EU Cybersecurity Act: moving forward

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One main objective of the European Cyber Security Act (CSA) is to inform business and consumers about the security of ICT products, processes and services, through certification schemes. Bringing the CSA to life is a slow and complicated process. So what happened in the past year?

EU Cybersecurity Act moving forward, input needed!

Adopted in 2019, in the past year limited and delayed (Covid-19!), yet clear progress has been made regarding the CSA. Morgan Truant, CSA Project Manager at the CCB, reflected this in her clear presentation. The purpose of the act is to establish a union-wide voluntary (possibly mandatory) certification framework that provides common and harmonized cyber security rules and evaluation criteria for ICT products, processes and services. This must result in either a EU certificate or a conformity self-assessment for these products, accepted throughout the Union. Initiative for the underlying certification schemes can be taken by the Commission based on input from third parties, with drafts proposed by the European security agency ENISA, to be discussed and accepted as the next steps.

In practice, bringing the CSA up to speed also requires some local (national) efforts, as the creation of a ‘national cyber security certification authority (NCCA)’. In Belgium, general agreement has been reached to have the CCB perform this function (political decisions still to be made). The CCB will represent Belgium at EU level in the European Cybersecurity Certification Group, issue certificates (or delegate this to a Conformity Assessment Body) and provide supervision (incl. handling of sanctions, complaints and appeals). The NCCA should be established as of June 28th of this year.

Regarding actual schemes, only three are in the works so far. The Common Criteria scheme is furthest along, being in the final stage. It covers certification of ICT products at ‘substantial’ and ‘high’ level, and recuperates work done in previous schemes (SOG-IS CC). The cloud services scheme is in draft and open for external review. The request for 5G networks scheme has been issued but in January of this year. Future schemes will cover Internet of Things and industrial control systems.

Clearly, implementing the CSA is a complex exercise, with major impact on ICT products, processes and services! Therefore, there is an urgent need for input from the professional field. Which certification needs exist? What are the expectations? A ‘need analysis’ is a must. Morgane Truant expressly calls for companies to contact her, as “we need input!”. As a first step, checking out this presentation will provide solid information about the present status of the CSA.

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About the author

Guy Kindermans is a freelance journalist, specialized in information technology, privacy and business continuity. From 1985 to 2014 he was senior staff writer at Data News (Roelarta Media Group).