Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA): Bolstering Cybersecurity

14th August 2023

In the age of technology, cybersecurity is the name of the game in finance. With digital risks on the rise, policymakers are stepping up to safeguard financial institutions against cyber threats. Enter the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA), a European directive that’s changing the game. DORA is all about protecting networks and information systems in the financial sector. Though the specific legislation is still being worked out and will vary from country to country. It’s something to watch out and prepare for.

Understanding DORA

DORA, or the Digital Operational Resilience Act, is a European directive that has been adopted by the European Parliament to bolster the cybersecurity posture of financial institutions across the European Union. The aim is to boost the digital resilience of the finance sector.

While financial risks are still a worry, the rise of digital threats have changed the security landscape. DORA goes beyond traditional regulations that primarily focused on financial aspects such as credit risks and fraud prevention. Instead, it emphasizes the identification and mitigation of digital ICT (Information and Communication Technology) risks. By implementing DORA, financial organizations of all sizes, including major banks and critical suppliers within the sector, will be required to comply with stringent cybersecurity measures. This directive ensures that these institutions are better prepared to combat cyber threats effectively, safeguarding the integrity and stability of the financial system. DORA’s comprehensive approach to digital resilience underscores the significance of cybersecurity in today’s increasingly interconnected and technology-driven financial landscape.

Key Components of DORA

  1. ICT Risk Management Framework: DORA necessitates that financial institutions establish a robust ICT Risk Management Framework. This framework serves as the foundation for identifying, assessing, and mitigating digital risks effectively.
  2. Incident Response Process: With cyber threats becoming more sophisticated, an enhanced Incident Response Process is crucial. DORA mandates financial organizations to have a well-defined incident response plan, ensuring prompt identification and reporting of security incidents.
  3. Security Testing: DORA introduces more frequent and mandatory security testing, including Threat-Led Penetration Tests (TLPT). These tests help identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the network and information systems, enabling organizations to proactively address potential cyber threats.
  4. Third Party Risk Mapping: Critical suppliers to the financial sector must also comply with DORA. Financial institutions must map out third-party risks and ensure that suppliers meet the necessary cybersecurity standards.
  5. Threat Intelligence Sharing: DORA makes it mandatory for financial organizations to share threat intelligence. This encourages international cooperation and helps the sector stay vigilant against emerging cyber threats.

Compliance Timeline and Sanctions

The DORA regulation were launched on the 16th of January. The deadline for compliance with DORA is set for January 1st 2025. The timeframe between the launch and compliance allows institutions time to prepare and align their cybersecurity with the directive.

It is important to note that compliance with DORA is not optional. Regulatory authorities, typically the central banks of EU member states, possess the authority to impose sanctions on non-compliant institutions. The penalties for non-compliance can be severe, with organizations potentially facing fines of up to 1% of their average daily turnover for each day they fail to adhere to the guidelines. The maximum penalty that can be imposed is six months. Financial institutions are urged to take the necessary steps to ensure they meet the requirements outlined in DORA, as failure to do so could result in significant financial and reputational damage. By proactively implementing robust cybersecurity measures, organizations can safeguard their operations and protect their customers’ sensitive data.

Challenges and Opportunities

The implementation of DORA, the new cybersecurity framework for the financial sector, marks a crucial milestone in safeguarding sensitive financial information. However, it is important to acknowledge the challenges that come with this new framework. Smaller financial institutions, which often have limited resources compared to larger counterparts, may struggle to meet the stringent requirements set by DORA. This could potentially lead to a widening cybersecurity gap between larger and smaller institutions.

Nevertheless, these challenges also present opportunities for growth and improvement. Smaller financial organizations can leverage this moment to prioritize cybersecurity investments and enhance their overall resilience against cyber threats. By aligning with DORA’s directives, these institutions can demonstrate their commitment to protecting customer data and contribute to a safer digital ecosystem. DORA’s implementation can serve as a catalyst for collaboration and knowledge-sharing within the financial sector. Financial organizations, regardless of their size, can come together to exchange best practices, share resources, and collectively address the evolving cybersecurity landscape.

In conclusion, while DORA poses challenges for smaller financial institutions, it also offers opportunities for growth, improvement, and collaboration. By investing in cybersecurity measures and embracing the framework’s guidelines, financial organizations can strengthen their defences and contribute to a more secure financial industry.

Ready to fortify your financial institution’s cybersecurity and comply with DORA regulations? If you need assistance, get in touch today or call us on 0161 518 3341.