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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Marsh

Understanding DOL Cybersecurity Guidance: Best Practices for Retirement Plans

As daily processes continue to become more digitized and as cybercrime continues to rise, cybersecurity has become a significant concern for plan sponsors and those in the retirement industry. Retirement plans are a popular target for cyber attackers aiming to steal confidential data and hard-earned money. To combat this issue, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released guidelines to help improve cybersecurity practices and safeguard retirement plans. Join us as we take a closer look at understanding the DOL cybersecurity guidance and why cybersecurity is a critical component of retirement plans.

Businessman and woman following DOL cybersecurity guidance working together with technology. There is an overlay of the image with digital nodes all around the word "security"

The Importance of Retirement Plan Cybersecurity

Corresponding to the DOL cybersecurity guidance, the DOL also distributed a news release explaining their decision. In it, they stated the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) estimates there is $9.3 trillion in retirement plan related assets. Combine this with the fact retirement plans contain large amounts of highly sensitive personal and financial information (such as social security numbers and employment information), it’s no wonder that cybercriminals see them as a prime target. As the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) explains, “in today’s current environment, it’s not a matter of if, but when, a plan will come under attack, because most benefit plans and service providers now rely on technology to expedite transactions that used to occur only on paper.”

Understanding DOL Cybersecurity Guidance

The DOL cybersecurity guidelines outline best practices to safeguard against cyber threats. The following are recommended practices for developing a strong cybersecurity program.

Conduct Regular Risk Assessments

It is crucial to evaluate and identify potential cybersecurity risks regularly. This involves assessing the effectiveness of security controls, identifying vulnerabilities, and addressing any gaps in your cybersecurity defenses.

Establish a Strong Access Control Process

Limiting access to sensitive participant data is essential. By implementing strong authentication processes, such as multi-factor authentication, and regularly reviewing user access privileges, you ensure only authorized individuals can access information.

Conduct Periodic Cybersecurity Training

Education and training play significant roles in preventing cyberattacks. Regular training sessions for employees and service providers help enhance their understanding of cybersecurity risks and best practices.

Group at conference table in a cybersecurity meeting going over DOL cybersecurity guidance

It's important that your team understands how to follow best practices when it comes to DOL cybersecurity guidance.

Perform Due Diligence on Service Providers

When working with service providers, it is crucial to conduct due diligence. This involves evaluating their cybersecurity policies and practices, including how they protect participant data. Contracts with service providers should also include provisions for cybersecurity responsibilities and incident response.

Have a Secure Incident Response Plan

In the event of a cybersecurity incident, having a well-defined incident response plan is essential. This plan should include steps to mitigate the incident, communicate with affected parties, and remediate any vulnerabilities.

By following DOL cybersecurity guidance, you create a secure environment for retirement plans. It is important to stay vigilant, regularly review and update cybersecurity measures, and collaborate with industry experts to adapt to evolving threats.

Ensure Best Practices are Followed with a CEFEX Certified Partner

RPCSI is CEFEX certified. What does this mean? It means you can rest assured knowing we follow industry best practices for retirement plan administration. By prioritizing cybersecurity, RPCSI helps to create a secure environment for retirement plans, safeguarding data from cyber threats.

Don't leave the security of your retirement plans to chance. Choose a CEFEX certified partner like RPCSI and cement the success of your retirement plan. Want to learn more about how credentials like CEFEX certification impact your retirement plan outcome? Download our guide to retirement industry certifications and learn what sets RPCSI apart from other service providers.

Call to action for downloading RPCSI's Retirement Plan Administrator Certifications Guide.


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