• Building an Effective Information Security Program Without a Top-Down Approach: Strategies for Small and Medium-sized Organizations


    Information security is a critical part of any organization’s IT infrastructure. It helps to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of an organization’s data, which in turn helps to protect its reputation and brand. Despite this, many small and medium-sized organizations still need an effective information security program. This can lead to significant financial losses and reputational damage if hackers or other cybercriminals breach them. There are several steps that you can take to develop an effective information security program without requiring top-down buy-in from senior management:

    Raise awareness: Educate employees about the importance of information security and the risks associated with needing an effective program in place.

    As you may know, employees are your organization’s first line of defense regarding information security. They are often the ones who can spot a problem before it becomes an issue or identify areas where improvement is needed. For them to be effective at this role, however, they must first understand what constitutes effective security measures and why those measures are necessary in the first place.

    For this type of education to be effective and valuable, it needs to be delivered in multiple ways over time (rather than just once or twice). For example:

    • Use posters throughout your office space that explain what information security means and why it’s important for everyone on staff members’ job sites every day;
    • Post articles about best practices online so people can access them whenever they want;
    • Send out regular emails highlighting new threats or vulnerabilities that may affect businesses like yours;

    Engage senior management: Even without a top-down approach, it is still important to engage senior management in discussions about information security. This can help to gain their support and buy-in for the program and may lead to allocating additional resources to support its implementation.

    Even without a top-down approach, it is still important to engage senior management in discussions about information security. This can help to gain their support and buy-in for the program, which may lead to allocating additional resources to support its implementation.

    As you approach senior management with your plan for building an effective information security program, be sure that you have answers ready for any questions they might ask:

    • Why do we need an information security program?
    • What does this mean for our business?
    • How much will it cost us?

    Use frameworks: Use established information security frameworks, such as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework or ISO/IEC 27001, to guide the development and implementation of the information security program. These frameworks provide a structured approach to information security and can help address all relevant areas.

    Use established information security frameworks, such as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework or ISO/IEC 27001, to guide the development and implementation of the information security program. These frameworks provide a structured approach to information security and can help address all relevant areas.

    Use templates such as those provided by ISACA’s Information Security Management System (ISMS) Guidebook or ISO 27005:2012 Information technology Security techniques. Templates provide a detailed set of requirements that can be customized based on your organization’s needs, for example, an audit checklist for each type of audit performed within your organization.

    Monitor and measure: Monitor and measure the effectiveness of the information security program over time.

    Monitor and measure the effectiveness of the information security program over time. Use these metrics to identify areas that need improvement and then make improvements based on those findings.

    Monitoring can be done through automated tools or manual processes, but it’s important to have some measurement to determine whether your efforts are paying off.


    In conclusion, there is a place for top-down and bottom-up approaches to information security programs. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages but can be used together to create an effective program. The key is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each approach so that you can choose the best one for your organization’s needs.

  • Strengthening Cybersecurity in Local Government: CISA’s Free Services

    The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) offers a range of cybersecurity services designed to help local governments protect their systems and data from cyber threats. CISA is a federal agency created in 2018 to provide cybersecurity and infrastructure security services to organizations across the United States. Their services are free of charge and available to local governments at all levels, including cities, counties, and municipalities.

    One of the primary services offered by CISA is the Cyber Hygiene Program. This program is designed to help local governments assess the security of their systems and identify vulnerabilities that cybercriminals could exploit. The program includes a range of tools and resources that can be used to assess and improve the security posture of local government networks, including vulnerability scanning, risk assessments, and cybersecurity best practices.

    In addition to the Cyber Hygiene Program, CISA offers a range of other cybersecurity services, including incident response planning, threat intelligence sharing, and security training for employees. They also guide and support local governments in developing cybersecurity policies and procedures.

    One of the key benefits of CISA’s services is that they are tailored to the needs of local governments. They understand local governments’ unique cybersecurity challenges and work closely with their clients to develop customized solutions that meet their specific needs. By working with CISA, local governments can take a proactive approach to cybersecurity and ensure that their systems and data are well-protected against cyber threats.

