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SAMA Cyber Security Framework

The current digital society has high expectations of flawless customer experience, continuous availability of services and effective protection of sensitive data. Information assets and online services are now strategically important to all public and private organizations, as well as to broader society. These services are vital to the creation of a vibrant digital economy. They are also becoming systemically important to the economy and to broader national security. All of which underlines the need to safeguard sensitive data and transactions, and thereby ensure confidence in the overall Saudi Financial Sector.

The stakes are high when it comes to the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information assets, and applying new online services and new developments (e.g. Fintech, block chain); while improving resilience against cyber threats. Not only is the dependency on these services growing, but the threat landscape is rapidly changing. The Financial Sector recognizes the rate at which the cyber threats and risks are evolving, as well as the changing technology and business landscape.

SAMA established a Cyber Security Framework (“the Framework”) to enable Financial Institutions regulated by SAMA (“the Member Organizations”) to effectively identify and address risks related to cyber security. To maintain the protection of information assets and online services, the Member Organizations must adopt the Framework.

The objective of the Framework is as follows:
1. To create a common approach for addressing cyber security within the Member Organizations.
2. To achieve an appropriate maturity level of cyber security controls within the Member Organizations.
3. To ensure cyber security risks are properly managed throughout the Member Organizations.

The Framework will be used to periodically assess the maturity level and evaluate the effectiveness of the cyber security controls at Member Organizations, and to compare these with other Member Organizations.

The Framework is based on the SAMA requirements and industry cyber security standards, such as NIST, ISF, ISO, BASEL and PCI.

The Framework supersedes all previous issued SAMA circulars with regard to cyber security. Please refer to ‘Appendix A – Overview previous issued SAMA circulars’ for more details.