Security Solutions

3 mins

Preparing for DORA: A Guide for Cybersecurity Experts

DORA, the EU's Digital Operational Resilience Act, presents businesses with both a significant challenge and a tremendous opportunity. Its mission is to elevate operational resilience standards across the financial sector through a comprehensive framework for digital finance. For cybersecurity experts and CISOs, understanding the intricacies of DORA is crucial for ensuring compliance and strengthening cybersecurity practices.

To effectively prepare for this regulatory transformation, cybersecurity experts must take proactive measures and embrace a comprehensive approach. 

Understanding the Essence of DORA

DORA is the EU's strategic response to the evolving digital landscape. It imposes a set of regulatory obligations designed to enhance operational resilience across the financial sector. It demands that organizations demonstrate their ability to withstand, respond to, and recover from various IT-related disruptions and threats. The act extends the scope of financial regulators, granting them the authority to supervise and enforce requirements on relationships between financial services and their third-party ICT providers.

New Regulatory Obligations Under DORA

DORA extends existing requirements for operational resilience by introducing a slew of new regulatory obligations. These include resilience testing, incident management, and reporting. However, one of the most significant shifts is the expansion of supervisory authority. Financial institutions will now have the power to oversee and impose requirements on the relationship between financial services and their third-party ICT providers, which will impact cloud and ICT service providers. Everything you need to know on how to comply with DORA can also be found on our Solution Guide below. 

Compliance is the Cornerstone

The foremost step in preparing for DORA is to acknowledge the gravity of compliance. This entails understanding whether your organization falls within the scope of DORA and what the new requirements consist of. An impact assessment is crucial to determining how the regulation affects your existing ICT risk framework.

Gap Analysis and Mitigation Planning

After understanding the regulatory landscape, conduct a thorough gap analysis. Identify gaps in your current practices compared to DORA requirements and devise mitigation plans to bridge these gaps. This is a pivotal step in ensuring that your organization aligns with the regulation.

Implementation and Collaboration

To prepare for DORA, collaboration is key. Engage with stakeholders from various departments, including Legal, Tax, IT, Audit, Operations, and others.

A holistic approach that encompasses your ICT risk strategy, execution, and compliance with DORA is essential. Ensure senior management is well-informed on ICT risk topics and establish mechanisms for reporting their decision-making. This promotes a culture of responsibility and accountability.

Enhancing ICT Asset Management and Incident Handling

Your ICT asset management must be highly mature, identifying and assessing all assets. This forms the basis for robust ICT risk management. Develop comprehensive incident handling processes, which might require detailed incident planning, business impact analyses, and scenario testing. Allocating sufficient resources to incident management enables timely follow-up and reporting to stakeholders on security incidents.

Strengthening Digital Operational Resilience Testing

DORA mandates the establishment, maintenance, and review of digital operational resilience testing programs. Your program should encompass all critical IT systems and applications, providing a multidimensional security perspective and adhering to a risk-based approach.

Implementing ICT Outsourcing with a Risk Perspective

As organizations rely on third-party ICT service providers, adopting a comprehensive risk chain perspective is essential. This approach integrates risks associated with your organization's ICT outsourcing chain and ensures that all potential impacts are identified and addressed.

Compliance for Future-Proofing

To ensure your ICT governance, risk framework, and outsourcing strategy align with regulatory, audit, and future-proofing requirements, implement a data-driven approach. Compliance with DORA strengthens your organization's resilience and streamlines resilience exercises, both internally and throughout your supply chain. Moreover, DORA encourages the sharing of threat and intelligence data across financial entities and standardizes security expectations in contractual relationships between financial services firms and their third-party ICT providers.

Seizing the Opportunity

While DORA may seem daunting, it presents a unique opportunity for organizations to elevate their cybersecurity practices, strengthen operational resilience, and foster a culture of responsibility. Preparing for DORA involves a holistic approach, from understanding compliance obligations to implementing and maturing cybersecurity practices. By embracing the challenge, cybersecurity experts can position their organizations as leaders in the evolving digital finance landscape. Future-proofing your organization with DORA compliance is not just a necessity; it's an opportunity for growth and excellence in operational resilience.

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