Back in July, the European Parliament adopted the Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems (NIS Directive), which is primarily aimed at enhancing network and information security within the European Union. The NIS Directive officially went into effect in August 2016, and Member States now have 21 months to implement it.
In what represents one of the first concrete steps toward making sure all EU-Member States follow a standard and uniform set of rules when it comes to the security of networks and information systems, the NIS introduces a series of requirements that are going to have to be complied with by operators of critical infrastructures and digital service providers when reporting cyber incidents and when handling cyber-security issues.
Cybersecurity Incident Reporting Requirements
Once this Directive starts being enforced, all Operators of Critical Infrastructures within the European Union, which include organizations in various sectors, such as transport, banking, energy, financial market infrastructure, health, drinking water, and digital infrastructure, as well as Digital Service Providers – including organizations providing cloud computing services, online marketplaces, and search engines – to comply with specific rules when notifying their relevant NIS national authorities of serious cyber-security incidents.
Operators of Critical Infrastructures and Digital Service Providers will have to implement a set of security measures that are appropriate to the risks faced, as well as risk assessment, as part of a culture of risk management which is supposed to be promoted by authorities in each Member State through the introduction of appropriate regulatory requirements.
The requirements that will apply to Operators of Critical Infrastructures and to Digital Service Providers include immediately notifying the NCA or the CSIRT about any “significant” or “substantial” incident, along with informing the relevant authorities on their own security policies that are designed to ensure the security of networks and information systems.
National NIS Strategies, Single Points of Contact and National Competent Authorities
The NIS Directive will make it mandatory for Member States to develop national NIS strategies, form National Competent Authorities (NCA) and Single Points of Contact (SPoC), and assign specific NIS tasks to Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs).
This requirement is part of the efforts for enhancing the cross-border cooperation when it comes to cyber incidents, in a bid to improve the overall cyber security across the European Union.
NIS Directive and Incident Response
With the introduction of the NIS Directive, all organizations that it applies to will need to have a platform that provides an orchestrated Incident Response and helps prepare reports for the investigation that follows each incident.
Given that this type of platform will become mandatory, businesses affected by this Directive are advised to start exploring the market for orchestrated incident response platforms as soon as possible.
One of the greatest benefits of using such a platform is that it has the ability to enhance the entire incident response process and all security operations, allowing businesses to meet the best practices and criteria recommended by Gartner, among others. One of Gartner’s recommendations refers to implementing SOAR technologies by:
- Consolidating data and extracting actionable insight from a variety of intelligence sources and existing security technologies
- Prioritizing risk and security operation activities in the context of your attack surface and business
- Automating security processes to reduce resource drain and threat response times
- Enabling full SOM coverage by strategically combining SOAR technologies