TISAX Compliance


What is TISAX?

In the rapidly digitizing automotive industry, where innovation intertwines with a vast network of data exchanges, Trusted Information Security Assessment Echange (TISAX) has become a beacon of robust data protection and cybersecurity. Initiated by the German association of the automotive industry (Verband der Automobilindustrie, or VDA), TISAX is a specialized standard focusing on the protection of the automotive industry's sensitive data. This framework goes beyond conventional regulations, becoming a vital asset that builds trust and integrity among manufacturers and suppliers.

Unlike generic standards, like the NIST CSF or GDPR, TISAX carves its niche, exclusively catering to the automotive sector, embodying a combination of universally accepted cybersecurity practices with industry-specific nuances, ensuring that participants operate in a secure ecosystem. Embracing TISAX isn't merely about adherence, it's about navigating a journey toward achieving and showcasing a pinnacle of data security excellence within the automotive industry.

Who must comply with TISAX?

Understanding the entities that fall under the scope of TISAX is paramount. Entities that must comply include:

  • Vendors working with the German automotive industry: Any vendor, regardless of size or location, who processes, stores, or manages sensitive information. Sensitive information in this context includes: vehicle designs, prototypes, specifications, customer and employee details (like contact information and health records), business data (financials, contracts, market research), intellectual property, and security data (passwords, encryption keys).
  • Entities handling identifiable data: This includes data that could identify individuals or vehicles, such as customer and employee details, technical specifications, or any other data related to product development and manufacturing processes. Additionally this category also includes third-party service providers, marketing agencies, and subcontractors who might access or process this data on behalf of the manufacturer.
  • Suppliers of automotive parts: Businesses supplying components or services vital to automobile manufacturing are included. This also encompasses prototype protection (physical prototypes like vehicles, components, and parts). Prototypes, especially those classified as requiring high or extra protection, fall under sensitive information as they are intellectual property.
  • IT and software providers: Organizations that offer technological services and solutions to the German automotive sector. This includes handling information of relevant value to the organization, which might be sensitive due to its nature or the context in which it is used.

While TISAX places a focused lens on the automotive industry, distinguishing it from broader certifications like ISO 27001, its core aim remains: to ensure the protection of sensitive data, by promoting trustworthy and robust collaborations within the industry. For many in the automotive industry, especially when working with German manufacturers, TISAX compliance is seen as a mandatory standard to meet.

Consequences of TISAX non-compliance

Organizations need to be aware of various outcomes that can result from not following TISAX rules:

  • Financial ramifications: Although there are no fines specified in TISAX, the broader loss comes from the potential loss of lucrative business opportunities. These losses are apparent when partners and collaborators require TISAX compliance.
  • Increased cybersecurity risks: Not adhering to TISAX standards exposes your company to heightened cybersecurity threats and potential data breaches. These incidents can result in legal liabilities, substantial financial losses, or customer dissatisfaction due to compromised data security.
  • Operational disruptions: Non-compliance may necessitate corrections, leading to disruptions in regular operations. Such interruptions can delay projects and increase operational costs.
  • Legal consequences: Data breaches resulting from non-compliance can be detrimental to operations, and invite legal action or scrutiny.
  • Internal audits and remediation actions: Non-compliance might trigger internal audits or corrective measures from your management or shareholders. These actions aim to improve your information security posture and ensure alignment with industry best practices.
  • Reputational harm: TISAX is widely recognized within the automotive industry. Failing to meet its standards could tarnish an organization's standing, diminishing trust among industry peers and clients.

Pursuing TISAX compliance is more than just ticking a box; it involves aligning with industry best practices, safeguarding organizational reputation, and securing a place in an ever-competitive marketplace.

TISAX requirements for compliance

TISAX compliance evaluates organizations across different maturity levels. Each maturity level signifies the stage of process implementation and consistency. The following criteria can help understand the requirements better:

Maturity level 0: Incomplete

  • Principle: At this stage, there is no process to comply with TISAX or it fails to meet its objectives.
  • Evidence required: No specific documentation is expected.

