PCI Compliance

The Ultimate Guide to PCI DSS 4.0 Implementation

Understand the challenges and steps you need to take to implement PCI DSS 4.0.

Written by
Rachel Fine
Publication Date
November 21, 2023
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By the end of March 2024, PCI DSS v3.2.1 will be officially retired to make way for v4.0. 

Yet, despite this fast-approaching deadline, few organizations feel prepared to meet the hefty implementation requirements of this latest regulatory development.

According to a recent S&P Global 451 Research report, 93% of organizations view the changes required by PCI DSS 4.0 as significant, with 90% expressing concern over meeting the current implementation timeline. A further 64% stated a desire for a timeline extension

Any organization participating in the payments industry knows the crucial importance of PCI compliance. Adequately preparing for the 2024 PCI DSS 4.0 deadline requires the proper payment tools, solutions, and optimization capabilities to meet the latest regulatory requirements. 

Join us as we examine how Spreedly’s Advanced Vault can help you overcome the top implementation challenges of PCI DSS 4.0. 

When is the Deadline for PCI DSS 4.0? 

As we enter into the last months of 2023, the 2024 deadline for PCI DSS 4.0 looms ever closer.

After the publication of the new version of the PCI DSS regulation in March 2022, the PCI DSS 4.0 transition began. This transition period was set to last until March 31, 2024, when PCI DSS v3.2.1 will officially be retired from use, and v4.0 will be the only active standard.

The March 2024 deadline applies to the mandatory requirements of PCI DSS 4.0. As for the best practices outlined in the latest regulation, organizations have until March 2025 to validate these requirements. 

What are the Top Implementation Challenges of PCI DSS 4.0? 

The latest iteration of the PCI DSS focuses on the evolving security needs and digitization of the payments industry. To ensure safe and timely payments, the regulation emphasizes the importance of improved security controls, greater operational resilience, and heightened customer trust.  

If you’re interested in the specific requirements of PCI DSS 4.0, check out our blog PCI DSS v4.0: What’s Next for a comprehensive overview.

In terms of implementation, PCI DSS 4.0 presents many challenges, particularly regarding payment security requirements. Organizations need the right mix of modern payment technologies and expert payment support to maintain a resilient and compliant payment system. 

Let’s dive into the three major PCI DSS 4.0 implementation challenges to consider:

1. Technical Complexity & Resource Availability

The new security requirements of PCI DSS 4.0 are easily the top implementation challenge.

In PCI DSS 4.0, regulators replace older terminology like “firewalls” with the more modern term “network security controls,” representing a broader set of requirements that necessitate continuous monitoring and real-time access. These technologies must be expertly implemented and configured to offer robust protection to cardholder information. 

Additionally, PCI DSS 4.0 acknowledges that the payments industry has matured to require more advanced technologies to uphold security. In turn, organizations must either invest in these technologies themselves or find reliable payment service providers to help supply the necessary resources.

The technical security demands of PCI DSS 4.0 require significant investments in technology and talent. For smaller merchants especially, these investments can place a huge strain on current resources, making it all the more vital to find a reliable payments partner to support a PCI DSS compliance strategy. 

2. Scope of Implementation

To undertake the PCI DSS 4.0 implementation challenge, your organization must first understand the scope of compliance requirements. Organizations operating in multiple regions or stringent regulatory environments may face additional challenges that can render implementation even more complex. 

Depending on where your organization currently is in the implementation process, the first crucial step requires you to identify the effectiveness of your existing systems and processes. Determining where your payment system adheres to PCI DSS 4.0 and where it is lacking requires expert assessment.

Leveraging a broad range of payment services, platforms, and solutions complicates compliance further if you do not have a central platform or tech layer in place to unify and optimize your system. 

3. Ongoing Maintenance

The third major challenge of PCI DSS 4.0 is coordinating maintenance for your new technologies.

PCI DSS compliance is not a one-time event. Instead, it is an ongoing process that requires continuous system monitoring and regular updates. This monitoring and maintenance process is no small task and often requires an entire dedicated team to manage.  

To not only implement but uphold PCI DSS 4.0, your organization needs both the resources and personnel to commit to system maintenance.  

How Advanced Vaulting Enables a Smoother PCI DSS 4.0 Implementation

With a modern approach to protecting cardholder data positioned as a clear priority of PCI DSS 4.0, organizations need the best solutions for streamlining and optimizing security.

Launched in June 2023, Spreedly’s Advanced Vault solution provides many powerful capabilities for managing and optimizing a digital card vault. With Advanced Vaulting, your organization can automate the complex processes of managing a vault, as well as set custom rules and configurations that address your organization’s specific business requirements and security concerns. 

In addition to simplifying vault management, Spreedly’s Advanced Vault also automates:

  • Redactions for business or compliance reasons 
  • Lifecycle management and card enrollment services
  • Account updater services

The Advanced Vault is PCI Level 1 compliant, adhering to the highest level of technical compliance requirements outlined by PCI DSS 4.0. Having secured more than 1 billion payment credentials, Spreedly’s Advanced Vault helps organizations meet the requirements of PCI compliance while simultaneously reducing operational complexity and boosting cost efficiency. 

Additionally, the Advanced Vault is a managed service, allowing your organization to reduce the burden of the major challenges of PCI DSS 4.0 implementation and compliance. 

Simplify Your PCI DSS 4.0 Implementation with Spreedly’s Advanced Vault

PCI DSS 4.0 is all about modernizing payment processes to keep up with the security concerns and technologies of the digital era. Payment orchestration is an essential solution for overcoming the implementation challenges of v4.0 and meeting the 2024 deadline. 

At Spreedly, we provide merchant businesses with the resources and expertise needed to successfully meet PCI DSS 4.0 requirements. We offer our Advanced Vault solution in conjunction with our payment orchestration platform, ensuring your payment system benefits from end-to-end optimization. 

Talk with the Spreedly team today to discover how we can lighten your PCI implementation burden.

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