    In conclusion, CISA’s cybersecurity services offer a valuable resource for local governments looking to improve their cybersecurity posture. Their free services are tailored to the needs of local governments and include a range of tools and resources designed to help organizations assess and improve their security posture. By taking advantage of CISA’s services, local governments can ensure that their systems and data are well-protected against cyber threats and minimize the risk of a cyber attack.

  • Cyber Attacks on Local Governments: Why They’re Becoming More Common and What We Can Do About It

    In recent years, cyber attacks on local governments have become increasingly common. These attacks pose a significant threat to the security and stability of our communities, making it essential to understand why they’re happening and what we can do to prevent them.

    Local governments are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks because they often have less robust cybersecurity measures than larger organizations. This can make it easier for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities and gain unauthorized access to sensitive data.

    Another reason is that local governments often store a vast amount of sensitive information, including personal data, financial records, and intellectual property. This data can be attractive to cybercriminals looking to steal it for financial gain or other malicious purposes.

    Moreover, local governments must provide essential services to their communities, such as healthcare, public safety, and emergency management. This makes them more susceptible to cyber-attack disruption, which can put lives at risk.

    The rise of ransomware attacks has also made local governments a prime target for cybercriminals. These attacks can cause significant disruptions to services and demand large sums of money to restore access to critical data and systems.
    So, what can we do to protect our local governments from these threats? First and foremost, it’s essential to implement more robust cybersecurity measures, such as using strong passwords, encryption, and multi-factor authentication. Raising awareness among employees and citizens about the risks of cyber attacks and how to prevent them is also critical.

    Developing comprehensive incident response plans is another vital step in protecting local governments from cyber attacks. These plans should include protocols for responding to cyber attacks, identifying and isolating affected systems, and restoring data and services as quickly as possible.

    In conclusion, cyber attacks on local governments are becoming more common, posing a significant threat to our communities security and stability. However, we can protect our local governments from cyber threats by understanding the risks and taking proactive steps to mitigate them. Let’s work together to ensure that our communities remain safe and secure in the face of cyber attacks.

  • Incident Response Plan – IRP


    An incident response plan (IRP) is your team’s playbook for how to respond to security incidents. It should be a living document that’s constantly updated and tested, and it should include both instructions on how to detect an incident, as well as what happens after one occurs.

    What is an Incident Response Plan (IRP)?

    An incident response plan (IRP) is a well-defined and reliable plan that helps to recover from an incident. It’s important to develop one before an incident occurs, as you might be in a panic and not make sound decisions if you don’t have a written plan.

    An IRP should be:

    • Written down – so it can be referred to later on when needed
    • Detailed – with specific steps on how to deal with different incidents/risks

    Incident Response Plan (IRP) Components

    • IRP Components
    • Applications and Utilities: If you don’t have one, or if it’s not up-to-date, then your organization is at risk.
    • Equipment: Your equipment can fail at any time. It is important to ensure that you are prepared for this eventuality by having a maintenance plan in place.
    • Contacts (people and agencies): This information is key to maintaining your IRP as it allows for fast communication during emergencies. It also lets others know what type of assistance you need from them during an incident response event — whether it’s technical support or legal advice for example.
    • Policies: Having the correct policies in place will ensure that everyone working within your organization knows what to do when an emergency occurs — from handling social media messages from customers through to reporting incidents internally within the company itself.”

    Incident Response Plan – Equipment

    • Computer (desktop or laptop)
    • Printer
    • Phone (cellular and landline)

    Incident Response Plan – Contacts (people and agencies)

    The Incident Response Plan should include a list of contacts, both people and agencies, that can help with the incident. The contact list should be in a central place in the plan so it is easy to find when needed. It should include names, phone numbers, and email addresses as well as other contact details such as the name of company or department they work for.

