Chapter IV – Digital operational resilience testing (Art. 24-27)
Art. 24 DORA - General requirements for the performance of digital operational resilience testing arrow_right_alt
- For the purpose of assessing preparedness for handling ICT-related incidents, of identifying weaknesses, deficiencies and gaps in digital operational resilience, and of promptly implementing corrective measures, financial entities, other than microenterprises, shall, taking into account the criteria set out in Article 4(2), establish, maintain and review a sound and comprehensive digital operational resilience testing programme as an integral part of the ICT risk-management framework referred to in Article 6.
- The digital operational resilience testing programme shall include a range of assessments, tests, methodologies, practices and tools to be applied in accordance with Articles 25 and 26.
- When conducting the digital operational resilience testing programme referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, financial entities, other than microenterprises, shall follow a risk-based approach taking into account the criteria set out in Article 4(2) duly considering the evolving landscape of ICT risk, any specific risks to which the financial entity concerned is or might be exposed, the criticality of information assets and of services provided, as well as any other factor the financial entity deems appropriate.
- Financial entities, other than microenterprises, shall ensure that tests are undertaken by independent parties, whether internal or external. Where tests are undertaken by an internal tester, financial entities shall dedicate sufficient resources and ensure that conflicts of interest are avoided throughout the design and execution phases of the test.
- Financial entities, other than microenterprises, shall establish procedures and policies to prioritise, classify and remedy all issues revealed throughout the performance of the tests and shall establish internal validation methodologies to ascertain that all identified weaknesses, deficiencies or gaps are fully addressed.
- Financial entities, other than microenterprises, shall ensure, at least yearly, that appropriate tests are conducted on all ICT systems and applications supporting critical or important functions.
Digital operational resilience testing requirements have been developed in certain financial subsectors setting out frameworks that are not always fully aligned. This leads to a potential duplication of costs for cross-border financial entities and makes the mutual recognition of the results of digital operational resilience testing complex which, in turn, can fragment the internal market.
In addition, where no ICT testing is required, vulnerabilities remain undetected and result in exposing a financial entity to ICT risk and ultimately create a higher risk to the stability and integrity of the financial sector. Without Union intervention, digital operational resilience testing would continue to be inconsistent and would lack a system of mutual recognition of ICT testing results across different jurisdictions. In addition, as it is unlikely that other financial subsectors would adopt testing schemes on a meaningful scale, they would miss out on the potential benefits of a testing framework, in terms of revealing ICT vulnerabilities and risks, and testing defence capabilities and business continuity, which contributes to increasing the trust of customers, suppliers and business partners. To remedy those overlaps, divergences and gaps, it is necessary to lay down rules for a coordinated testing regime and thereby facilitate the mutual recognition of advanced testing for financial entities meeting the criteria set out in this Regulation.
Similarly, financial entities which qualify as microenterprises or are subject to the simplified ICT risk management framework under this Regulation should not be required to establish a role to monitor their arrangements concluded with ICT third-party service providers on the use of ICT services; or to designate a member of senior management to be responsible for overseeing the related risk exposure and relevant documentation; to assign the responsibility for managing and overseeing ICT risk to a control function and ensure an appropriate level of independence of such control function in order to avoid conflicts of interest; to document and review at least once a year the ICT risk management framework; to subject to internal audit on a regular basis the ICT risk management framework; to perform in-depth assessments after major changes in their network and information system infrastructures and processes; to regularly conduct risk analyses on legacy ICT systems; to subject the implementation of the ICT Response and Recovery plans to independent internal audit reviews; to have a crisis management function, to expand the testing of business continuity and response and recovery plans to capture switchover scenarios between primary ICT infrastructure and redundant facilities; to report to competent authorities, upon their request, an estimation of aggregated annual costs and losses caused by major ICT-related incidents, to maintain redundant ICT capacities; to communicate to national competent authorities implemented changes following post ICT-related incident reviews; to monitor on a continuous basis relevant technological developments, to establish a comprehensive digital operational resilience testing programme as an integral part of the ICT risk management framework provided for in this Regulation, or to adopt and regularly review a strategy on ICT third-party risk. In addition, microenterprises should only be required to assess the need to maintain such redundant ICT capacities based on their risk profile. Microenterprises should benefit from a more flexible regime as regards digital operational resilience testing programmes. When considering the type and frequency of testing to be performed, they should properly balance the objective of maintaining a high digital operational resilience, the available resources and their overall risk profile. Microenterprises and financial entities subject to the simplified ICT risk management framework under this Regulation should be exempted from the requirement to perform advanced testing of ICT tools, systems and processes based on threat-led penetration testing (TLPT), as only financial entities meeting the criteria set out in this Regulation should be required to carry out such testing. In light of their limited capabilities, microenterprises should be able to agree with the ICT third-party service provider to delegate the financial entity’s rights of access, inspection and audit to an independent third-party, to be appointed by the ICT third-party service provider, provided that the financial entity is able to request, at any time, all relevant information and assurance on the ICT third-party service provider’s performance from the respective independent third-party.
