Sheltered Harbor is a not-for-profit industry-led initiative founded by 34 financial institutions, clearing houses, core processors and industry associations, collectively representing a significant percentage of the retail banking and brokerage accounts in the U.S.
The people who make up Sheltered Harbor are mostly volunteers from our founding members, who share their expertise and work efforts. These volunteers provide their ideas and raw content to enhance the Sheltered Harbor Specification. A small, dedicated team of experienced leaders make up the central Sheltered Harbor organization.
Sheltered Harbor protection is voluntary. While there are no current regulations that require the extra protection of consumer accounts, industry leaders have determined that it is prudent to do so. If your organization wants to use the Sheltered Harbor standards, then you should go to our Join section and start the process to become a Participant. (If you are a consumer, then you should contact your financial institution to discuss their consumer account protection offerings.)
The Sheltered Harbor Specification provides participating institutions with detailed information required to be Sheltered Harbor compliant for retail banking and brokerage accounts. To be 'Sheltered Harbor Ready', a participating institution must confirm that it has completed their implementation of the Sheltered Harbor account protection (data vaulting) process in accordance with the specification, and regular data vault logging must be in place.
Sheltered Harbor is a not-for-profit, industry-led effort. Participation in Sheltered Harbor is open to US financial institutions, service providers and industry associations. Fees will depend on the size and type of institution. More details are available in the Fees Page.
There are several documents that could help you promote becoming a member of Sheltered Harbor.
These are available for download by using the links above.
Yes, you must join to receive the full benefits of Sheltered Harbor protection and Sheltered Harbor certification. Most significant here is that your organization must prepare to address a Sheltered Harbor incident, similar to how you prepare for a fire or other disaster. Your Service Provider cannot do this for you. The Sheltered Harbor Specification and How-To Guides, which detail what you need to prepare and how to implement a quick restoration of services, are only available to Sheltered Harbor Participants.
The following providers have announced their intention to provide Sheltered Harbor capabilities to their clients:
If you do not see your provider, please contact them directly. They may have joined Sheltered Harbor, but not yet made public announcements.
If your provider has not yet joined Sheltered Harbor, please send us a note to info@ShelteredHarbor.org with their contact information and we will reach out to them about joining this initiative.
Please note that in order to receive these services from your provider, you will need to join Sheltered Harbor. More details may be found in the Join Us page.
The short answer is: Join Sheltered Harbor and you will be granted access to the Sheltered Harbor Content site.
The Sheltered Harbor Specification is only available to Sheltered Harbor Participants. All Participants have access to the Sheltered Harbor Content site, which contains the Sheltered Harbor Specification, as well as all of the working papers of the Sheltered Harbor Working Groups. There you can follow new developments, and collaborate with industry peers on how we are extending Sheltered Harbor standards to improve resilience for access to consumer account data.
The Sheltered Harbor Specification does not require specific vendors' hardware or software. Most companies should be able to use off the shelf solutions to meet the specification. The Sheltered Harbor Content Portal includes the Sheltered Harbor Specification, as well as reference implementations, which illustrate examples of how some early adopters have delivered against the spec.