    Incident Response Plan – Policies

    • The IRP should be reviewed regularly.
    • The IRP should be tested regularly.
    • The IRP should be updated regularly.
    • The IRP should be well documented.
    • The IRP should be well communicated to all stakeholders

    Incident Response Plan – Procedures

    Procedures should be well-defined and easy to follow. There is no need for ambiguity since the most important aspect of incident response is clarity.

    Procedures should also be easy to understand and implement. The less time it takes for someone to understand how a procedure works, the better; this will reduce the chances that they will forget something important or make mistakes during implementation.

    Any procedure that requires training should be documented in an easy-to-understand way so that trainees can quickly learn their new responsibilities and duties as part of incident response team members (including those who may end up conducting any training). Additionally, any changes made after first publication must also be published in such a way as not only makes them accessible to others but also preserves original context as much as possible without jeopardizing accuracy or completeness.”

    Implementation of IRP

    The implementation of your IRP is an ongoing process. You may need to review, revise, and update your plan at any point as necessary.

    Implementation of the IRP occurs when you put it into action, so this is an important part of the process. The purpose of implementing an IRP is to protect yourself and others from harm caused by a hazard or risk that was identified in your analysis; however, there will be times when it’s necessary to implement some aspects earlier than others due to immediate threats or vulnerabilities. For example, if your building has been evacuated due to a fire alarm going off after someone accidentally set off sprinklers in another part of the building with fireworks (one scenario could be), then evacuating would obviously be priority number one because lives are at stake—this would most likely happen before anything else in terms of implementing response procedures during this emergency situation!

    An incident response plan is a well-defined and reliable plan that helps to recover from an incident. It’s important to develop one before an incident occurs, as you might be in a panic and not make sound decisions.

    An incident response plan is a well-defined and reliable plan that helps to recover from an incident. It’s important to develop one before an incident occurs, as you might be in a panic and not make sound decisions.

    The first step of creating an IRP is determining which threats are most likely to affect your organization and how they can impact your business operations. Then, determine what type of response would be necessary if any of these threats were realized. For example, if ransomware infected your network, you’d need to restore access to the systems that were affected by the attack so that the business could continue operating normally. This would require having backups available so that data could be recovered quickly after being encrypted by ransomware (or whatever other threat affects your business).


    An incident response plan helps organizations to recover from security incidents. This guide will help you understand what an IRP is and how to develop your own. It also covers the various components of an IRP, such as procedures and contacts (people or agencies). You can use this guide if your organization already has an IRP or if it doesn’t have one yet but wants one soon.

  • Information Security Governance – Constraints


    There are many different security policy constraints to consider when defining and implementing information security policies. The most important ones are legal requirements and regulatory requirements, physical constraints, and organizational structure. In this article, we will summarize these constraints and discuss their impact on developing an effective information security governance framework.

    Legal and regulatory requirements are constraints that must be taken into account when defining information security policies.

    You must take into account legal requirements and regulatory requirements when defining information security policies.

    The Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002 is a United States federal law that mandates certain practices in financial record keeping and reporting for corporations. The Act requires that, among other things, the corporation’s internal controls over financial reporting must be assessed by an independent public accounting firm. The law was passed in response to a series of major corporate and accounting scandals, such as Enron and WorldCom.

    Physical constraints represent the facilities where information systems are located, such as the power supply, physical security, connectivity, network features, etc.

    It is important to understand that these physical constraints can limit the effectiveness of information security policies. For example, if an organization decides to implement a policy that requires its employees to use encrypted communication channels for all sensitive data transmissions, but its offices are located in a country with strong regulations prohibiting encryption technology, then the organization will be limited in its ability to enforce this policy.

    Similarly, if an organization decides to store sensitive personal data on servers located in one location while maintaining their other servers and databases at another location without sufficient protection against unauthorized access from both locations (e.g., through firewalls), then this could result in increased exposure of sensitive personal data as well as weaken overall network security due to lack of proper segmentation between different segments (i.e., between enterprise systems and public networks).