As only those financial entities identified for the purposes of the advanced digital resilience testing should be required to conduct threat-led penetration tests, the administrative processes and financial costs entailed in the performance of such tests should be borne by a small percentage of financial entities.
In order to achieve a high level of digital operational resilience, and in line with both the relevant international standards (e.g. the G7 Fundamental Elements for Threat-Led Penetration Testing) and with the frameworks applied in the Union, such as the TIBER-EU, financial entities should regularly test their ICT systems and staff having ICT-related responsibilities with regard to the effectiveness of their preventive, detection, response and recovery capabilities, to uncover and address potential ICT vulnerabilities. To reflect differences that exist across, and within, the various financial subsectors as regards financial entities’ level of cybersecurity preparedness, testing should include a wide variety of tools and actions, ranging from the assessment of basic requirements (e.g. vulnerability assessments and scans, open source analyses, network security assessments, gap analyses, physical security reviews, questionnaires and scanning software solutions, source code reviews where feasible, scenario-based tests, compatibility testing, performance testing or end-to-end testing) to more advanced testing by means of TLPT. Such advanced testing should be required only of financial entities that are mature enough from an ICT perspective to reasonably carry it out. The digital operational resilience testing required by this Regulation should thus be more demanding for those financial entities meeting the criteria set out in this Regulation (for example, large, systemic and ICT-mature credit institutions, stock exchanges, central securities depositories and central counterparties) than for other financial entities. At the same time, the digital operational resilience testing by means of TLPT should be more relevant for financial entities operating in core financial services subsectors and playing a systemic role (for example, payments, banking, and clearing and settlement), and less relevant for other subsectors (for example, asset managers and credit rating agencies).
Art. 25 DORA - Testing of ICT tools and systems arrow_right_alt
- The digital operational resilience testing programme referred to in Article 24 shall provide, in accordance with the criteria set out in Article 4(2), for the execution of appropriate tests, such as vulnerability assessments and scans, open source analyses, network security assessments, gap analyses, physical security reviews, questionnaires and scanning software solutions, source code reviews where feasible, scenario-based tests, compatibility testing, performance testing, end-to-end testing and penetration testing.
- Central securities depositories and central counterparties shall perform vulnerability assessments before any deployment or redeployment of new or existing applications and infrastructure components, and ICT services supporting critical or important functions of the financial entity.
- Microenterprises shall perform the tests referred to in paragraph 1 by combining a risk-based approach with a strategic planning of ICT testing, by duly considering the need to maintain a balanced approach between the scale of resources and the time to be allocated to the ICT testing provided for in this Article, on the one hand, and the urgency, type of risk, criticality of information assets and of services provided, as well as any other relevant factor, including the financial entity’s ability to take calculated risks, on the other hand.
Financial entities’ reliance on the use of ICT services is partly driven by their need to adapt to an emerging competitive digital global economy, to boost their business efficiency and to meet consumer demand. The nature and extent of such reliance has been continuously evolving in recent years, driving cost reduction in financial intermediation, enabling business expansion and scalability in the deployment of financial activities while offering a wide range of ICT tools to manage complex internal processes.
Art. 26 DORA - Advanced testing of ICT tools, systems and processes based on TLPT arrow_right_alt
- Financial entities, other than entities referred to in Article 16(1), first subparagraph, and other than microenterprises, which are identified in accordance with paragraph 8, third subparagraph, of this Article, shall carry out at least every 3 years advanced testing by means of TLPT. Based on the risk profile of the financial entity and taking into account operational circumstances, the competent authority may, where necessary, request the financial entity to reduce or increase this frequency.