Maturity level 1: Performed

  • Principle: Processes are present, but they lack comprehensive documentation. However, there is tangible evidence that they fulfill their purpose.
  • Evidence required: Documentation with supporting information confirming process outcomes.

Maturity level 2: Managed

  • Principle: The organization has processes that consistently meet their goals, backed by proper documentation.
  • Evidence required: Process documentation, and evidence of process execution.

Maturity level 3: Established

  • Principle: Processes are standardized and integrated seamlessly into the broader system, and implemented consistently over time.
  • Evidence required: Process documentation, plans, quality records, relevant policies, standards, and proof of process execution.

Maturity level 4: Predictable

  • Principle: Established processes are in place, with continuous monitoring. Metrics are set to evaluate process effectiveness, demanding adjustments when necessary.
  • Evidence required: Process documentation, control and improvement plans, measurement plans, and evidence of process execution.

Maturity level 5: Optimizing

  • Principle: Processes are not only predictable but also focused on continuous improvement, with dedicated resources ensuring advancement.
  • Evidence required: Process improvement and measurement plans, along with evidence of process implementation.

Organizations must align their processes with these maturity levels, producing evidence as indicated to be TISAX compliant. Proper documentation and consistent process evidence are vital for compliance.

Additionally, certain thematic areas form the pillars of TISAX compliance:

Information security requirements:

Fostering a secure digital environment is a core component of TISAX. This involves:

  • Ensuring only authorized access to sensitive data.
  • Swiftly managing any security anomalies.
  • Adopting solid network defense measures like firewalls and regular vulnerability checks.
  • Continuously training employees on the latest security best practices.

Data protection requirements:

Data security is crucial to maintaining stakeholder trust and regulatory compliance. We should ensure its protection by:

  • Properly labeling and safeguarding data based on its sensitivity.
  • Encrypting data at every stage.
  • Judiciously retaining and disposing of data to ensuring security.
  • Frequently evaluating potential risks associated with data activities.

Prototype protection requirements:

For sectors where initial designs hold immense value, like the automotive industry, prototype design and storage must be treated with the utmost security by:

  • Physically protecting prototypes in controlled environments.
  • Safeguarding any digital components against breaches.
  • Using non-disclosure agreements to ensure confidentiality.
  • Leveraging tracking systems to detect unauthorized engagements.

Following these recommendations help strengthen an organization's standing for TISAX compliance. This overview provides a foundational understanding of TISAX compliance areas, but organizations should review the complete TISAX criteria for comprehensive requirements.

TISAX roadmap

  • Initiation: Kick-start your journey by registering on the ENX portal. Dive deep into the intricate layers of the TISAX assessment scope, recognizing the critical importance of your information security management system (ISMS).
  • Determine objectives: Carve out clear-cut assessment objectives that align with the information security sssessment (ISA) criteria catalogue. For instance, managing high-protection-needs information aligns with the ISA criteria catalogue.
  • Self-assessment: Analyze the readiness of your ISMS, with a spotlight on your maturity levels. Remember, each objective mirrors a specific ISA criteria catalogue.
  • TISAX labels: Familiarize yourself with the subtle distinctions between assessment objectives and TISAX labels. Assessment objectives are specific goals or targets set during the TISAX assessment process, based on the ISA criteria catalogue. These objectives focus on various aspects of information security management. On the other hand, TISAX labels are the outcomes or certifications awarded after successfully meeting these assessment objectives, symbolizing your organization's compliance level with TISAX standards. Initiate with defining clear assessment objectives, and understand that achieving these will result in obtaining TISAX labels.
  • Result sharing: Leverage the ENX portal for seamlessly sharing the results within the automotive ecosystem.
  • Maintenance phase: Periodically revisit your objectives, and persistently align with TISAX clauses.

Successfully navigating the TISAX compliance roadmap displays an organization’s dedication to information security, solidifying trust and collaboration in the automotive sector.

