The European Union’s Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems (NIS Directive) was adopted in 2016. It aimed to achieve a high common level of cyber security across EU member states. The recently approved NIS2 Directive (Directive (EU) 2021/2034), which began enforcement in January 2024, builds on the foundation laid by its predecessor. It broadens the scope of the original legislation to encompass a wider range of entities across various sectors considered critical to the Union’s economy and society. This blog article will explore how organisations can leverage Automated Cyber Resilience Testing and NIS2 compliance. We will also delve into the advantages of Automated Cyber Resilience Testing (ART) over traditional penetration testing and red teaming methodologies, highlighting its cost-effectiveness and ability to assess resilience against real-world threats. Finally, we will explore how tools, like Validato, can be a valuable for organisations seeking to automate cyber resilience testing and achieve NIS2 compliance.

NIS2 and its Cyber Resilience Testing Requirements

NIS2 imposes a stricter cyber security regime on organisations across essential sectors. These include:

  • Energy
  • Transport
  • Postal services
  • Digital infrastructure providers
  • Manufacturers of essential entities (e.g., manufacturers of medical devices)
  • Public administration
  • Waste and wastewater management

According to EY, NIS2 will affect some 150,000 organisations in the EU, excluding UK based organisations who will face similar legislation shortly.

One of the core pillars of NIS2 compliance is the requirement for organisations to regularly assess and test their cyber security posture. This includes:

  • Identifying and evaluating cyber risks
  • Implementing appropriate technical and organisational risk mitigation measures
  • Regularly testing the effectiveness of implemented controls

The emphasis here is on regular testing. NIS2 recognises that cyber threats are constantly evolving, and a static, one-time cyber security assessment is insufficient. Organisations must continuously monitor and improve their defences.

Here’s a table summarising the key NIS2 requirements for cyber resilience testing:

Requirement Description
Regular testing Organisations must conduct regular penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.
Third-party testing Testing requirements also extend to key third-party suppliers.
Risk-based testing The scope and frequency of testing should be commensurate with the organisation’s cyber risk profile.
Supply chain resilience      Organisations are responsible for ensuring the cyber resilience of their supply chains.

How Automated Cyber Resilience Testing Solutions Can Ensure NIS2 Compliance

Organisations can leverage ART solutions to streamline their NIS2 compliance efforts. ART offers several advantages over traditional manual testing approaches:

  • Cost-effectiveness: ART automates repetitive testing tasks, significantly reducing the time and resources required compared to manual testing.
  • Scalability: ART solutions can be easily scaled to accommodate the testing needs of large and complex organisations.
  • Frequency: ART enables organisations to conduct regular, automated tests, ensuring continuous monitoring of their cyber security posture.
  • Consistency: ART delivers consistent and repeatable testing, eliminating the variability associated with manual penetration testing.
  • Standardisation: ART facilitates the implementation of standardised testing procedures across the organisation.

By incorporating ART into their cyber security strategy, organisations can achieve and maintain a state of continuous compliance with NIS2’s testing requirements.

Why Automated Cyber Resilience Testing is Superior to Traditional Penetration Testing and Red Teaming for NIS2 Compliance

While penetration testing and red teaming have long been the cornerstones of cyber security testing, ART offers several advantages:

  • Cost-effectiveness: As mentioned earlier, ART automates repetitive tasks, reducing the need for expensive human expertise required for manual testing.
  • Speed: ART can execute tests significantly faster than manual methods, enabling organisations to identify and address vulnerabilities more quickly.
  • Scope: ART solutions can be designed to test a wider range of vulnerabilities and controls than traditional methods.
  • Repeatability: ART enables consistent and repeatable testing, ensuring a more comprehensive assessment of an organisation’s cyber resilience.
  • Focus on Resilience: ART goes beyond identifying vulnerabilities to assess an organisation’s ability to withstand and recover from cyber attacks.

Traditional testing methodologies are valuable but can be time-consuming, resource-intensive, and limited in scope. ART offers a more efficient and effective way to achieve the objectives mandated by NIS2.

The Importance of Testing Resilience against Known Threats

A critical aspect of NIS2 compliance is testing resilience against real-world threats, not just vulnerabilities. While identifying vulnerabilities is essential, it is equally important to assess how these vulnerabilities can be exploited by attackers and the potential impact on the organisation.

ART solutions can be configured to simulate real-world attack scenarios, allowing organisations to test the effectiveness of their security controls in a controlled environment. This enables organisations to identify weaknesses in their incident response plans and improve their overall cyber posture.

How does Validato aide NIS2 compliance?

Validato is an Automated Cyber Resilience Testing platform that uses real-world threat simulations to test and validate cyber resilience and security control effectiveness against known threat scenarios.  IT and Information Security teams can easily use Validato to safely test likely threat scenarios, like Ransomware threats, and get unbiased results on the organisation’s ability to detect and block threats.  These findings can be immediately addressed with remediation advice and procedures to harden controls around key security gap areas and the data can be monitored over time to ensure that once a state of resilience against likely known threats has been attained, that the state of resilience remains within acceptable parameters.

For more information regarding NIS2 compliance and Automated Cyber Resilience Testing, contact Validato for an obligation-free discussion.