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NIS2: Boosting OT Security in a New Regulatory Landscape

The impact of NIS2 on OT environments

The European Union (EU) has recently updated its network and information security regulations with the publication of the NIS2 directive. This significant change broadens the range of sectors and organizations that the directive applies to. Additionally, it brings more precise definitions of which sectors are affected. As a result, organizations now need to thoroughly review and enhance their existing security measures in both Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) to comply with these new standards.

The European Union published the Network and Information Security Directive on December 27, 2022. This directive establishes a legal regulatory framework, which the individual member states of the EU are required to incorporate into their national laws by October 17, 2024. It is the responsibility of each member state to define specific minimum requirements.

This is especially important for detailing the sectors affected and setting threshold values.

It is already highly likely that the number of affected organizations will increase significantly - experts agree that there are over 100,000 organizations in Europe that will fall under these new rules.

In the future, organizations will be legally required to maintain a high level of network and information security, ensuring ongoing quality. This applies to all systems and components vital for delivering critical services, including IT, OT, embedded systems, data centers, and others. Organizations must consider several key aspects:

  • Information Security Guidelines & Organizational Structure: This involves setting up a structured process organization to manage information security.
  • Risk Analysis: Adopting a proactive approach to identify, classify, and assess risks, using a standardized process.
  • Active Provider Management: Managing risks associated with third-party ICT providers and supply chains.
  • Technical Measures: Implementing physical security, conducting penetration tests, network segmentation, and ensuring robust authentication, authorization, and logging to detect security-relevant events.
  • Organizational Measures: Handling security-relevant events effectively, continuously improving processes, and conducting regular security checks and audits.

All measures under the NIS2 directive must be verifiable by the state supervisory authorities of the respective EU member states. This legal requirement extends not only to directly affected organizations but also to those in their supply chain. As a result, NIS2 mandates a clear audit mechanism and audit procedures for outsourced services. It's crucial for every organization to assess whether they are directly or indirectly impacted by the NIS2 directive at this stage.

The EU places the responsibility for complying with NIS2 at the management level of each organization. Penalties for non-compliance are significant, ranging from fines comparable to those under the GDPR to the possible temporary suspension of management personnel.

it is expected that there will be no technological differentiation in these requirements. This means that measures for ensuring network and information security across IT, OT, and embedded systems are likely to follow the same rules and undergo similar inspection procedures by the supervisory authority.

Implementation of the NIS2 requirements

Implementing the NIS2 directive's network and information security standards in Operational Technology (OT) environments presents significant challenges. These environments are complex, often composed of diverse legacy systems, proprietary technologies, and a web of interconnected devices. Adding to the complexity is the varying levels of security maturity across many industrial systems. Identifying these levels is a critical first step in developing or upgrading to a security architecture that allows for consistent security monitoring.

As your committed partner, Orange Cyberdefense offers comprehensive support in fortifying cyber security for industrial systems. Our specialized OT security assessments are designed to help your organization align with the NIS2 directive and other security standards. These assessments provide a clear understanding of operational risks and deliver practical, actionable recommendations. Our focus is on enhancing the security of people, processes, and technology components.

For more detailed information, we invite you to visit our Industrial Security Assessments page.

Strategic Approaches to Network Design and Integration

Under the NIS2 directive and other security standards, safeguarding networks and assets, particularly for critical infrastructure, is a vital security mandate. Our strategic network design addresses this need by considering the growing integration of IT and OT, along with the adoption of new technologies like 5G and the increased use of mobile systems in industrial settings. We assist businesses in deploying defense-in-depth architectures, which include effective segmentation of IT and OT networks and the tailored implementation of micro-segmentation for OT networks.

Recognizing the dynamic nature of cybersecurity threats, we place a strong emphasis on the human aspect of security. We offer security awareness training to help staff recognize and respond to potential attacks.

Our managed firewall service adopts a risk-based approach, providing strong protection and timely detection of threats, augmented by virtual patching and swift incident response when needed. Additionally, our proactive managed endpoint security service delivers robust malware prevention and detection, along with policy creation and efficient threat management.

With our Secure Access Service Edge solution and Zero Trust Network architecture, Orange Cyberdefense provides secure management of access to your company's network and assets.

For more detailed information, please visit our Industrial Cybersecurity page at orangecyberdefense.com.

Comprehensive OT Security with Orange Cyberdefense

Organizations need to deeply understand their IT and OT networks to protect assets, detect complex threats, and be ready for security incidents. A key challenge lies in converting technical data into meaningful, security-relevant information and grasping the impact of security events on industrial settings.

Orange Cyberdefense's Managed Industrial Security Services equip you with a comprehensive understanding of your operational technology (OT). Our services help you make well-informed security decisions. We focus on creating and updating a detailed inventory of your OT assets, putting asset data into context, identifying connections and vulnerabilities, and providing specific, actionable recommendations. By integrating threat intelligence and vulnerability intelligence, we enhance your insights and offer a solid foundation for developing a strong OT security program.

For further details, please visit our Managed Industrial Security [identify] section at orangecyberdefense.com.

Moreover, addressing the requirements to minimize operational risks in IT/OT connectivity involves setting up effective threat detection in OT environments without introducing new risks. Understanding security events and their impacts on OT systems is crucial for meeting cybersecurity standards effectively.

For more information on this, visit our Managed Industrial Security [detect] page at orangecyberdefense.com

Conclusion

The NIS2 directive marks a significant overhaul of network and information security standards within the European Union. This directive mandates that industrial environments maintain a consistently high level of security maturity, with a strong emphasis on understanding and managing the impact of security events.

A major challenge for many organizations is the lack of resources and expertise to effectively assess OT risks and handle security events and alerts. This gap often places them far from their core business activities, increasing the need for specialized knowledge and support.

As a result, there is a growing trend among these organizations to seek out competent partners like Orange Cyberdefense. With their expertise in cybersecurity and managed security services, they can help organizations meet the rigorous requirements of the NIS2 directive and ensure robust network and information security.

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