TISAX best practices: A checklist

  • Establish information security and data protection policies: Draft clear and detailed policies on information security and data protection that highlight your organization's stance and strategies for securing information.
  • Define organizational structure: Specify roles and responsibilities for information security and data protection. If necessary, appoint a data protection officer, ensuring they are seamlessly integrated into the organizational framework with adequate capacities and resources.
  • Data protection by design: Incorporate data protection principles at the early stages of designing systems and operational activities. Set default configurations to emphasize data protection.
  • Limit data retention: Retain personal data strictly for its intended duration and purpose. Establish and enforce data deletion policies, and periodically assess the data in storage.
  • Implement access control: Ensure that access to information assets is restricted based on roles and responsibilities. Use strong authentication mechanisms and regularly review access permissions.
  • Plan for incident management: Draft and implement a comprehensive incident response plan. Should there be a security breach or incident, ensure readiness for swift containment, mitigation, and recovery.
  • Regularly review and audit: Conduct regular audits and reviews of the organization's information security practices. Ensure that controls are effective and updated as necessary to address emerging threats and challenges.

Tip: Using a log management solution can help you collectively keep up with the best practices to comply with TISAX.

TISAX: Key rules to consider

Control number Objectiven Compliance recommendations
4.1.2 Only securely identified (authenticated) users can gain access to IT systems. For this purpose, the identity of a user is securely determined by suitable procedures.
  • Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all IT systems.
  • Use strong password policies enforced through system configurations.
  • Use SIEM to monitor failed login attempts and alert on suspicious activities.
4.1.3 Access to information and IT systems is provided via validated user accounts assigned to a person. It is important to protect login information and to ensure the traceability of transactions and accesses.
  • Establish a user access management (UAM) process for account creation, modification, and deprovisioning.
  • Implement automatic session logoffs for inactivity.
  • Use automated tools to track and report on user access activities, ensuring traceability.
4.2.1 The management of access rights ensures that only authorized users have access to information and IT services. For this purpose, access rights are assigned to user accounts.
  • Implement role-based access control (RBAC).
  • Conduct regular access reviews and revoke unnecessary permissions.
  • Use SIEM to audit access rights and identify any privilege escalations or misuse.
5.2.4 Event logs support the traceability of events in case of a security incident. This requires that events necessary to determine the causes are recorded and stored. In addition, the logging and analysis of activities in accordance with applicable legislation (e.g. Data Protection or Works Constitution Act) is required to determine which user account has made changes to IT systems.
  • Ensure centralized log management with adequate retention policies.
  • Integrate logs into SIEM for real-time analysis and correlation, ensuring compliance.
  • Automate alerts on unauthorized changes or anomalous activities.
5.2.7 IT systems in a network are exposed to different risks or have different protection needs. In order to detect or prevent unintended data exchange or access between these IT systems, they are subdivided into suitable segments and access is controlled and monitored by security technologies.
  • Implement network segmentation using firewalls or VLANs.
  • Monitor inter-segment traffic to detect and alert any unauthorized or suspicious data flows.
  • Regularly review and update network access rules.

Comply with TISAX with EventLog Analyzer

TISAX, tailored exclusively for the automotive industry, imposes stringent data protection and cybersecurity mandates. ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer, fortifies your chance of achieving and maintaining key TISAX requirements.

EventLog Analyzer excels in facilitating compliance by offering comprehensive log management capabilities. It meticulously collects, monitors, and analyzes logs from a multitude of sources, (including Windows, Unix and, Linux systems, databases, applications, network devices, and cloud infrastructure). By doing so, it acts as a robust safeguard, ensuring security of IT systems, a requirement emphasized under TISAX control objectives.

With real-time monitoring and in-depth analysis, EventLog Analyzer ensures the traceability of transactions and accesses, a key metric in TISAX compliance. It amplifies data protection through its expertise in managing and auditing access rights, thus guaranteeing that only authorized users navigate the information and IT services.

In conclusion, leveraging EventLog Analyzer goes beyond fortifying your organization’s data security infrastructure and ensures that your organization demonstrates commitment to unparalleled data security excellence in the automotive industry.