- Each threat-led penetration test shall cover several or all critical or important functions of a financial entity, and shall be performed on live production systems supporting such functions.
Financial entities shall identify all relevant underlying ICT systems, processes and technologies supporting critical or important functions and ICT services, including those supporting the critical or important functions which have been outsourced or contracted to ICT third-party service providers.
Financial entities shall assess which critical or important functions need to be covered by the TLPT. The result of this assessment shall determine the precise scope of TLPT and shall be validated by the competent authorities.
- Where ICT third-party service providers are included in the scope of TLPT, the financial entity shall take the necessary measures and safeguards to ensure the participation of such ICT third-party service providers in the TLPT and shall retain at all times full responsibility for ensuring compliance with this Regulation.
- Without prejudice to paragraph 2, first and second subparagraphs, where the participation of an ICT third-party service provider in the TLPT, referred to in paragraph 3, is reasonably expected to have an adverse impact on the quality or security of services delivered by the ICT third-party service provider to customers that are entities falling outside the scope of this Regulation, or on the confidentiality of the data related to such services, the financial entity and the ICT third-party service provider may agree in writing that the ICT third-party service provider directly enters into contractual arrangements with an external tester, for the purpose of conducting, under the direction of one designated financial entity, a pooled TLPT involving several financial entities (pooled testing) to which the ICT third-party service provider provides ICT services.
That pooled testing shall cover the relevant range of ICT services supporting critical or important functions contracted to the respective ICT third-party service provider by the financial entities. The pooled testing shall be considered TLPT carried out by the financial entities participating in the pooled testing.
The number of financial entities participating in the pooled testing shall be duly calibrated taking into account the complexity and types of services involved.
- Financial entities shall, with the cooperation of ICT third-party service providers and other parties involved, including the testers but excluding the competent authorities, apply effective risk management controls to mitigate the risks of any potential impact on data, damage to assets, and disruption to critical or important functions, services or operations at the financial entity itself, its counterparts or to the financial sector.
- At the end of the testing, after reports and remediation plans have been agreed, the financial entity and, where applicable, the external testers shall provide to the authority, designated in accordance with paragraph 9 or 10, a summary of the relevant findings, the remediation plans and the documentation demonstrating that the TLPT has been conducted in accordance with the requirements.
- Authorities shall provide financial entities with an attestation confirming that the test was performed in accordance with the requirements as evidenced in the documentation in order to allow for mutual recognition of threat led penetration tests between competent authorities. The financial entity shall notify the relevant competent authority of the attestation, the summary of the relevant findings and the remediation plans.
Without prejudice to such attestation, financial entities shall remain at all times fully responsible for the impact of the tests referred to in paragraph 4.
- Financial entities shall contract testers for the purposes of undertaking TLPT in accordance with Article 27. When financial entities use internal testers for the purposes of undertaking TLPT, they shall contract external testers every three tests.
Credit institutions that are classified as significant in accordance with Article 6(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1024/2013, shall only use external testers in accordance with Article 27(1), points (a) to (e).
Competent authorities shall identify financial entities that are required to perform TLPT taking into account the criteria set out in Article 4(2), based on an assessment of the following:
- impact-related factors, in particular the extent to which the services provided and activities undertaken by the financial entity impact the financial sector;
- possible financial stability concerns, including the systemic character of the financial entity at Union or national level, as applicable;
- specific ICT risk profile, level of ICT maturity of the financial entity or technology features involved.
- Member States may designate a single public authority in the financial sector to be responsible for TLPT-related matters in the financial sector at national level and shall entrust it with all competences and tasks to that effect.
- In the absence of a designation in accordance with paragraph 9 of this Article, and without prejudice to the power to identify the financial entities that are required to perform TLPT, a competent authority may delegate the exercise of some or all of the tasks referred to in this Article and Article 27 to another national authority in the financial sector.
