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DORA: A timely shift in cybersecurity for the financial world and beyond | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

The financial world is no stranger to operational resilience, but the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) has brought a renewed urgency to the conversation. With its impending January 2025 compliance deadline, DORA has propelled operational resilience to the forefront of the agenda, particularly in the financial sector, where digital infrastructure has become the backbone of operations.

The finance sector relies on a digital ecosystem. And the route of its strength is its technological infrastructure. Institutions are now constantly searching for new ways to prevent ICT incidents. When they occur businesses must have solutions in place that ensure minimal disruption for customers or partners.

DORA’s lessons are clear: accurate timing systems are vital, not optional, in cybersecurity.

Of course, DORA’s scope extends beyond time, but its requirements clearly involve it. Because of incident reporting and risk management obligations, financial institutions will have to maintain high standards of time synchronisation, timing data and process documentation, and resilient timing that’s resistant to cyber-attacks.

Time as the hidden currency

Time has become one of the key currencies of the financial world. Every transaction, every market movement, hinges on it. Yet, the risks associated with timing vulnerabilities are not merely theoretical. Recent high-profile cyber-attacks, from the Mt Gox bitcoin exchange to the Ukrainian power grid, have exploited weaknesses in timing systems to wreak havoc.

DORA has effectively awakened the financial sector to the reality that synchronisation is a cornerstone of cyber resilience. By mandating stricter incident reporting and risk management obligations, DORA compels financial institutions to create high standards, thereby mitigating the risk of attack.

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Challenges and opportunities

While DORA’s heightened standards promise enhanced security, they also present challenges, particularly for smaller institutions. Meeting the rigorous testing, risk assessment, and reporting requirements can strain resources, potentially creating an uneven playing field.

To address this disparity, the sector must adopt a collaborative approach. By establishing knowledge-sharing hubs, offering targeted subsidies, and promoting service-based models for security tools, we can foster a level playing field and ensure that all institutions, regardless of size, can effectively comply with DORA.

Fostering a culture of operational resilience

Businesses looking for a competitive edge might not consider these changes urgent. However, embracing them aligns perfectly with the spirit of DORA. The Act already promotes knowledge-sharing and actively encourages participation in threat-sharing initiatives. By unifying EU regulations, DORA also fosters cross-border collaboration, ensuring everyone operates on a level playing field.

DORA is more than a regulatory checklist; it’s a step towards a cultural transformation. It sparks a shift towards a resilient ecosystem where practical, collaborative solutions are the norm.

This means rethinking how businesses value time. At Hoptroff, we’ve always championed accessible, affordable solutions that empower organisations with the accuracy and accountability DORA demands. Our approach has always been making resilience a competitive advantage.

Achieving the level of digital synchronisation required by DORA is no small feat. It requires a complex digital system that demands specialised knowledge and hardware. But what if we reimagined how we use time? What if, instead of each institution wrestling with this challenge individually, we treated time as a utility – accessible, reliable, and as essential as electricity?

To cultivate a culture of operational resilience, we need a bold shift in thinking. ‘Time as a service’ liberates institutions from the complexities of timekeeping, empowering them to focus on their core missions while relying on shared infrastructure for the precision they need.

Beyond finance: A paradigm shift

While finance may be the spotlight, data integrity is the cornerstone of security across all sectors. And it’s not just about time; it’s about every bit and byte that fuels modern institutions. I’m convinced this model will revolutionise how organisations tackle the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape, from Wall Street to the High Street.

DORA isn’t just a regulatory framework; it’s a roadmap to resilience, where collaboration, innovation, and collective responsibility are the keys to unlocking a safer future.

Richard Hoptroff is founder and Chief Time Officer, Hoptroff


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National Cyber Security