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Understanding DORA's impact on the UK financial services landscape

Louis Strauss |

October 16, 2023
Understanding DORA's impact on the UK financial services landscape


The Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) has become a pivotal regulation, influencing global financial markets and dictating the pace at which they must enhance their operational frameworks to maintain competitiveness and security. The UK, standing at the crossroads of its post-Brexit financial market realignment, faces unique challenges and opportunities brought forth by DORA. This blog will explore DORA's implications for the UK's financial sector, the critical aspect of compliance for UK firms, and a timeline representing DORA's journey towards implementation.


Background: What is DORA?

The European Commission introduced DORA as an initiative to bolster the digital operational resilience of financial entities within the EU. This comprehensive framework aims to unify and upgrade ICT risk management protocols across financial sectors while enhancing oversight of critical third-party service providers.

Given its post-Brexit scenario, the UK isn't automatically obligated to align with EU regulations. However, considering the substantial cross-border operational implications and the universal necessity of stringent cyber resilience strategies, DORA's relevance remains high for the UK financial market.


DORA's timeline: A journey towards enhanced resilience

  • 2020: The European Commission proposed DORA, marking the beginning of a more unified approach to digital operational resilience in the financial sector within the EU.
  • 2021-2022: Discussion, refinement, and adoption of DORA by relevant EU bodies ensued, with key stakeholders across the financial spectrum contributing insights and feedback.
  • 2023: The implementation phase for institutions within the EU kicked off on 15 January. This stage will involve active compliance, monitoring, and enforcement of the regulations outlined in DORA.
  • 2023-2025: Multiple regulatory and implementing technical standards are defined and issued by the ESAs. They will provide entities with specifications and guidance on implementing specific DORA requirements.
  • 2025: DORA is enforceable two years after 16 January 2023, so entities will be expected to be compliant from January 2025.


Clarifying compliance: Do UK firms need to adhere to DORA?

The post-Brexit landscape prompts a vital question: do UK firms fall within the purview of DORA? While the UK isn't legally bound to EU policies, including DORA, compliance becomes essential for UK firms maintaining operational ties with the EU through branches, partnerships, or direct market activities.

Though not strictly mandatory for companies operating solely within the UK, compliance with DORA bears significant strategic importance. It serves as a badge of operational excellence, potentially bolsters competitive advantage, prepares entities for similar future UK regulations, and enhances overall resilience in the interconnected global financial ecosystem.


DORA and the UK: Challenges, strategy, and the path forward

For UK financial services, DORA ushers in several strategic enhancements:

  1. Operational Resilience: Embracing DORA's principles allows UK firms to fortify their defenses against cyber threats and digital disruptions, fostering greater confidence among stakeholders and potentially smoothing over cross-border interactions within the EU.
  2. Third-Party Risk Management: The act's emphasis on stringent oversight of third-party vendors reduces associated risks, ensuring robust security protocols are observed throughout the service chain.
  3. Incident Reporting and Information Sharing: By adopting DORA's incident reporting mechanisms, UK firms contribute to a culture of transparency and cooperative security enhancement, building collective resilience.
  4. Continuous Improvement through Testing: Regular ICT resilience testing under DORA pushes firms towards ongoing self-improvement, helping them stay ahead of evolving digital threats.


Navigating the compliance terrain

Despite the strategic advantages, UK firms must navigate certain challenges around DORA compliance, such as operational cost increases, system overhaul complexities, and the continuous evolution of compliance protocols. SMEs, in particular, might face steeper challenges due to resource limitations.

Voluntary compliance with DORA should be viewed as an investment in the firm's strategic future rather than a regulatory formality. It calls for a proactive approach, necessitating upgrades in technology, personnel training, and internal processes. Simultaneously, regulatory bodies within the UK will play a significant role in facilitating this transition, providing necessary guidance and support frameworks.


Embracing resilience as a strategic steppingstone

DORA represents an opportunity for UK financial services to reassert their commitment to operational resilience and excellence in a post-Brexit world. While not legally mandatory for all, the strategic implications of aligning with DORA are profound. The act serves as a benchmark for firms willing to invest in their digital future, ensuring they remain relevant and competitive in a globalized market. The journey towards full resilience is iterative and demands commitment, but it is one that UK financial entities must undertake to safeguard their relevance in a rapidly digitizing financial world.


6clicks and DORA

6clicks enables DORA compliance through integrated solutions for ICT risk management, offering end-to-end risk, asset, and control management. Its capabilities include incident reporting, dedicated modules for detailed ICT-related records, and centralized digital operational resilience testing management. Furthermore, 6clicks supports comprehensive third-party risk management by automating vendor assessments and remediation processes, all unified by robust custom reporting capability. Coupled with 6clicks' unique pricing model, powerful AI engine built for GRC and vast Content Library, 6clicks is an essential tool for navigating the complexities of DORA compliance.




Louis Strauss

Written by Louis Strauss

Louis is the Co-founder and Chief Product Marketing Officer (CPMO) at 6clicks, where he spearheads collaboration among product, marketing, engineering, and sales teams. With a deep-seated passion for innovation, Louis drives the development of elegant AI-powered solutions tailored to address the intricate challenges CISOs, InfoSec teams, and GRC professionals face. Beyond cyber GRC, Louis enjoys reading and spending time with his friends and family.