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May 31, 2024 | By christa

Understanding the Impact of Recent PCI-DSS Updates on Your Business

Initially launched in 2004 by Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, and JCB, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) protects cardholder information during payment transactions.

Any entity that stores, processes, or transmits payment account data is bound by PCI-DSS standards. However, many entities remain non-compliant without knowing it.

What is PCI-DSS?

PCI-DSS is a globally recognized set of security standards developed by the Payment Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). The primary objective of PCI-DSS is to ensure that all organizations that process, store, or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. This includes businesses of all sizes, from small retailers to large corporations, as well as service providers that handle cardholder data on behalf of merchants.

Why is PCI-DSS Compliance Important?

Compliance with PCI-DSS is essential for several reasons:

  • Protects Cardholder Data: Ensuring the security of cardholder information reduces the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access.
  • Builds Customer Trust: Demonstrating compliance with PCI-DSS helps build trust with your customers, assuring them that their payment information is handled securely.
  • Avoids Penalties and Fines: Non-compliance can result in hefty fines, penalties, and legal repercussions, impacting your business financially and reputationally.

Understanding the Latest Version

In March 2022, the PCI SSC released PCI-DSS version 4.0, introducing several updates and changes to address the evolving threats and technologies in the payment card industry. Version 4.0 was created to provide a more robust and adaptable framework for securing cardholder data, enhancing payment flexibility, and improving business procedures to meet evolving security needs.

The most notable changes are related to:

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA): PCI-DSS now mandates Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for all individuals accessing cardholder data or systems within the Cardholder Data Environment (CDE).
  • Password management: Version 4.0 changes the minimum password length to 7-13 characters and offers guidance for password hashes, encryption, and more.
  • Vulnerability management: This version requires internal vulnerability scans, among other related requirements.
  • Testing procedures: PCI-DSS 4.0 enhances consistency in testing procedures by introducing defined testing methods, eliminating sampling guidance to avoid inconsistent sample sizes, and improving testing procedures for comprehensive coverage.

Transitioning to PCI-DSS Version 4.0

Business owners had until March 31, 2024, to fully implement PCI-DSS 4.0, replacing the previous version 3.2.1. If you haven’t already, here are the steps to help you transition smoothly:

  1. Assess Current Compliance: Review your current PCI-DSS compliance status to identify any gaps or areas for improvement.
  2. Understand New Requirements: Familiarize yourself with the updated requirements of version 4.0 to understand how they impact your business.
  3. Develop a Compliance Plan: Create a plan outlining the steps and timelines for implementing the new requirements.
  4. Implement Required Changes: Make necessary updates to your security measures and procedures to meet the new standards.
  5. Monitor and Maintain Compliance: Regularly review and assess your compliance status to ensure ongoing adherence to PCI-DSS version 4.0.

For expert guidance on navigating the latest PCI-DSS 4.0 updates and ensuring compliance for your business, contact leading IT support provider LeadingIT today. Let our team of professionals help you safeguard your data and protect your business.


LeadingIT is a cyber-resilient technology and cybersecurity support provider. With our concierge support model, we provide customized solutions to meet the unique needs of nonprofits, schools, manufacturers, accounting firms, government agencies, and law offices with 20-200 employees in the Chicagoland area. Our team of experts solves the unsolvable while helping our clients leverage technology to achieve their business goals, ensuring the highest level of security and reliability.

Do you need cybersecurity support to protect your business? Leave a message for us and we will get back to you right away.



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