Why PCI DSS v4.0 Demands a New Mindset from Merchants


10 Feb 2023

What does PCI DSS v4.0 have to do with a gym membership? As the new payment security standard’s deadline speeds towards us, US merchants are getting themselves in shape. But some fitness plans are far easier than others.

March 31, 2024, is a key date for many senior professionals working in compliance, IT, security, and systems architecture. The security standard PCI DSS v3.2.1 will be phased out in favor of PCI DSS v4.0, which aims to keep pace with changes in the security landscape. The full features of PCI DSS 4.0 need to be implemented by March 31, 2025. In all, there are 64 total new requirements.

For many merchants and consumers, tougher security can’t come soon enough. In the United States, the average total cost of a data breach is an eye-watering $9.44 million, more than twice the global figure ($4.35 million), according to IBM. And then there’s the long-lasting brand damage to consider.

PCI DSS v4.0 aims to add flexibility for different methodologies and enhance validation methods. Significantly, it also sets out to promote security as a continuous process. And this demands a shift in mindset.

Exercising…once a year
Until now, there’s been a temptation to see PCI DSS compliance as an annual tick-box exercise. Companies examine their systems, test procedures, and complete documentation to fit the framework once a year. Job done, so it seems.

In some ways, this is like having a health check and signing up for a gym membership in January, but then failing to flex and strengthen your capabilities throughout the rest of the year.

In the same way that gym membership alone doesn’t make you fit, neither does PCI DSS compliance. Weakness and vulnerabilities will creep in unless security becomes a business-as-usual activity.

Crucially, this is where PCI DSS v4.0 raises the bar — by getting more organizations to view security as a continuous process. It’s a shift in mindset and company culture.

But how does this work in practice?

Enterprise-wide initiatives
There are two typical approaches to getting fit for PCI DSS 4.0 and staying in shape.

The first requires a major corporate program that pulls together a working group from across the business and sets out timely objectives. But this doesn’t wind down once March 2025 is over. Instead, risk assessment, training and communications around data security protocols will be non-stop.

Some people’s jobs could change significantly, taking them from their core roles. And even then, organizations cannot be certain they’ll avoid data breaches caused by rogue agents, system hacks or security blunders.

Fortunately, the alternative route to PCI DSS fitness requires far less pain.

Making security business-as-usual
IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach 2022 Report uncovered many important facts. One of these was that for 83% of companies, it’s not if a data breach will happen, but when. And that’s key.

The alternative path to PCI DSS 4.0 fitness is dramatically different. It involves teaming up with a payment partner who can handle transactions on your behalf — and completely remove cardholder details from the contact center environment. In other words, card numbers are never seen, heard, or recorded when payments are made via web, voice, IVR or chat channels.

Crucially, this means there’s no data to steal, even if there was a breach. In effect, risks are removed and this descopes your organization from a huge amount of heavy lifting with PCI DSS v4.0.

Going above and beyond
This is the approach offered by Eckoh. Data security can become business-as-usual for you and your team because that’s our continual focus.

We design our engagement solutions with a security-first approach, above and beyond PCI standards. So, when we see PCI DSS 4.0 raising the bar with security, we know our clients are covered already with data security. That’s why leading organizations around the world trust us to protect their customers’ data, now and in the future.

Over the coming months, thousands of US enterprises will be readying themselves for PCI DSS 4.0. With Eckoh, you can get in shape — and stay in shape — quickly and confidently.

Put simply, you won’t feel as if your team is stuck on an endless compliance hamster wheel.

Discover more

Download your copy of The definitive guide to PCI DSS v4.0. You can also contact us to discuss how best to navigate the arrival of PCI DSS v4.0.

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