    Other constraints may relate to company image, organizational structure, or costs in general.

    Other constraints may relate to company image, organizational structure, or costs in general.

    • Company image – Security programs and policies should be integrated into the overall corporate strategy and business plan. This means that information security must support the overall direction of the organization and its goals, including profitability, market share, reputation, etc.
    • Organizational structure – The governance structure for information security should reflect your organization’s management approach and processes. For example: is there one department responsible for this? Are there multiple departments working together? Are some areas more heavily regulated than others? Is there a compliance requirement related to data retention/destruction?

    The risk tolerance determines the company’s risk acceptance, which expresses the maximum level of risk the organization is willing to accept.

    Risk tolerance measures how much risk an organization is willing to accept. It’s a function of the company’s risk acceptance and can be determined by the board of directors or other governing bodies.

    There are many different security policy constraints to consider.

    There are many different security policy constraints to consider when developing an effective governance strategy. For example, legal and regulatory requirements often need to be considered when creating a security policy. Physical constraints may also apply, such as the physical location of your data or servers. Your company’s image is another consideration that needs to be taken into account when developing a security policy because having a bad reputation could lead customers and investors away from your company. Organizational structure can also play an important role in determining how you implement certain policies at your organization and what kind of support staff you have access to (e.g., IT or HR). Costs are another constraint because if it costs too much money, then there will be less room for mistakes during implementation, which would ultimately hurt overall efficiency while reducing employee morale due to limited resources available for training sessions, etcetera.”

    In addition to these types of constraints, some other factors that impact organizations include risk acceptance levels within leadership positions and management style preferences among key decision makers involved with making decisions related specifically towards information security governance outside of technical considerations alone.”


    In this article, we’ve covered the most important security policy constraints. As you can see, there are many factors to consider when creating an information security policy, which is why it’s so important for companies to have an experienced expert on board who understands all the different aspects.

  • Information Security Policy Framework


    The information security policies framework is an organization’s primary tool for managing its information security programs. Policies set out an organization’s requirements for protecting data and assets and regulating actions taken by employees and third parties. There are four types of documents that make up an information security program:


    Policies are statements of principles, and they’re intended to guide decision-making. Policies are high-level and broad in scope; they don’t provide specific details or implementation information. Policies are the foundation for all other documents in the framework, such as standards and guidelines.

    Some example policies your organization might have include security, privacy, and acceptable use.


    Standards are best practices that can be applied to an information security program. They are used to define how a business will implement and measure the effectiveness of its information security programs.

    Standards are important because they set expectations for what should occur within a company, which helps ensure that the proper steps have been taken to protect your business from threats such as malware, viruses, and hackers. If you aren’t using standards, you might not have enough safeguards to prevent these types of attacks from occurring or being successful if they do happen, so having benchmarks is key.

    The benefits of using standards include consistency across departments (e.g., compliance); accountability (i.e., who did what); transparency into what is happening within each department; easier communication between various stakeholders like IT staff members vs. non-technical folks who need access; cost savings due to reduced risk exposure; opportunity cost savings due to fewer incidents requiring remediation which means less time spent on incident management activities instead focusing more effort back onto developing new products/services instead, etc.


    Detailed, step-by-step processes and organization must follow in specific circumstances, and the processes must be documented. In the event of an emergency, staff members can quickly reference these procedures to determine what needs to happen next.

    The procedures should be clearly outlined and easy to understand. They must also be written in plain language, not full of industry jargon and complicated terminology that only a select few can comprehend.


    • Guidelines are a set of recommended practices for security practice.
    • Guidelines are not mandatory, but they provide recommendations for good security practices.
    • The guidelines in this section can be used in conjunction with policies, standards, or procedures to guide your organization’s efforts at information security management.

    This framework will help you understand the various kinds of documents that make up an information security program.

