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DOL Steering for Retirement Plan Cybersecurity

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DOL Steering for Retirement Plan Cybersecurity


Earlier this 12 months, the DOL’s Worker Advantages Safety Administration issued cybersecurity steering for retirement plan sponsors, fiduciaries, recordkeepers, and contributors. It lays out the obligations of “accountable plan fiduciaries” to mitigate cybersecurity dangers to retirement plan belongings and participant information. Relating to greatest practices, the DOL steering for retirement plan cybersecurity recommends a three-pronged method:

  1. Ideas for hiring a retirement plan service supplier

  2. Retirement plan cybersecurity greatest practices

  3. On-line safety ideas for plan fiduciaries and contributors

The DOL’s 3-Pronged Cybersecurity Plan

Given in the present day’s heightened cybersecurity dangers, adopting a security-first mindset is crucial for advisors within the retirement plan area. By educating your purchasers concerning the DOL’s cybersecurity expectations, you’ll construct relationships with retirement plan sponsors and enhance the worth you present them.

How are you going to assist defend the belongings and participant information of your retirement plan purchasers? Let’s assessment the specifics of the DOL steering for retirement plan cybersecurity.

1) Ideas for hiring a retirement plan service supplier. Many (if not most) plan sponsors depend on third-party service suppliers for help with plan administration and recordkeeping. You may assist purchasers make the appropriate choice for his or her plans by guaranteeing that they deal with the next greatest practices when vetting third-party distributors:

  • Ask concerning the service supplier’s info safety requirements, practices, insurance policies, and audit outcomes. Your plan sponsor purchasers ought to examine this information with business requirements.

  • Learn the way the service supplier validates its practices and which ranges of safety requirements it has met and applied. Right here, the main focus must be on contract provisions that give the shopper the appropriate to assessment audit outcomes, demonstrating compliance with the usual.

  • Consider the service supplier’s business observe report. Crimson flags would possibly embody info safety incidents, litigation, or authorized proceedings associated to the seller’s companies.

  • Focus on whether or not the service supplier has skilled previous safety breaches. If that’s the case, what occurred? How did the service supplier reply?

  • Discover out whether or not the service supplier has any insurance coverage insurance policies. Would such insurance policies cowl losses attributable to cybersecurity and identification theft breaches?

  • Be sure that the service supplier contract requires ongoing compliance with cybersecurity and knowledge safety requirements. Some contract provisions might restrict the service supplier’s accountability for info safety breaches, whereas different phrases improve cybersecurity safety for the plan and its contributors, together with:

    • Data safety reporting

    • Provisions on the use and sharing of knowledge and confidentiality

    • Notification of cybersecurity breaches

    • Compliance with information retention and destruction, privateness, and knowledge safety legal guidelines

    • Insurance coverage

2) Retirement plan cybersecurity greatest practicesGrowing a coverage based mostly on greatest practices will allow plan fiduciaries to behave prudently and mitigate cybersecurity danger. You should definitely educate your plan sponsor purchasers on the next pillars of coverage:

  • Create a proper, well-documented cybersecurity program to determine and assess inside and exterior cybersecurity dangers that threaten the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of saved, nonpublic info. This system ought to:

    • Pinpoint dangers

    • Present needed safety

    • Determine cybersecurity occasions and reply to them

    • Work to revive operations and companies

  • Set up robust safety insurance policies, tips, and requirements.

  • Conduct annual danger assessments, in addition to periodic cybersecurity consciousness coaching.

  • Carry out an annual third-party audit of safety controls.

  • Outline and assign info safety roles and tasks.

  • Develop robust information entry management procedures.

  • Be sure that any belongings or information saved in a cloud or managed by a third-party service supplier are topic to acceptable safety opinions and impartial safety assessments.

  • Implement and handle a safe methods improvement life cycle (SDLC) program (i.e., a proper means of guaranteeing that satisfactory safety controls are applied).

  • Have an efficient enterprise resiliency program that addresses enterprise continuity, catastrophe restoration, and incident response.

  • Be sure that delicate information is encrypted whereas saved and in transit.

  • Implement robust technical safety options and safety greatest practices (e.g., recurrently replace antivirus software program and again up information).

  • Appropriately reply to previous cybersecurity incidents.

3) On-line safety ideas for plan fiduciaries and contributors. Though the next ideas is likely to be acquainted, retaining them high of thoughts will assist your purchasers and their plan contributors scale back the danger of fraud and loss to their retirement accounts:

  • Register, arrange, and routinely monitor any on-line retirement account.

  • Create robust and distinctive passwords.

  • Use multifactor authentication.

  • Maintain private contact info present.

  • Shut or delete unused accounts.

  • Be cautious of free Wi-Fi.

  • Be within the know relating to indicators of phishing assaults.

  • Use antivirus software program and maintain apps and software program present.

Cybersecurity Consciousness Mindset

In keeping with the DOL steering for retirement plan cybersecurity, the insurance policies described above are designed to assist defend an estimated $9.3 trillion in plan belongings. This huge sum highlights the cyberthreats confronted by your plan sponsor purchasers and their plan contributors. In the event you’re an advisor who helps or acts as a plan fiduciary, you’ve got an obligation to do your half in educating your purchasers relating to cybersecurity. It’s additionally enterprise apply—and a very good strategy to construct relationships with retirement plan sponsors.

For extra info on cybersecurity, learn our latest publish on the significance of cyber legal responsibility insurance coverage. We additionally advocate visiting the Cybersecurity Consciousness Month web site.



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