Minister Publishes New Cyber Security Guidelines for Operators of Essential Services

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Mr. Richard Bruton T.D. has published new cybersecurity guidelines for operators of essential State services to safeguard against cyber-attacks and other cyber risks.

There are around 70 organisations designated as ‘Operators of Essential Services’ in the State. These are bodies which manage critical infrastructure and are spread across the health, energy, transport, financial services, drinking water and digital sectors.

Minister Bruton said,

“We must ensure that those who operate essential services in the State are protected from hacking and other cyber risks. These new guidelines will ensure that the relevant organisations have the necessary safeguards in place to protect themselves and the people they serve.”

In accordance with the guidelines, operators are required to follow best practice, identifying risks to their systems and putting in place robust protection and detection mechanisms. The guidelines also set out a protocol in relation to responding to a cyber-security incident.

 The guidelines set out a number of principles, which operators are expected to apply when putting in place safeguards. Security measures must be:

  • Effective now and into the future
  • Tailored to the individual organisation’s needs
  • Compatible with organisation’s needs and services it provides
  • Proportionate to the risks
  • Concrete and easy to understand, with clear lines of responsibility
  • Verifiable to ensure the service can provide evidence that the relevant policies have been followed
  • Inclusive

    These guidelines will complement a broader suite of measures for protecting State infrastructure, which will be contained in the new National Cyber Security Strategy which is currently being finalised.

    Minister Bruton said,

    “Internet based technologies are now fully embedded in everything we do. This has huge benefits but brings with it new risks which we must safeguard against. These new guidelines will ensure our essential services operate in accordance with best practice.”