The final text of the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA)

Preamble 1 to 10, Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA)

(1) In the digital age, information and communication technology (ICT) supports complex systems used for everyday activities. It keeps our economies running in key sectors, including the financial sector, and enhances the functioning of the internal market. Increased digitalisation and interconnectedness also amplify ICT risk, making society as a whole, and the financial system in particular, more vulnerable to cyber threats or ICT disruptions.

While the ubiquitous use of ICT systems and high digitalisation and connectivity are today core features of the activities of Union financial entities, their digital resilience has yet to be better addressed and integrated into their broader operational frameworks.

(2) The use of ICT has in the past decades gained a pivotal role in the provision of financial services, to the point where it has now acquired a critical importance in the operation of typical daily functions of all financial entities. Digitalisation now covers, for instance, payments, which have increasingly moved from cash and paper-based methods to the use of digital solutions, as well as securities clearing and settlement, electronic and algorithmic trading, lending and funding operations, peer-to-peer finance, credit rating, claim management and back-office operations.

The insurance sector has also been transformed by the use of ICT, from the emergence of insurance intermediaries offering their services online operating with InsurTech, to digital insurance underwriting. Finance has not only become largely digital throughout the whole sector, but digitalisation has also deepened interconnections and dependencies within the financial sector and with third-party infrastructure and service providers.

(3) The European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) reaffirmed in a 2020 report addressing systemic cyber risk how the existing high level of interconnectedness across financial entities, financial markets and financial market infrastructures, and particularly the interdependencies of their ICT systems, could constitute a systemic vulnerability because localised cyber incidents could quickly spread from any of the approximately 22 000 Union financial entities to the entire financial system, unhindered by geographical boundaries. Serious ICT breaches that occur in the financial sector do not merely affect financial entities taken in isolation.

They also smooth the way for the propagation of localised vulnerabilities across the financial transmission channels and potentially trigger adverse consequences for the stability of the Union’s financial system, such as generating liquidity runs and an overall loss of confidence and trust in financial markets.

(4) In recent years, ICT risk has attracted the attention of international, Union and national policy makers, regulators and standard-setting bodies in an attempt to enhance digital resilience, set standards and coordinate regulatory or supervisory work. At international level, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures, the Financial Stability Board, the Financial Stability Institute, as well as the G7 and G20 aim to provide competent authorities and market operators across various jurisdictions with tools to bolster the resilience of their financial systems. That work has also been driven by the need to duly consider ICT risk in the context of a highly interconnected global financial system and to seek more consistency of relevant best practices.

(5) Despite Union and national targeted policy and legislative initiatives, ICT risk continues to pose a challenge to the operational resilience, performance and stability of the Union financial system. The reforms that followed the 2008 financial crisis primarily strengthened the financial resilience of the Union financial sector and aimed to safeguard the competitiveness and stability of the Union from economic, prudential and market conduct perspectives. Although ICT security and digital resilience are part of operational risk, they have been less in the focus of the post-financial crisis regulatory agenda and have developed in only some areas of the Union’s financial services policy and regulatory landscape, or in only a few Member States.

(6) In its Communication of 8 March 2018 entitled ‘FinTech Action plan: For a more competitive and innovative European financial sector’, the Commission highlighted the paramount importance of making the Union financial sector more resilient, including from an operational perspective to ensure its technological safety and good functioning, its quick recovery from ICT breaches and incidents, ultimately enabling the effective and smooth provision of financial services across the whole Union, including under situations of stress, while also preserving consumer and market trust and confidence.

(7) In April 2019, the European Supervisory Authority (European Banking Authority), (EBA) established by Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council, the European Supervisory Authority (European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority), (‘EIOPA’) established by Regulation (EU) No 1094/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council and the European Supervisory Authority (European Securities and Markets Authority), (‘ESMA’) established by Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council (known collectively as ‘European Supervisory Authorities’ or ‘ESAs’) jointly issued technical advice calling for a coherent approach to ICT risk in finance and recommending to strengthen, in a proportionate way, the digital operational resilience of the financial services industry through a sector-specific initiative of the Union.

(8) The Union financial sector is regulated by a Single Rulebook and governed by a European system of financial supervision. Nonetheless, provisions tackling digital operational resilience and ICT security are not yet fully or consistently harmonised, despite digital operational resilience being vital for ensuring financial stability and market integrity in the digital age, and no less important than, for example, common prudential or market conduct standards. The Single Rulebook and system of supervision should therefore be developed to also cover digital operational resilience, by strengthening the mandates of competent authorities to enable them to supervise the management of ICT risk in the financial sector in order to protect the integrity and efficiency of the internal market, and to facilitate its orderly functioning.

(9) Legislative disparities and uneven national regulatory or supervisory approaches with regard to ICT risk trigger obstacles to the functioning of the internal market in financial services, impeding the smooth exercise of the freedom of establishment and the provision of services for financial entities operating on a cross-border basis. Competition between the same type of financial entities operating in different Member States could also be distorted. This is the case, in particular, for areas where Union harmonisation has been very limited, such as digital operational resilience testing, or absent, such as the monitoring of ICT third-party risk. Disparities stemming from developments envisaged at national level could generate further obstacles to the functioning of the internal market to the detriment of market participants and financial stability.

(10) To date, due to the ICT risk related provisions being only partially addressed at Union level, there are gaps or overlaps in important areas, such as ICT-related incident reporting and digital operational resilience testing, and inconsistencies as a result of emerging divergent national rules or cost-ineffective application of overlapping rules. This is particularly detrimental for an ICT-intensive user such as the financial sector since technology risks have no borders and the financial sector deploys its services on a wide cross-border basis within and outside the Union. Individual financial entities operating on a cross-border basis or holding several authorisations (e.g. one financial entity can have a banking, an investment firm, and a payment institution licence, each issued by a different competent authority in one or several Member States) face operational challenges in addressing ICT risk and mitigating adverse impacts of ICT incidents on their own and in a coherent cost-effective way.

Note: This is the final text of the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) - Regulation (EU) 2022/2554 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2022 on digital operational resilience for the financial sector and amending Regulations (EC) No 1060/2009, (EU) No 648/2012, (EU) No 600/2014, (EU) No 909/2014 and (EU) 2016/1011 (Text with EEA relevance).

Articles, Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA):