can also face bank account closures and higher transaction fees from payment processors. Even modest non-compliance fees (starting at $5,000 per month) can quickly bankrupt a small business.   Keeping up with online compliance standards can be stressful for businesses of every size. So it is easy to understand why most online sellers partner with an e-commerce platform that offers built-in PCI DSS compliance like SamCart.  

SamCart: Sell From Your Own Website

Are SamCart Sites Secure?

SamCart helps online creators sell digital products, physical products, downloads, online courses, subscriptions, and more from their own websites. We provide a custom sales page for each of your products and services—which you can build and customize in minutes using our library of templates.   Best of all, each SamCart sales page is entirely compliant and secure. SamCart sales pages have built-in security features, including SSL, SCA, GDPR, and PCI DSS compliance.   Are you ready to launch your online business? You can try SamCart for free or view our demo to get started today!