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Cybersecurity Program Best Practices
ERISA-covered plans often hold millions of dollars or more in assets and maintain personal data on participants, which can make them tempting targets for cyber-criminals. Responsible plan fiduciaries have an obligation to ensure proper mitigation of cybersecurity risks.
The Employee Benefits Security Administration has prepared the following best practices for use by recordkeepers and other service providers responsible for plan-related IT systems and data, and for plan fiduciaries making prudent decisions on the service providers they should hire. Plans’ service providers should:
- Have a formal, well-documented cybersecurity program.
- Conduct prudent annual risk assessments.
- Have a reliable, annual third-party audit of security controls.
- Clearly define and assign information security roles and responsibilities.
- Have strong access control procedures.
- Ensure that any assets or data stored in a cloud or managed by a third party service provider are subject to appropriate security reviews and independent security assessments.
- Conduct periodic cybersecurity awareness training.
- Implement and manage a secure system development life-cycle (SDLC) program.
- Have an effective business resiliency program addressing business continuity, disaster recovery, and incident response.
- Encrypt sensitive data, stored and in transit.
- Implement strong technical controls in accordance with best security practices.
- Appropriately respond to any past cybersecurity incidents.