The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) published version 4.0 of the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). PCI DSS is a global standard that provides a baseline of technical and operational requirements designed to protect account data.

To provide organizations time to understand the changes in the new version and implement any updates needed, the current version of PCI DSS, 3.2.1, will remain active for two years until it is retired on 31 March 2024. Once assessors have completed training in PCI DSS 4.0, organizations may assess to either PCI DSS 4.0 or PCI DSS 3.2.1. The standard also provides additional time for organizations to implement many of the new requirements.

Feedback from the global payments industry drove changes to the standard. Over the course of three years, more than 200 organizations provided over 6,000 items of feedback to ensure the standard continues to meet the complex, ever-changing landscape of payment security.

“The industry has had unprecedented visibility into, and impact on the development of PCI DSS 4.0,” says Lance Johnson, Executive Director of PCI SSC. “Our stakeholders provided substantial, insightful, and diverse input that helped the Council effectively advance the development of this version of the PCI Data Security Standard.”

Updates to the standard focus on meeting the evolving security needs of the payments industry, promoting security as a continuous process, increasing flexibility for organizations using different methods to achieve security objectives, and enhancing validation methods and procedures.

PCI DSS 4.0 changes

Examples of the changes include:

  • Updated firewall terminology to network security controls to support a broader range of technologies used to meet the security objectives traditionally met by firewalls.
  • Expansion of Requirement 8 to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all access into the cardholder data environment.
  • Increased flexibility for organizations to demonstrate how they are using different methods to achieve security objectives.
  • Addition of targeted risk analyses to allow entities the flexibility to define how frequently they perform certain activities, as best suited for their business needs and risk exposure.

“PCI DSS 4.0 is more responsive to the dynamic nature of payments and the threat environment,” says Emma Sutcliffe, SVP, Standards Officer of PCI SSC. “Version 4.0 continues to reinforce core security principles while providing more flexibility to better enable diverse technology implementations. These updates are supported by additional guidance to help organizations secure account data now and into the future.”