EU Regulation NIS2: Don't Get Caught Off Guard!

26/06/2024 by Alexander Summerer

Today, where a single data breach can cripple a company's reputation and operations, cybersecurity has become a top priority. Recognizing this urgency, the European Union has implemented the NIS2 Directive to fortify defenses of critical infrastructures and essential services. However, stricter regulations bring new challenges for businesses unsure of how to comply.

I want to cut through the confusion in this blog post, briefly explaining how NIS2 impacts your organization and how you can leverage Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to meet the requirements without breaking the bank. Let's get started!

The European Union's NIS2 Directive (EU 2022/2555) is here to tighten cybersecurity for critical infrastructures and essential services. This means many companies across the EU need to act to comply – and avoid hefty fines!

Who is Affected?

NIS2 significantly broadens the scope of entities considered critical for societal and economic functions. In Germany alone, approximately 29,000 additional companies fall under its purview. Entities classified as "essential" or "important" in sectors like energy, transport, finance, health, postal services, and digital services must comply with NIS2. Moreover, providers of DNS services, top-level domain name registers, and operators of public electronic communications networks are included, regardless of size.

What are the Penalties for Non-Compliance?

Companies that fail to meet NIS2 requirements face serious consequences. Fines can reach up to €10 million or 2% of global annual revenue for "essential" entities. Additionally, company executives may be held personally liable. Given these severe repercussions, investing in robust cybersecurity measures is crucial.

How to Comply: Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Effective access control is foundational to cybersecurity. NIS2 mandates robust access control mechanisms to prevent unauthorized access to local PCs, remote access via VPN, and cloud-based applications. Many EU member states, including Germany, specify MFA as a requirement for secure access control.

MFA enhances security by requiring users to provide multiple forms of verification, combining knowledge factors (e.g., passwords) with possession or biometric factors (e.g., smartphones, smartcards, USB tokens). While smartphone-based MFA solutions use apps, SMS, or email to send access codes, hardware-based solutions like USB tokens offer superior security and cost-effectiveness.

Why Choose USB Tokens for MFA?

While smartphone-based MFA is an option, USB tokens offer several advantages:

  • Superior Security: Hardware tokens are less vulnerable to hacking than phones.
  • Lower Cost: Equipping your workforce with tokens is cheaper than using individual phones.
  • Easier Management: USB tokens are simpler to integrate with company policies.

The iShield Key series from Swissbit offers robust, cost-effective security for NIS2-compliant access to websites, applications, services, and corporate networks. It provides phishing-resistant authentication and is compatible with FIDO & FIDO2 standards (and even more), ensuring top-tier security and flexibility.

This blog post only scratches the surface of NIS2 and MFA compliance. Our free White Paper dives deeper into the regulation and how to implement secure, cost-effective MFA solutions using USB tokens.

Download our White Paper to Learn More!

P.S. While national regulations are still evolving, the core of NIS2 applies directly from October 18, 2024, even if not yet transposed into national law. Be prepared!