The need to constantly review the IT infrastructure and the technological measures in place to safeguard key information assets and data is becoming increasingly important as companies begin to digitise their assets and operations. It is necessary to introduce leading-edge cybersecurity initiatives to counter emerging threats, but this alone is not sufficient to ensure compliance with cybersecurity laws.
One of the main challenges faced by companies operating in the UK is the introduction of a cybersecurity programme that effectively protects against possible attackers and maintains compliance with relevant laws. As there is no single overarching “cybersecurity rule” in the UK, this is rendered more difficult. There are laws that enforce cybersecurity obligations that apply to all companies, and laws that apply to companies that fall under particular sectors and follow unique criteria.
Although the law does not punish businesses for simply falling victim to cyber-attacks, sanctions will be imposed when a business has failed to implement measures to safeguard systems and data from would-be attackers and for inadequate responses to attacks.
The processing of “personal data” in the European Economic Area (“EEA”) is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). In the UK, businesses must also comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 (the “2018 Act”) which gives effect to the GDPR. The introduction of the GDPR and the 2018 Act materially altered the risk landscape for all entities involved in the processing of personal data. Both the GDPR and the 2018 Act require businesses to implement security measures to safeguard the personal data that they process.
Whereas the GDPR is concerned with the security of personal data, the NIS Regulations are concerned with the security of information systems. The NIS Regulations impose cybersecurity-related obligations on operators of “essential services” (such as businesses in the energy, transport and/or health sector) established in the European Union (the “EU”) and “digital service providers” (such as cloud service providers and providers of online marketplaces) that offer services to individuals within the UK.
Enterprises subject to the NIS Regulations are expected to take reasonable and proportionate steps to mitigate the risks to network and information systems and to avoid and minimise the effect of network and information system security incidents.
Effective cyber defence requires professional knowledge of security, contemporary understanding of the threat environment and remediation steps for best practise. It’s time to protect your company intelligently, empower your people and fight the ever-evolving and increasingly disruptive cyber threats you face.
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