The Five Pillars of DORA: How to Apply Them to Your Resilience Program


The EU Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) establishes a comprehensive framework to enhance operational resilience in the financial sector. DORA outlines five key pillars that financial firms must address to build robust resilience programs. In this article, we will explore each pillar in detail and provide practical guidance on how to apply them to your organization's resilience program.

Business Continuity Management:

Business continuity management is the first pillar of DORA. It focuses on ensuring the continuity of critical business services during disruptive events. To apply this pillar effectively, financial firms should:

  • Identify critical business functions and prioritize them based on their impact on customers, markets, and financial stability.
  • Develop comprehensive business continuity plans that cover a range of potential disruptions.
  • Conduct regular testing and exercises to validate the effectiveness of these plans.
  • Establish clear communication protocols and escalation procedures to ensure swift and coordinated response during crises.

Risk Management:

Risk management is the second pillar of DORA, emphasizing the importance of identifying, assessing, and mitigating operational risks. To apply this pillar effectively, financial firms should:

  • Conduct comprehensive risk assessments to identify potential risks and vulnerabilities.
  • Establish a robust risk management framework that includes risk identification, measurement, monitoring, and reporting.
  • Implement controls and mitigation strategies to reduce the likelihood and impact of operational disruptions.
  • Regularly review and update risk management practices to stay aligned with evolving threats and regulatory requirements.

Cyber Resilience:

The third pillar of DORA focuses on cyber resilience, acknowledging the increasing importance of protecting financial firms against cyber threats. To apply this pillar effectively, financial firms should:

  • Implement robust cybersecurity measures, such as access controls, encryption, and threat detection systems.
  • Develop incident response plans to address cyber incidents promptly and effectively.
  • Conduct regular penetration testing and vulnerability assessments to identify and remediate security weaknesses.
  • Provide cybersecurity awareness training to employees to foster a culture of cyber resilience.

Incident Management:

The fourth pillar of DORA emphasizes the need for effective incident management capabilities. To apply this pillar effectively, financial firms should:

  • Establish a clear incident response framework that defines roles, responsibilities, and escalation procedures.
  • Develop incident response plans that cover a wide range of potential incidents, including cyber attacks, natural disasters, and operational disruptions.
  • Conduct regular exercises and simulations to test and improve incident response capabilities.
  • Establish mechanisms for reporting incidents to relevant regulatory authorities as required by DORA.

Governance Arrangements:

The fifth and final pillar of DORA focuses on governance arrangements, recognizing the importance of strong oversight and accountability. To apply this pillar effectively, financial firms should:

  • Establish a clear governance framework that outlines roles, responsibilities, and reporting lines for operational resilience.
  • Ensure board-level engagement and accountability for resilience matters.
  • Regularly review and update governance arrangements to reflect changes in the organization's structure and regulatory requirements.
  • Foster a culture of resilience throughout the organization, encouraging employees to embrace their role in maintaining operational resilience.


Applying the five pillars of DORA to your resilience program is crucial for ensuring operational resilience in the financial sector. By prioritizing business continuity management, robust risk management, cyber resilience, effective incident management, and strong governance arrangements, financial firms can build resilient organizations capable of withstanding and recovering from disruptive events. By aligning with DORA's requirements and implementing best practices, financial firms can not only meet regulatory obligations but also enhance their overall operational resilience.

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