EU negotiators agree on strengthening Europe's cybersecurity
Last night, the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission have reached a political agreement on the Cybersecurity Act which reinforces the mandate of the EU Agency for Cybersecurity, (European Union Agency for Network and Information and Security, ENISA) so as to better support Member States with tackling cybersecurity threats and attacks. The Act also establishes an EU framework for cybersecurity certification, boosting the cybersecurity of online services and consumer devices.
Proposed in 2017 as part of a wide-ranging set of measures to deal with cyber-attacks and to build strong cybersecurity in the EU, the Cybersecurity Act includes:
-A permanent mandate for the EU Cybersecurity Agency, ENISA, to replace its limited mandate that would have expired in 2020, as well as more resources allocated to the agency to enable it to fulfil its goals, and
-a stronger basis for ENISA in the new cybersecurity certification framework to assist Member States in effectively responding to cyber-attacks with a greater role in cooperation and coordination at Union level.
In addition, ENISA will help increase cybersecurity capabilities at EU level and support capacity building and preparedness. Finally, ENISA will be an independent centre of expertise that will help promote high level of awareness of citizens and businesses but also assist EU Institutions and Member States in policy development and implementation.
The Cybersecurity Act also creates a framework for European Cybersecurity Certificates for products, processes and services that will be valid throughout the EU. This is a ground breaking development as it is the first internal market law that takes up the challenge of enhancing the security of connected products, Internet of Things devices as well as critical infrastructure through such certificates. The creation of such a cybersecurity certification framework incorporates security features in the early stages of their technical design and development (security by design). It also enables their users to ascertain the level of security assurance, and ensures that these security features are independently verified.
Benefits for citizens and businesses
The new rules will help people trust the devices they use every day because they can choose between products, like Internet of Things devices, which are cyber secure.
The certification framework will be a one-stop shop for cybersecurity certification, resulting in significant cost saving for enterprises, especially SMEs that would have otherwise had to apply for several certificates in several countries. A single certification will also remove potential market-entry barriers. Moreover, companies are incentivized to invest in the cybersecurity of their products and turn this into a competitive advantage.