- The ESAs shall, in agreement with the ECB, develop joint draft regulatory technical standards in accordance with the TIBER-EU framework in order to specify further:
- the criteria used for the purpose of the application of paragraph 8, second subparagraph;
- the requirements and standards governing the use of internal testers;
- the requirements in relation to:
- the scope of TLPT referred to in paragraph 2;
- the testing methodology and approach to be followed for each specific phase of the testing process;
- the results, closure and remediation stages of the testing;
- the type of supervisory and other relevant cooperation which are needed for the implementation of TLPT, and for the facilitation of mutual recognition of that testing, in the context of financial entities that operate in more than one Member State, to allow an appropriate level of supervisory involvement and a flexible implementation to cater for specificities of financial sub-sectors or local financial markets.
When developing those draft regulatory technical standards, the ESAs shall give due consideration to any specific feature arising from the distinct nature of activities across different financial services sectors.
The ESAs shall submit those draft regulatory technical standards to the Commission by 17 July 2024.
Power is delegated to the Commission to supplement this Regulation by adopting the regulatory technical standards referred to in the first subparagraph in accordance with Articles 10 to 14 of Regulations (EU) No 1093/2010, (EU) No 1094/2010 and (EU) No 1095/2010.
Financial entities involved in cross-border activities and exercising the freedoms of establishment, or of provision of services within the Union, should comply with a single set of advanced testing requirements (i.e. TLPT) in their home Member State, which should include the ICT infrastructures in all jurisdictions where the cross-border financial group operates within the Union, thus allowing such cross-border financial groups to incur related ICT testing costs in one jurisdiction only.
To draw on the expertise already acquired by certain competent authorities, in particular with regard to implementing the TIBER-EU framework, this Regulation should allow Member States to designate a single public authority as responsible in the financial sector, at national level, for all TLPT matters, or competent authorities, to delegate, in the absence of such designation, the exercise of TLPT related tasks to another national financial competent authority.
Since this Regulation does not require financial entities to cover all critical or important functions in one single threat-led penetration test, financial entities should be free to determine which and how many critical or important functions should be included in the scope of such a test.
Art. 27 DORA - Requirements for testers for the carrying out of TLPT arrow_right_alt
- Financial entities shall only use testers for the carrying out of TLPT, that:
- are of the highest suitability and reputability;
- possess technical and organisational capabilities and demonstrate specific expertise in threat intelligence, penetration testing and red team testing;
- are certified by an accreditation body in a Member State or adhere to formal codes of conduct or ethical frameworks;
- provide an independent assurance, or an audit report, in relation to the sound management of risks associated with the carrying out of TLPT, including the due protection of the financial entity’s confidential information and redress for the business risks of the financial entity;
- are duly and fully covered by relevant professional indemnity insurances, including against risks of misconduct and negligence.
- When using internal testers, financial entities shall ensure that, in addition to the requirements in paragraph 1, the following conditions are met:
- such use has been approved by the relevant competent authority or by the single public authority designated in accordance with Article 26(9) and (10);
- the relevant competent authority has verified that the financial entity has sufficient dedicated resources and ensured that conflicts of interest are avoided throughout the design and execution phases of the test; and
- the threat intelligence provider is external to the financial entity.
- Financial entities shall ensure that contracts concluded with external testers require a sound management of the TLPT results and that any data processing thereof, including any generation, store, aggregation, draft, report, communication or destruction, do not create risks to the financial entity.
Pooled testing within the meaning of this Regulation – involving the participation of several financial entities in a TLPT and for which an ICT third-party service provider can directly enter into contractual arrangements with an external tester – should be allowed only where the quality or security of services delivered by the ICT third-party service provider to customers that are entities falling outside the scope of this Regulation, or the confidentiality of the data related to such services, are reasonably expected to be adversely impacted. Pooled testing should also be subject to safeguards (direction by one designated financial entity, calibration of the number of participating financial entities) to ensure a rigorous testing exercise for the financial entities involved which meet the objectives of the TLPT pursuant to this Regulation.
In order to take advantage of internal resources available at corporate level, this Regulation should allow the use of internal testers for the purposes of carrying out TLPT, provided there is supervisory approval, no conflicts of interest, and periodical alternation of the use of internal and external testers (every three tests), while also requiring the provider of the threat intelligence in the TLPT to always be external to the financial entity. The responsibility for conducting TLPT should remain fully with the financial entity. Attestations provided by authorities should be solely for the purpose of mutual recognition and should not preclude any follow-up action needed to address the ICT risk to which the financial entity is exposed, nor should they be seen as a supervisory endorsement of a financial entity’s ICT risk management and mitigation capabilities.