    This framework will help you understand the various kinds of documents that make up an information security program. These documents are known as the Information Security Policy Framework, and they include the following:

    • Policies – High-level statements describing the overall direction of your information security program
    • Standards – Detailed statements that provide guidance on specific aspects of your program’s operation (e.g., which operating systems to use)
    • Procedures – Specific instructions for performing tasks associated with managing information assets (e.g., how to access a file server)
    • Guidelines – Recommendations for handling situations not covered by existing policies or standards


    I hope this framework has helped you understand the different kinds of documents that make up an information security program.

  • Information Security Policy


    This is a detailed information security policy for your organization.


    The goal of this policy is to protect the organization’s information assets by establishing a framework for protecting information, including physical and logical controls.

    This policy will help you:

    • Distinguish between personal and corporate information and how it is used.
    • Understand what types of rules in your workplace apply to information privacy.
    • Establish guidelines for employees on using company equipment and software resources when accessing personal content on company devices (e.g., laptops).


    The scope of this policy is to ensure the protection of information and information systems. The policy applies to all employees, contractors/vendors, and third parties (such as vendors) who provide services to the company or access its information or networks.

    Roles and Responsibilities

    The following roles and responsibilities are necessary for the implementation of this policy:

    • Information Security Officer – Responsible for ensuring that all security requirements are met, including those outlined in this policy.
    • Data Owner/Data Steward(s) – Responsible for ensuring that data is managed and protected according to the organization’s policies.
    • Developers – Responsible for creating software applications designed to protect data from unauthorized access or use and any other security controls implemented within an application (e.g., encryption).
    • System Administrators – Responsible for configuring systems, networks, and servers so that they comply with organizational policies and standards; monitoring system logs; performing routine maintenance on hardware components; etc. This includes implementing all required security controls within their respective environments (such as anti-virus software scanning files downloaded from external sites).

    Key Terms

    You must be familiar with the following key terms:

    • Information security policy: A written statement of an organization’s plans to protect information from unauthorized access, use, modification, destruction, or disclosure. It should also include procedures for handling security incidents and a commitment to comply with applicable laws and regulations.
    • Information security management: The process of protecting an organization’s assets from loss caused by unauthorized access or use through developing and maintaining policies, plans, and procedures that are consistent with its risk management strategy. This includes developing administrative safeguards (e.g., physical security controls), implementing technical safeguards (e.g., firewalls), training employees to follow established policies/procedures, and overseeing third-party service providers who may have access to your network or data center facilities.
    • Information security officer (ISO): A person within an organization responsible for implementing information security programs based on organizational needs – rather than having one individual responsible for all aspects of this program across all departments in their company such as ISSOs do not typically exist today because it does not scale well enough to meet business needs unless there is only one department within each company that deals directly with customers’ data.”

    Communication and Monitoring

    Communication and monitoring are two vital components of your information security policy. Communication is crucial because it helps inform employees of their responsibilities, while monitoring enables you to ensure they follow the rules.

    The first step in communicating your information security policy should be distributing a document that outlines who should read it and how often they need to review it. It’s also important to let employees know who will be enforcing compliance with your policies, so they can contact them directly if there is confusion about any aspect of the document or its implementation.

    Monitoring compliance with an information security policy is essential for maintaining data privacy and security within your organization since this allows you to identify weaknesses in internal processes before any serious problems occur. There are many different ways that you can monitor compliance with an information security policy; one simple method involves creating reports based on log data from network firewalls or intrusion detection systems (IDSs).

    This is a detailed information security policy for your organization.

    Information security policies are an excellent way to ensure that your organization’s data is protected against threats. They can help you avoid a data breach, a common problem for many businesses and organizations.


    I hope this information has been helpful to you. I am always available for questions and comments, so feel free to reach out!

  • Corporate Governance


    Corporate governance is the system of organizational structures, processes, and relations by which corporations are directed and controlled. Corporate governance includes mechanisms for accountability and tools for ensuring that those who are supposed to be accountable are acting in the corporation’s best interests.

