NIS Directive



6 July 2016


European Parliament and the Council of the European Union


The Directive on security of network and information systems (NIS Directive) is the first piece of EU-wide legislation on cybersecurity. It provides legal measures to boost the overall level of cybersecurity in the EU. The NIS Directive was adopted by the European Parliament on 6 July 2016 and entered into force in August 2016. Member States have to transpose the Directive into their national laws by 9 May 2018 and identify operators of essential services by 9 November 2018.

The NIS Directive provides legal measures to boost the overall level of cybersecurity in the EU by ensuring:

  • member states’ preparedness by requiring them to be appropriately equipped, e.g. via a Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) and a competent national NIS authority;
  • cooperation among all the Member States, by setting up a cooperation group, in order to support and facilitate strategic cooperation and the exchange of information among Member States. They will also need to set a CSIRT Network, in order to promote swift and effective operational cooperation on specific cybersecurity incidents and sharing information about risks;
  • a culture of security across sectors which are vital for our economy and society and moreover rely heavily on ICTs, such as energy, transport, water, banking, financial market infrastructures, healthcare and digital infrastructure. Businesses in these sectors that are identified by the Member States as operators of essential services will have to take appropriate security measures and to notify serious incidents to the relevant national authority. Also key digital service providers (search engines, cloud computing services and online marketplaces) will have to comply with the security and notification requirements under the new Directive.

In view of the impending deadlines for its transposition into national legislation (by 9 May 2018), and for the identification of operators of essential services (by 9 November 2018), the Commission adopted on 13 September 2017 a Communication that aims at supporting Member States in their efforts to implement the Directive swiftly and coherently across the EU. The “NIS toolkit” provides practical information to Member States, e.g. by presenting best practices from the Member States and by providing explanation and interpretation of specific provisions of the Directive to clarify how it should work in practice.