The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) and the Computer Emergency Response Team for the EU Institutions, Bodies and Agencies (CERT-EU) are pleased to announce the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed by ENISA and CERT-EU on 15th February, was announced on the occasion of the 13th CSIRTs Network meeting. The agreement is the successful outcome of extensive and fruitful discussions triggered by the Cybersecurity Act to identify and enhance the synergies between the two organisations. With a view to better fulfil their respective mandates, this MoU sets the frame for supporting each other’s work and achieve a higher degree of efficiency.
EU Agency for Cybersecurity Executive Director, Juhan Lepassaar, said: “The agreement ENISA signed with CERT-EU is a stepping-stone in utilising our synergies to the benefit of EU Member States and the EU Institutions, Agencies and Bodies. I am confident that this collaboration will build and enhance capabilities and preparedness to prevent, detect and respond to cyber threats and incidents at Union level.”
The Head of CERT-EU, Saâd Kadhi, commented: “We are proud of this achievement, which sets the path for a greater collaboration between our two organisations, to better serve our respective constituencies. Our structured cooperation comes at a time where the EU and its Member States need to strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities more than ever.”
Why a Memorandum of Understanding?
The agreement comes about as an effort to create meaningful, mutually beneficial synergies between both organisations. Possible overlaps or duplication of activities will be prevented. The agreement will thus directly feed into the ongoing, Union-wide efforts to improve the efficiency and the effectiveness of the EU cybersecurity framework and its actors. This will also allow more value for money to be gained for EU citizens, taxpayers and the respective constituencies of both organisations.
What is the scope of the agreement?
The structured cooperation follows the provisions of Article 7.4 of the Cybersecurity Act. This article allows for ENISA and CERT-EU to explore and take advantage of synergies. The cooperation shall cover those activities, which are necessary to assist Member States and EU Institutions, Bodies and Agencies in the following areas:
- Capacity Building
- Operational Cooperation
- Knowledge and Information.
Where does the cooperation stand now and what happens next?
The structured cooperation will be implemented on the basis of an Annual Cooperation Plan (ACP), which describes joint activities and projects and their implementation requirements, in line with the provisions of the work programme of each party.
ACPs will be developed under the supervision and subject to the approval of the governing bodies of each organisation, namely the Management Board of ENISA and the Steering Board of CERT-EU. All relevant stakeholders as well as Member States’ CSIRTs and the EU Institutions, Bodies and Agencies will be consulted for that purpose.
Who does what?
Considering that both organisations deal and engage in activities in the field of cybersecurity at European Union level, a distinction needs to be made between the roles and responsibilities of ENISA and those of CERT-EU.
CERT-EU’s mission is to contribute to the security of the information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructures of all European Union Institutions, Bodies and Agencies (‚the constituents‘) by helping to prevent, detect, mitigate and respond to cyber-attacks.
CERT-EU acts as a cybersecurity information exchange and incident response coordination hub for all the European Union Institutions, Bodies and Agencies. It gathers information on threats, vulnerabilities and incidents in order to alert its constituents when necessary. In addition, in case of cyber incidents, CERT-EU is responsible for coordinating the response across the entire constituency.
Reinforcing the capacity of all European Union Institutions, Bodies and Agencies to deal with cyber-threats and vulnerabilities against their ICT infrastructures remains a high priority as functioning ICT networks and systems are critical to their ability to fulfil their missions.
The role of ENISA is to support operational cooperation among Member States, Union Institutions, Bodies, Offices and Agencies. ENISA is mandated to ensure that an effective cooperation framework is in place among the operational actors within the Union in case of large-scale cross-border cyber-attacks and crises. ENISA provides the secretariat of the CSIRTs Network and supports its work by offering advice.
The Agency also responds to ad-hoc requests for assistance from Member States and provides information and analysis to support policy-makers to ensure that cybersecurity is embedded across all domains of EU policy. The work of the Agency also entails helping and guiding Member States to implement the relevant legislation. It is meant to provide strategic foresight and intelligence on cyberthreats. The Agency contributes to situational awareness and shares information and knowledge with relevant stakeholders and investigates solutions to boost the efficiency of cyber responses in critical industries across Europe.
The CSIRTs Network is a network composed of EU Member States’ appointed CSIRTs and CERT-EU. The European Commission participates in the network as an observer and ENISA acts as the secretariat. The CSIRTs Network contributes to developing confidence and trust between the Member States and to promoting swift and effective operational cooperation.
13th CSIRTs Online Network Meeting on 2-3 March 2021
ENISA topics: CSIRT Services