New York Department of Financial Services
Cybersecurity Regulations

The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) began the enforcement of a new set of cybersecurity regulations for the banking, insurance, and financial sectors operating within the state of New York. The regulations were designed to encourage the development of durable processes and procedures necessary to protect customer data and underlying information technology systems.

23 NYCRR 500 went into effect on March 1, 2017 and specifically applies to ‘covered entities’, those defined as “any Person operating under or required to operate under a license, registration, charter, certificate, permit, accreditation or similar authorization under the Banking Law, the Insurance Law or the Financial Services Law.”

For those organizations attempting to verify their supervision under 23 NYCRR 500, NYDFS has provided a search form and the key dates associated with each milestone.

Supporting organisations in implementing data classification
Utilize data classification to assist in 23 NYCRR 500 compliancy

As discussed in our blog entry (Data Classification and 23 NYCRR 500), numerous cybersecurity regulations are intended, and ultimately designed, to achieve the same result – effective security throughout the data life cycle. Data classification is a cornerstone capability in any mature data governance program that not only support compliance efforts but also provides the degree of transparency necessary for effective management. Recognizing the need for a solid data governance foundation, NYDFS codified data classification into the new regulation.

Section 500.03 of 23 NYCRR 500 calls for the covered entity (typically the CISO) to create and maintain a Cybersecurity Policy with associated procedures “for the protection of its Information Systems and Nonpublic Information stored on those Information Systems”. Specifically, Section 500.03 (b) calls for ‘data governance and classification’ to be included on those policy areas approved by a Senior Officer or the Covered Entity’s board of director s (or an appropriate committee thereof) or equivalent governing body.

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Boldon James Classifier provides application of metadata and visual markings to Non-Public Information (NPI) allowing downstream processes and solutions the ability to apply controls and characteristics as stipulated in 23 NYCRR 500. NPI is defined in 23 NYCRR 500, Section 500.01(g).

Boldon James visual markings and metadata labels provide:

  • Event reporting and inclusion in Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems for event alerting and management transparency
  • Expression of retention policy settings in documents ensuring that the required minimum and maximum retention periods are applied
  • Support for the secure disposal on a periodic basis of any NPI as identified 500.01(g)(2)-(3)
  • Application of encryption techniques to NPI

Supporting organisations in implementing data classification
Supporting organisations in implementing data classification

The key tasks organisations must complete to comply with 23 NYCRR 500 include:

  • Appointment a CISO (if one isn’t already in place)
  • Perform risk assessments (which must be kept up to date on an ongoing basis)
  • Document all organisational policies and procedures
  • Perform penetration testing and vulnerability assessments
  • Train all staff on a regular basis
  • Monitor your assets and create audit trails
  • Limit user privilege
  • Securely destroy unnecessary data

Key components necessary to achieve and maintain 23 NYCRR 500 compliancy

Key components necessary to achieve and maintain 23 NYCRR 500 compliancy:

  • Creation and ongoing management of a Cybersecurity Program
  • Creation of a Cybersecurity Policy
  • Designation of a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
  • Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Assessments
  • Audit Trail – Maintain audit trail designed to reconstruct material financial transaction
  • Implement and monitor ‘Least Privilege’ for access to nonpublic information
  • Establish a written Incident Response Plan (IRP)
  • Evaluation of Third-Party Service Providers and their security policies
  • Perform Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Risk Assessments
  • NYDFS Breach Notification (72 hrs.)
  • Annual Compliance Certification signed by the Chairperson of the BOD or Senior Officer(s)

Supporting organisations in implementing data classification
Supporting organisations in implementing data classification

A key area the new regulation looks to cover is the implementation of cybersecurity leadership through organizations by designating a qualified individual to serve as the CISO. This elected individual will be tasked with overseeing and enforcing the firm’s cybersecurity program and policy. Each organization will also need to implement regular staff training to cover specific cybersecurity risk areas.

The stipulations of the new regulation make sure organizations have detection, defense and response capabilities, including regulatory reporting as well as penetration testing. Just like other new regulations, such as the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), organizations must report any cyber security incidents to the DFS as promptly as possible (no later than 72 hours post incident).

So how do organizations ensure they are compliant with 23 NYCRR 500? Evaluating the cybersecurity changes that may be required within the organization with the senior management team, including the CISO and board of directors is a good place to start.

Boldon James Ltd, Cody Technology Park, Ively Road, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 0LX, United Kingdom