Guiding MSPs and Financial Entities Through the EU’s DORA Act 

When the Euro was introduced more than 20 years ago, it was meant to facilitate easier trade, stabilize economies, and reduce exchange rate risk among member countries. By having a single currency, the economic activities within the Eurozone became more streamlined and integrated, promoting economic consistency and strength across borders. 

Like the Euro, the Digital Operational Resilience Act recently passed by the European Union is designed to create a unified framework for handling and reducing ICT risks within the financial sector, thereby addressing inconsistencies, overlaps, and potential conflicts inherent in the varied regulations across EU member states. It ensures that all financial organizations adhere to a uniform set of security protocol that will minimize systemic vulnerabilities and enhance the overall stability of Europe’s financial ecosystem. Just as the Euro promotes economic unity, DORA ensures a unified approach to digital resilience, making the financial systems uniformly robust against disruptions, no matter where they are in Europe. 

DORA Becomes Law in 2025 

Financial entities and third-party ICT service providers have until January 17, 2025, to comply with DORA before enforcement starts. DORA’s reach extends beyond traditional banking and investment firms to include crypto exchanges, crowdfunding platforms, credit rating agencies, and other critical financial service providers.  

Organizations under DORA’s purview will have the rest of 2024 to prepare and there is a lot to be done. However, the primary goal is not just preparation for this deadline. Financial entities are expected to adopt a continuous practice of identifying and mitigating operational risks through consistent monitoring efforts. This ongoing vigilance is essential for maintaining operational resilience and safeguarding the sector against emerging threats.  

DORA is Not a One and Done Event 

Much like other compliance regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA which have seen amendments and supplementary guidance over time, DORA will likely follow a similar trajectory. Regulatory bodies will closely monitor its implementation, assess its impact, and incorporate learnings from real-world incidents and industry feedback to refine and strengthen the regulation’s provisions continually. 

The Necessity of DORA 

The Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) is essential for the financial industry given the rising frequency and complexity of cyberattacks that target this sector. Besides the obvious allure of money, financial institutions hold vast amounts of sensitive corporate and customer data that make them attractive targets for cyber criminals. Any successful breach can lead to significant financial losses, reputational damage, and erosion of public trust. 

DORA addresses the increased reliance of the financial sector on third-party service providers, such as cloud vendors, by mandating stringent risk management requirements for critical ICT providers to mitigate potential supply chain risks and vulnerabilities. In cases where third-party providers fail to comply with required standards, their contracts can be suspended, terminated, or modified as necessary.  While existing regulations primarily aim to prevent cyberattacks, DORA expands the focus to also ensure that financial firms can effectively recover and maintain resilience after successful attacks occur. 

A Unified Sharing Approach 

In addition to promoting a unified approach to enhance the resilience of the European financial sector, DORA aims to foster a collaborative culture by encouraging the exchange of information among financial institutions. Cyber adversaries frequently replicate their tactics, exploiting common vulnerabilities and employing similar methodologies until they are mitigated. By sharing threat intelligence with peers operating in comparable environments, organizations can collectively and more effectively counter these cyber threats.  

DORA Requirements 

As the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) comes into effect in 2025, financial businesses must take proactive measures to ensure compliance. Here’s a quick rundown of some key steps financial institutions should prioritize to align with DORA’s requirements: 

  1. Develop a comprehensive ICT risk management framework by mapping critical systems, conducting risk assessments, and defining risk tolerance levels. 
  1. Establish incident management processes for monitoring, logging, classifying, and reporting ICT-related incidents to regulators within specified timelines. 
  1. Conduct regular resilience testing through penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, and disaster recovery exercises. 
  1. Implement stringent oversight and management of third-party service providers, including cloud services and other critical ICT suppliers to ensure they meet security requirements consistent with DORA mandates. 
  1. Update contracts and vendor management processes by revising vendor contracts to include DORA requirements and enhancing vendor categorization, communication, and compliance tracking processes. 
  1. Establish clear governance and accountability by defining ICT risk management strategies at the leadership level and assigning specific roles and responsibilities for overseeing ICT risks. 
  1. Regularly review and update compliance measures to align with DORA requirements and any updates in the regulatory framework. 

Bolster Your Efforts with an MDR 

Of course, these represent only a few of the many steps required of financial institutions for DORA compliance. While larger financial institutions might already have the necessary resources in place to meet the newly adapted regulations, smaller organizations could find it challenging to meet the stringent requirements with their present cybersecurity resources. 

A Managed Detection and Response (MDR) solution from a reputable security provider should be a valuable consideration as part of a comprehensive DORA strategy. An MDR solution offers 24/7 security monitoring and analysis by a team of dedicated cybersecurity experts. It leverages advanced analytics to ingest and analyze vast amounts of data, enabling the identification and prioritization of critical security alerts. MDR aligns in tandem with the monitoring and auditing requirements of DORA. 

Notably, the MDR solution designed by CYREBRO boasts industry-leading capabilities to ingest and process an unparalleled volume of security events and data sources. This enhanced visibility and analytical prowess can empower financial institutions to strengthen their threat detection, response, and overall cybersecurity posture to ensure adherence with DORA’s objectives. The combination of advanced MDR technology and SOC analysts can significantly increase the response time to confirmed incidents. This speeds up the pace of remediation actions to contain and mitigate threats. 


DORA will undoubtedly have a profound affect on Europe’s financial sector and like the Euro, will work to create a homogenous environment that fosters stability, trust, and efficiency across all the European member states. 

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