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Blog — Dec 12, 2018

GDPR privacy and cybersecurity: EU flips to the other side of the same coin

3 minutes read
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Approved this week, the European Parliament and European Commission have agreed to the Cybersecurity Act which not only cements the mandate of the EU Agency for Cybersecurity, but creates the first framework for connected-device cybersecurity certification. This Act sees the EU bookend 2018 with spring-time groundbreaking privacy legislation in the form of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), and now close out the year with complementary cybersecurity legislation.

With permanent mandate, the EU Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) plays a pivotal role in the European Cybersecurity Certificate for products, processes and services. The cyber analog to traditional physical (think electrical and radio frequency) type of certifications, now brings the GDPR philosophy of security by design (Article 25) to connected products in the Internet of things. It’s the CE mark of smart devices. The certification assures security is a key ingredient of design and development, and assures that security features and promises are independently verified.

Read: Factsheet on ENISA and the EU framework for cybersecurity certification

With interconnected devices, ubiquitous Internet access to traditionally non-information bearing devices (think kitchen appliances, door locks, baby monitors, etc.) poses a significant risk of cybercrime when improperly configured or used. And most consumers are grossly unaware of the potential risks. In fact, in our 2018 FutureWatch report that presents the cyber views and trends of 1,250 global security leaders, we documented the growing cyber risk presented by IoT/IIoT devices as the number two risk, just behind the adoption of artificial intelligence and ahead of cloud services. 

Other countries are adopting GDPR-like data protection regulations and legislation. The Canadian Breach of Security Safeguards Regulations of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) came into effect in November, along with Brazil’s General Data Protection Law (read the IAPP’s analysis), and Japan’s Act on the Protection of Personal Information (PIPC). In the United States, California's Consumer Privacy Act 2018 (CCPA) leads Ohio, Colorado and Louisiana planning similar laws. These countries have yet to adopt anything similar to the IoT equivalent of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification. 

Like privacy and security legislation before it, many companies will ignore the Cybersecurity Act assuming it doesn’t affect them, only to discover that it does. Moreover, many companies may opt to sit back and wait for enforcement actions to hone their cost versus benefits model.  Perhaps most vulnerable to cyberattacks, many smaller and midsized organisations don’t think they would be the target of a breach-causing attack or transgression under the Act, and therefore fail to invest to prevent a risk which is all too real. 

Companies will likely have to expend significant resources to move towards compliance. So, what should organisations be doing to prepare for these new regulations? First, acknowledge that your business is because you control the assets that criminals target. And, with the new certification, connected device vendors must encode security proteins into the product DNA if they are to be sold or operated in the European Union. 

 Where should you start?

There is time. But like other laws, ignorance is no excuse. As we’ve experienced with data breaches, the organisations that aren’t prepared and then experience a business altering event will likely take far too long to discover the violation, then struggle to resolve the issue, and end up fined under the new act. 

To understand how cyber criminals target organisations like yours, contact eSentire’s European headquarters and we can arrange for you to visit our Europe-based Security Operations Center (SOC) in Cork, Ireland. We can show you exactly how we help our EU-based clients protect their data and meet complex regulatory standards.

 Just because the European Union has established key standards on both sides of the privacy-security coin, doesn’t mean you should flip one to determine if these new rules apply to you.

To help organizations understand their own security maturity and ability to defend against cyberattacks, eSentire offers a new Business Risk Index Tool. The free assessment is based on simple questions that provide enterprises with a snapshot of where and how their security approach stacks up in general and relative to comparable organizations. An accompanying report, Cybersecurity FutureWatch 2018, explores security evolution and maturity amid emerging technology adoption and evolving business needs.

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eSentire is the Authority in Managed Detection and Response, protecting the critical data and applications of 1500+ organizations in 80+ countries from known and unknown cyber threats. Founded in 2001, the company’s mission is to hunt, investigate and stop cyber threats before they become business disrupting events. Combining cutting-edge machine learning XDR technology, 24/7 Threat Hunting, and proven security operations leadership, eSentire mitigates business risk, and enables security at scale. The Team eSentire difference means enterprises are protected by the best in the business with a named Cyber Risk Advisor, 24/7 access to SOC Cyber Analysts & Elite Threat Hunters, and industry-leading threat intelligence research from eSentire’s Threat Response Unit (TRU). eSentire provides Managed Risk, Managed Detection and Response and Incident Response services. For more information, visit www.esentire.com and follow @eSentire.