Picture this: you are the CEO of a company that’s dealing with a ransomware attack and now you’re being told that, on top of dealing with your company being shut down for a number of days, you may also be facing fines. Not just your company, but you yourself as well, as you may be held personally responsible and legally liable if gross negligence can be proven.
This may sound extreme to some, but once the national legislations around the Network and Information Systems Directive 2 (NIS2) are finalized, this can become your reality.
NIS2 has been in effect since January 2023, with a deadline of October 2024 for EU member states to publish and implement policy. Not only does NIS2 dictate new, stricter cybersecurity guidelines, but if European legislators can prove gross negligence, fines for both your company and you as the CEO of the company will be quite significant.
With worst case scenario fines going up to 7 million euros (or 4% of annual income), it’s obvious there is something substantial at stake here. We’re not just talking about the fines though; however high they might be. NIS2 can actually help you prevent data breaches that could cost your organization much more in operational losses.
In this quick guide to NIS2 compliance, we’ll explore the essentials of NIS2 and cover some general tips and tricks on how to best prepare for policy to come.
NIS2 highlights robust security measures, incident reporting, and cross-border cooperation. It is increasing cybersecurity requirements throughout Europe and labels a large number of organizations as “essential businesses”. In total, NIS2 will affect some 160,000 organizations across Europe.
Violating NIS2 guidelines leads to fines and if your company is found in violation, it could lead to other serious consequences. Just like with the GDPR privacy law, that also addresses personal responsibility in case of negligence, European legislators believe that CEOs and supervisors have a big responsibility toward their customers, employees and partners. Failure to live up to that responsibility should be punishable, Europe says.
How to prepare for NIS2 legislations
Though the legislations aren’t set in stone yet, we know enough to suggest a number of steps you can already take to help prepare you for what’s to come.
Here’s four key areas you should take a look at:
- Risk Assessment: Conduct thorough risk assessments tailored to the specific operations and infrastructure, identifying vulnerabilities relevant to your organization’s context.
- Security Policies: Develop and implement security policies and procedures aligned with NIS2 guidelines, ensuring the protection of information systems and critical infrastructure.
- Staff Training: Provide comprehensive staff training to ensure everyone comprehends the importance of NIS2 compliance and adheres to cybersecurity standards.
- Incident Reporting: Establish a protocol for prompt incident reporting according to NIS2 requirements, ensuring a coordinated response to cybersecurity incidents.
Put the focus on prevention
One approach to NIS2 and other new regulations is to lament the extra work, training and cost that these stricter guidelines will bring. But why not to see it as a golden opportunity to take your cybersecurity to the next level?
NIS2, just like the similar European Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA), emphasizes prevention of cyber incidents. That actually makes a lot of sense. By putting the focus on prevention, you not only make compliance with these specific regulations easier now, it will also make compliance with new ones easier in the future. Most importantly, it will improve your overall cybersecurity posture.
You will get something good out of this
Though legislations talking about fines and personal accountability may come across as overwhelming or scary, the introduction and finalization of regulations like NIS2 and DORA are the perfect incentive to get ahead of the game and get your cybersecurity in order. The journey to compliance may present challenges, it is none the less vital for maintaining and optimizing your cybersecurity posture, and thus ensuring cyber resilience in this digital age.
NIS2 impact assessment
The assessment helps identify gaps in cybersecurity measures and ensures you can take the necessary steps to meet NIS2 requirements.
By conducting the assessment, you can proactively address any gaps and make informed decisions to improve your cybersecurity.
For more information on NIS2 compliance, refer to official EU NIS2 guidelines and sector-specific resources. If you want to get a head start, our NIS2 Impact Assessment helps identify gaps in cybersecurity measures and ensures that you can take the necessary steps to meet NIS2 requirements.