The report uncovers a stubborn, multi-year trend of minimal growth in data security awareness and overall indifference in small merchants' perceived risk of breach. For brick-and-mortar merchants the trend is even more disturbing, because their levels of awareness and concern fall well below those of the survey's ecommerce merchant respondents.
"Just under half of this year's respondents indicated they are unaware of the PCI DSS," said Joan Herbig, CEO of ControlScan. "That finding, combined with the fact that 79% of respondents think their business has little-to-no risk of breach, indicates a serious disconnect between Level 4 merchants and the ISOs and acquiring banks serving them."
More than 600 merchants responded to this year's survey, providing continuing insight into their perceptions and attitudes toward PCI compliance and data security best practices. Overall, most respondents familiar with the PCI DSS rank security as "medium" or "high" among their organization's overall priorities; however, only 50% have actually validated their PCI compliance.
Ecommerce merchant respondents are above the average at a 70% completion rate, while brick-and-mortar merchants are below the average at 45%. When all 603 survey respondents are included in the calculation, the overall PCI compliance rate for these Level 4 merchants drops to 30%.
"The four years' worth of data now in place show that Level 4 merchants have an urgent need for education and hands-on support to effectively protect their businesses from data thieves," said David McSweeney, Executive Vice President, Operations, Merchant Warehouse. "Small merchants require more personalized outreach and scalable solutions that make sense and are affordable for their business."
The survey research report discusses the concerns raised by the ongoing complacency of Level 4 merchants in general, as well as the security risks Level 4 brick-and-mortar merchants face if the awareness-and-action gap persists between them and their ecommerce counterparts. ISOs and acquirers will benefit from the report's insights and merchant commentary, as well as the practical action steps ControlScan and Merchant Warehouse recommend.
The complete report is available here (registration required).