    Strategic direction

    A company’s strategic direction is the overall direction it takes to achieve its mission and vision. The board of directors sets the strategic direction, which can also be defined as the company’s mission, vision, and values.

    The board determines what business the organization will operate in, how it will compete in those markets, and what kind of products or services they provide. The board uses this information to guide the organization’s actions.

    Develop a plan

    The first step in developing a corporate governance plan is to create a strategic plan. A strategic plan is the most important document in the company; it outlines the direction of your business and defines how it will grow and develop over time.

    The next step is to draft a mission statement explaining what your company does, why it exists, and who its customers are. After that comes the vision statement: this is an aspirational expression of what you want your business to become in five years or more. You can also use this as an opportunity to set out any specific growth or expansion goals during that period (e.g., doubling sales).

    Implement strategy

    A strategic plan is a document that describes the organization’s objectives, goals, and activities. It provides direction for organizations to achieve their long-term goals.

    Strategic planning involves:

    • An assessment of the current situation
    • Development of strategies for improvement
    • The formulation of plans for implementing those strategies

    Execute the strategic plan

    The Board of Directors and senior management should ensure that the company’s strategic plan is implemented. The execution of a strategic plan should be a continuous process, and changes in the environment should be considered when developing new strategies or reviewing existing ones.

    Common corporate governance model

    The most common corporate governance models are:

    • Shareholder model. The board of directors is elected by shareholders and represents the interests of shareholders only.
    • Managerial model. The board of directors is composed entirely of managers acting in the interests of all stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, and customers.
    • Board of trustees model. The board consists of three different types: individuals who represent the interests of a given stakeholder group (such as employees), individuals who represent the interests of more than one stakeholder group (such as an employee-employer representative), and independent directors who do not have ties to any stakeholder groups but rather serve on their initiative as overseers for all stakeholders’ concerns.
    • Board of governors model (also known as a “tripartite” or “triangular” corporation). This type combines elements from both previous models, with two classes representing specific stakeholder groups (shareholders and employees) and independent directors working in their best interests.


    A company’s relationship with its shareholders is an important factor in its success. Shareholders are the owners of the company and may be individuals or investment institutions. They invest in a business by buying shares, which give them legal title to part of that business’s assets and earnings.

    The board of directors is elected by shareholders, who then exercise control over corporate policies by voting on management issues at annual and other meetings (also known as shareholder meetings).

    Board of directors

    The board of directors is made up of those appointed by the shareholders, who usually have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the company and its investors. The board sets strategic direction, approves major investments, oversees executive compensation, and appoints a CEO. A strong board will ensure that management stays focused on delivering value for shareholders.

    The ideal candidate for boards should be an independent director with experience in finance, accounting, or auditing; investing or private equity; law; governance; risk management; operations management; technology management; or other relevant fields. In addition to financial expertise, diversity (gender balance) is also increasingly important.

    Chief executive officer

    The chief executive officer (CEO) is the highest-level executive in a company. The CEO is responsible for implementing the strategic plan and ensuring it is adhered to. In addition, the CEO is responsible for the business’s day-to-day operations, including human resources management and compliance with laws and regulations. Finally, CEOs are charged with monitoring performance in line with their own goals as well as those set by their boards of directors or shareholders; if there are any problems or issues with meeting these targets—such as low productivity rates or high employee turnover rate—it’s up to them to address them immediately so that they can be rectified before they become larger issues down the road.

    Management team

    The management team is a group of individuals responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization, as well as its strategic direction. It is also responsible for implementing and executing the strategic plan.

    The management team typically consists of a CEO, CFO, COO, Directors/VPs, and other senior leaders within the company.

    Function of the organization

    The formal definition of a corporation is an organization that is created by the laws of its state and operated to provide a return on investment to its shareholders. That’s a great start, but it doesn’t tell us what makes up the structure of this type of organization.

