Beyond DORA Compliance: A Guide for Financial Services

Beyond DORA Compliance: A Guide for Financial Services

July 5, 2024

Jaco Dreyer


The Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) equips financial organisations with a robust framework to strengthen their cyber defences. However, achieving DORA compliance is just the first step. To ensure long-term resilience, embedding a culture of continuous improvement and ongoing adherence is crucial. 

This guide explores transforming DORA compliance from a one-off exercise into a springboard for sustained resilience. We’ll explore key considerations to foster a security-conscious environment, maintain up-to-date strategies, and leverage technology to stay ahead of evolving threats. 

The Need for Continuous Improvement 

DORA compliance shouldn’t be viewed solely as a tick-box exercise, but rather as a strategic initiative fostering a culture of continuous improvement. Here’s how to ensure your DORA readiness evolves into a long-term resilience strategy: 

Cultivating a Security-Aware Culture 

Building a security-conscious mindset across all levels of your organisation is critical. Here’s how to achieve this: 

  • Regular Training Sessions: Equip your employees with the knowledge and skills to identify and mitigate cyber threats. Conduct regular training sessions that cover topics like password security, phishing identification, and social engineering awareness. 
  • Engaging Security Awareness Campaigns: Keep employees informed about current cyber threats and security updates. Use engaging campaigns, such as phishing simulations and interactive training modules, to keep security front-of-mind. 

Leadership plays a pivotal role in setting the tone. Senior leaders should champion these initiatives, demonstrating their commitment to cyber security through active participation and communication. 

Staying Ahead of the Curve: Continuous Evolution and Adaptation 

The cyber security landscape is constantly evolving, with attackers developing new tactics and exploiting emerging vulnerabilities. To stay ahead of the curve, your cyber resilience strategies must be equally dynamic. Here’s how to ensure your defences remain effective: 

  • Regularly Reviewing Risk Management Policies: Don’t let your risk management policies gather dust! Schedule periodic reviews to identify areas for improvement and adapt your policies to address new threats and evolving regulations. This proactive approach ensures your defences remain effective against the latest cyberattacks. 
  • Engaging with Cyber Security Experts: Consulting with security professionals allows you to leverage their expertise and gain valuable insights into the evolving threat landscape and best practices for cyber defence. 

By fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptation, you can ensure your organisation remains a step ahead of potential attackers. 

Investing in Advanced Technologies 

Continuous investment in advanced technologies is crucial for maintaining and enhancing cyber resilience. This includes adopting cutting-edge cyber security solutions, AI-driven threat detection systems, and advanced data analytics tools. These tools can help detect suspicious activity, prevent malware infections, and block unauthorised access attempts. 

By leveraging advanced technologies, you can not only improve the efficiency of risk management but also gain valuable insights for proactive threat prevention.  

Strengthening Third-Party Risk Management 

Many organisations in financial services rely on third-party service providers, like IT support or cloud storage companies. It’s important to make sure these vendors are also secure, as any weaknesses in their systems can leave your data exposed. Here’s how to manage these risks: 

  • Regular Audits: Don’t assume your third-party vendors are as secure as you are. Conduct regular audits to assess their security posture and identify potential vulnerabilities that could impact your own security. 
  • Stringent Contractual Agreements: Ensure contracts clearly outline security expectations and responsibilities. This provides a legal framework for holding third-party vendors accountable for maintaining adequate security controls. 

By managing third-party risks effectively, you can strengthen your overall cyber resilience posture.

Implementing Feedback Loops

Feedback loops are vital in driving continuous improvement. They involve collecting, analysing, and acting on feedback from various stakeholders, including employees, customers, and third-party service providers. This process ensures that: 

  • Stakeholder Insights: Valuable insights from stakeholders are leveraged to enhance cyber resilience 
  • Adaptive Strategies: Feedback helps in adapting strategies to meet changing needs and address unforeseen challenges 
  • Continuous Learning: Organisations can learn from past experiences and mistakes, fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement 

By following these steps, financial organisations can build long-term cyber resilience and go beyond simply complying with DORA. This will help you protect your business, your customers, and your reputation. 

Establishing a DORA Compliance Framework 

Continuous monitoring and strategic planning are crucial for adhering to DORA compliance. A well-defined framework provides a structured approach to managing these ongoing requirements. Here’s how to establish a framework that fosters long-term compliance within you for business. 

Building a DORA Compliance Framework 

DORA compliance requires ongoing effort, but it doesn’t have to be a complex or time-consuming process. Here’s a practical approach to building a routine that keeps you on top of things: 

  • Clear Rules, Easy Checks: Develop clear policies and procedures that explain what everyone in your business needs to do to comply with DORA. Breakdown the regulations into bite-sized guides that are easy to understand and refer to whenever needed. Think of them as handy cheat sheets for your team! 
  • Staying on Top of DORA News: Regulations can change quickly. Designate someone (or a small team) to stay informed about updates to DORA and communicate them clearly to the rest of the team. Regular updates help ensure everyone’s on the same page. 
  • Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular reviews to assess your compliance posture. This could involve internal audits or simply using checklists to confirm you’re on track. Think of it as a regular health check for your DORA compliance! 
  • Open Communication and Teamwork: Encourage open communication about DORA within your team. Hold regular meetings (or even quick huddles) to discuss DORA and answer any questions employees might have. Working together as a team makes compliance easier for everyone. 
  • Getting Help When Needed: Don’t be afraid to seek professional help from compliance consultants or industry associations if you need a hand navigating DORA requirements. Remember, there’s no shame in asking for help – it’s a smart way to ensure you’re doing things right. 

By following these steps, you can establish a practical compliance routine for DORA that feels manageable for your business. Remember, consistency and collaboration are key to staying compliant and building long-term resilience. This way, you can focus on running your business with confidence, knowing you’ve got DORA under control. 

The Role of Leadership in Sustaining Resilience 

Leadership plays a critical role in ensuring that DORA compliance readiness translates into a lasting commitment to cyber resilience. Here’s how leaders can champion this effort: 

  • Demonstrate Visible Commitment: Leaders must show a clear and unwavering commitment to building resilience. This can be achieved by allocating necessary resources, such as budgeting for security training or hiring a dedicated cyber security professional. Their visible support sets the tone for the entire organisation. 
  • Assign Clear Ownership: Establishing a robust resilience framework requires clear ownership. Leaders should assign clear ownership of resilience initiatives across different departments. This ensures everyone understands their role and responsibilities in maintaining a secure environment. 
  • Foster Collaboration: Resilience is a team effort. Encourage collaboration across departments (IT, HR, Legal) and with external stakeholders (vendors, regulators) to build a comprehensive and cohesive resilience strategy. 
  • Promote Transparency: Maintaining transparency is key to building trust with stakeholders. Leaders should communicate resilience efforts openly, including successes, challenges, and areas for improvement. Regular reporting on the organisation’s resilience posture demonstrates accountability and fosters a culture of continuous improvement. 


DORA compliance is a great first step, but true resilience is an ongoing journey. By turning these practical tips into a regular routine – checking DORA compliance, keeping your team informed, and staying updated – your business can build a solid foundation for long-term cyber resilience. 

For further guidance on DORA compliance and cyber resilience, check out our previous article series: 

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