NIS2: From impending doom to effective measures

Winter is coming: The motto of House Stark from the series “Game of Thrones” indicates the approach of an undefined disaster. One could also surmise something similar when reading many articles that are intended to set the mood for the upcoming NIS2 Implementation Act (NIS2UmsuCG). Is NIS2 a roller of ice and fire that will bury the entire European IT landscape and from which only those who attend one of the countless webinars and follow all the advice can save themselves?

NIS2 as such is merely a directive issued by the EU. It is intended to ensure the IT security of operators of important and critical infrastructures, which may not yet be optimal, and to increase cyber resilience. Based on this directive, the member states are now called upon to create a corresponding law that transposes this directive into national law.

What is to be protected?

The NIS Directive was introduced by the EU back in 2016 to protect industries and service providers relevant to society from attacks in the cybersphere. This regulation contains binding requirements for the protection of IT structures in companies that operate as critical infrastructure (KRITIS) operators. These are companies that play an indispensable role within society because they operate in areas such as healthcare services, energy supply and transport. In other words, areas where deliberately caused disruptions or failures can lead to catastrophic situations – raise your hand if your household is equipped to survive a power outage lasting several days with all its consequences…

As digitalisation continues to advance, the EU had to create a follow-up regulation (NIS2), which on the one hand places stricter requirements on information security, but on the other hand also covers a larger group of companies that are “important” or “particularly important” for society. These companies are now required to fulfil certain standards in information security.

Although the NIS2 Directive was already adopted in December 2022, the member states have until 17 October 2024 to pass a corresponding implementing law. Germany will probably not make it by then. Nevertheless, there is no reason to sit back. The NIS2UmsuCG is coming, and with it increased demands on the IT security of many companies and institutions.

Who needs to act now?

Companies from four groups are affected. Firstly, there are the particularly important organisations with 250 or more employees or an annual turnover of 50 million euros and a balance sheet total of 43 million euros or more. A company that fulfils these criteria and is active in one of the following sectors: energy, transport, finance/insurance, health, water/sewage, IT and telecommunications or space is particularly important.

In addition, there are the important organisations with 50 or more employees or a turnover of 10 million euros and a balance sheet total of 10 million euros. If a company fulfils these criteria and is active in one of the following sectors: postal/courier, chemicals, research, manufacturing (medical/diagnostics, IT, electrical, optical, mechanical engineering, automotive/parts, vehicle construction), digital services (marketplaces, search engines, social networks), food (wholesale, production, processing) or waste disposal (waste management), it is considered important.

In addition to particularly important and important facilities, there are also critical facilities, which continue to be defined by the KRITIS methodology. Federal facilities are also regulated.

What needs to be done?

In concrete terms, this means that all affected companies and institutions, regardless of whether they are “particularly important” or “important”, must fulfil a series of requirements and obligations that leave little room for interpretation and must therefore be strictly observed. Action must be taken in the following areas:

Risk management

Affected companies are obliged to introduce comprehensive risk management. In addition to access control, multi-factor authentication and single sign-on (SSO), this also includes training and incident management as well as an ISMS and risk analyses. This also includes vulnerability management and the use of vulnerability and compliance scans.

Reporting obligations

All companies are obliged to report “significant security incidents”: these must be reported to the BSI reporting centre immediately, but within 24 hours at the latest. Further updates must be made within 72 hours and 30 days.


Companies are obliged to determine for themselves whether they are affected by the NIS2 legislation and to register themselves within a period of three months. Important: Nobody tells a company that it falls under the NIS2 regulation and must register. The responsibility lies solely with the individual companies and their directors.


It is not enough to simply take the specified precautions; appropriate evidence must also be provided. Important and particularly important facilities will be inspected by the BSI on a random basis, and appropriate documentation must be submitted. KRITIS facilities will be inspected on a regular basis every three years.

Duty to inform

In future, it will no longer be possible to sweep security incidents under the carpet. The BSI will be authorised to issue instructions to inform customers about security incidents. The BSI will also be authorised to issue instructions on informing the public about security incidents.


Managing directors are obliged to approve risk management measures. Training on the topic will also become mandatory. Particularly serious: Managing directors are personally liable with their private assets for breaches of duty.


In the past, companies occasionally preferred to accept the vague possibility of a fine rather than making concrete investments in cyber security measures, as the fine seemed quite acceptable. NIS2 now counters this with new offences and in some cases drastically increased fines. This is further exacerbated by the personal liability of managing directors.

As can be seen, the expected NIS2 implementation law is a complex structure that covers many areas and whose requirements can rarely be covered by a single solution.

What measures should be taken as soon as possible?

Continuously scan your IT systems for vulnerabilities. This will uncover, prioritise and document security gaps as quickly as possible. Thanks to regular scans and detailed reports, you create the basis for documenting the development of the security of your IT infrastructure. At the same time, you fulfil your obligation to provide evidence and are well prepared in the event of an audit.

On request, experts can take over the complete operation of vulnerability management in your company. This also includes services such as web application pentesting, which specifically identifies vulnerabilities in web applications. This covers an important area in the NIS2 catalogue of requirements and fulfils the requirements of § 30 (risk management measures).


There is no single, all-encompassing measure that will immediately make you fully NIS2-compliant. Rather, there are a number of different measures that, taken together, provide a good basis. One component of this is vulnerability management with Greenbone. If you keep this in mind and put the right building blocks in place in good time, you will be on the safe side as an IT manager. And winter can come.