Untangling the Tangled Web of Cybersecurity Disclosure Requirements: A Practical Guide

June 5, 2018

The consequences of a cybersecurity incident can be severe. The economic loss associated with an incident can often be compounded by reputational damage, loss of trade secrets, destruction of assets, operational impairment, lost revenue following the announcement of the cybersecurity incident and the expense of implementing remedial measures.

The timing and content of any public communication about a suspected or confirmed cybersecurity incident can exacerbate this loss and have a significant impact on the trading price of the issuer’s securities. The disclosure considerations become even more complex when a company is subject to overlapping, and potentially conflicting, regulatory obligations in multiple jurisdictions, including the United States and the European Union (“EU”). This issue is now at the forefront with the EU’s new data security and privacy regime, the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), which became effective on May 25, 2018.

In this memorandum, we provide an overview of the key U.S. and EU legal regimes concerning the disclosure of cybersecurity incidents from the perspective of a U.S. company subject to the disclosure requirements of multiple jurisdictions.