    A corporation is not just an office building with people inside doing work. Instead, it’s more like an airplane: it has wings (the strategy), engines (the resources), and controls (the processes). The goal is for all three pieces—strategy, resources, and processes—to work together seamlessly so that you get from point A to point B without crashing or running out of fuel along the way!

    Delegate authority, responsibility and accountability for policy implementation.

    Delegating authority and responsibility is a key element of sound governance. A strong board will delegate authority to the right people within the organization, establish clear lines of communication, manage expectations, and set goals and objectives. The board should ensure that those responsible for policy implementation have the necessary resources to achieve these goals.

    Corporate governance is an important part of any business.

    Corporate governance is the process by which an organization is directed and controlled. Corporate governance encompasses the conduct of business and relationships with stakeholders. It is concerned with the following:

    • The board of directors
    • Corporate culture
    • CEO compensation


    Corporate governance is an important part of any business. It allows companies to maintain financial stability, increase shareholder value, and ensure that employees are treated fairly.

  • PCI DSS 4.0 compliance required by March 2025


    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) 4.0 has been released, but many organizations are still trying to figure out what it means for them. The PCI 4.0 changes have implications for merchants, service providers, their customers, and other parties that process payment card transactions. Organizations should start preparing to comply with this new standard by March 2025 or sooner.


    PCI DSS 4.0 compliance is a big deal. It’s not just another new version of the standard to learn but an update that presents you with new challenges and requirements that must be satisfied if your organization wants to keep its cards in customers’ wallets and still be able to take payments online.

    What does PCI DSS 4.0 mean for your organization?

    In short, it means more than ever before that you need a comprehensive understanding of what PCI DSS is, how it works and why it exists—and then put those concepts into practice by developing or improving your own processes for handling payment card data, so they’re compliant with the latest standards.

    PCI DSS 4.0 changes and implications

    • PCI DSS 4.0 is a major change from the previous version of the standard, 3.2.1, released in 2018.
    • You can expect to see these changes reflected in a contract you sign with your credit card processor or other service providers that handle cardholder data by March 2025. This means that even if you’re not currently processing payments through one of these service providers, you should familiarize yourself now with what’s going on so that when it does become necessary for you to do so later down the road—and it will—you have time to prepare your organization for compliance with PCI 4 requirements before they become mandatory contracts.

    What should your organization do to prepare for PCI 4.0 compliance

    To get the most out of your investment in PCI DSS 4.0 compliance, it’s important to take a few steps.

    • Get a clear understanding of PCI 4.0

    To prepare for PCI 4.0 compliance, you need to understand the details and requirements of the new standard. Look at what your organization needs to do differently within the scope of each requirement and consider how this will affect your security program as a whole. You’ll also want to look at how these changes will impact other parts of your business—particularly those related but outside the scope of payment card security (e.g., directory services).

    • Identify your risk profile

    Understanding where you stand in terms of risk concerning meeting each requirement will help you prioritize where resources should be allocated for your organization’s efforts toward PCI 4.0 compliance efforts not only meet but exceed expectations from regulators or third-party assessors such as Qualys Secure Cloud Platform (SCAP).

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) 4.0 has been released; it’s a good idea to start preparing for it now if you still need to. The new standard will impact your organization, regardless of whether you must comply with it.

    PCI DSS 4.0 compliance requirements will be enforced starting March 2025, but it’s best to prepare for the transition now. The new standard is a contractual requirement for all organizations that store, process, or transmit cardholder data and will impact your organization regardless of whether you are required to comply with it or not.

    There are several key changes in PCI DSS 4.0:

    • It requires additional data protection controls around networking and remote access
    • It introduces a new methodology called Threat Modeling Prevention (TMP)
    • It focuses on preventing cyberattacks by identifying the most critical areas of the business (such as payment processing) and applying security controls at each step along this path


    We hope this blog post has helped you understand the implications of PCI 4.0 and the changes it brings to your organization. While compliance is not mandatory until March 2025, it’s a good idea to start preparing now if you haven’t already done so.

  • GRC Leadership

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