Consistent with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's (OCC) Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2014 that listed cybersecurity as a major risk to banks' safety and soundness, the OCC's Semiannual Risk Perspective for Spring 2015 also identified cybersecurity as a supervisory priority for its examinations. In the 2015 report, the OCC highlighted the importance of an "increased focus of cybersecurity at third-party technology service providers" by its examiners.
OCC regulations presently provide that regulated financial institutions must exercise appropriate and effective oversight of their service providers. Banks cannot avoid cybersecurity compliance by outsourcing various operations to technology providers. The OCC concludes that banks must require their technology providers to maintain appropriate cybersecurity programs designed to detect and respond to cyber-attacks to avoid risk.
Further, OCC guidelines state that banks can require service providers, by contract, to have policies and procedures that will detect cyber-attacks consistent with those required of the banks themselves. Given the difficulty that banks historically have had in including such terms in contracts with providers, banks are facing a perplexing problem of how they can satisfy themselves and the OCC's cybersecurity requirements.
If you have any questions about the content of this Alert, please contact one of the authors listed above or any member of our Data Security & Privacy team.