As IT continues to dominate and dictate international business, fortifying digital defences is paramount. Protecting your business from the devastating consequences of a cyber security breach should be a number one priority for every business.
The good news is that obtaining a Cyber Essentials certification is a simple and easy step to help protect against common threats, improve your business reputation and open up new opportunities. Many organisations don’t know how to take advantage of this official certification and are losing out as a consequence.
Here’s why you need Cyber Essentials, how to secure your business, mitigate risks, and confidently navigate the digital landscape.
What is Cyber Essentials Certification?
Cyber Essentials is a cybersecurity certification designed to strengthen digital defences and protect businesses from evolving cyber-attacks. This certification, developed by the UK government, is widely recognised across industries and provides a standardised framework for businesses to reach a baseline of security measures and protect their digital infrastructure.
The Essential certification aims to enhance overall cybersecurity by addressing fundamental vulnerabilities commonly exploited by cyber attackers. The government-backed research focuses on five areas of technical controls:
- Secure Configuration
- Use Access Control
- Malware Protection
- Patch Management
To achieve certification, businesses typically undergo a straightforward self-assessment process, ensuring that their IT systems and processes align with the established security standards. As the digital landscape evolves, Cyber Essentials provides an adaptable and practical framework, helping organisations to stay ahead of security threats.
As a vital step in today’s digital landscape, obtaining Cyber Essentials certification is a proactive measure to ensure robust IT security and foster long-term business resilience in an ever-evolving digital landscape.
What is Cyber Essentials Plus?
Cyber Essentials Plus is an advanced cybersecurity certification, building upon the foundation of becoming Cyber Essentials certified.
It is a comprehensive assessment that rigorously tests an organisation’s cybersecurity measures, ensuring a higher level of protection against less common cyber threats. This certification evaluates the implementation and effectiveness of controls, covering areas such as configuration, user access control, and malware protection.
Cyber Essentials Plus certification provides businesses with a more sophisticated defence. An organisation must have already achieved the fundamental certification to apply for a technical audit to confirm the additional certification using the official certification body. This more complicated assessment means any businesses with Cyber Essentials Plus are held to a higher security standard to help protect data and prevent a breach.
Key Benefits of Cyber Essentials Certification
Enhanced Protection Against Common Cyber Attacks
Cyber Essentials provides businesses with a coordinated defence strategy by emphasising five critical technical controls. These five controls—firewalls, secure configuration, user access control, malware protection, and security update management—are specifically designed to thwart common threats, such as phishing scams. By addressing these fundamental elements, organisations establish a comprehensive shield against malicious activities, safeguarding operations and critical systems.
Compliance and GDPR Readiness
Cyber Essentials plays a pivotal role in aligning businesses with GDPR requirements, offering a structured approach to be ISO 27001 compliant. The certification ensures that organisations adhere to data protection regulations, reducing the risk of legal consequences. By implementing and putting these security controls in place, businesses not only fortify internal security against cyber threats but also mitigate legal complications related to cyber liability insurance, reducing the risk of a fine.
Eligibility for Government Contracts
When securing government contracts or working with public sector organisations, having a basic Cyber Essentials certificate is usually a prerequisite. Government agencies prioritise suppliers and partners with robust cybersecurity measures in place. By achieving Cyber Essentials certification, businesses position themselves as trustworthy and reliable partners for government contracts, opening doors to new opportunities and collaborations.
Building Trust with Customers and Partners
Cyber Essentials also serves as a tangible testament to a business’s commitment to protecting its clients. This assurance encourages trust among customers and partners, demonstrating a proactive approach to protecting their sensitive information. Certified organisations strengthen relationships and enhance their reputations by visibly investing in a long-term security strategy.
Competitive Advantage in the Marketplace
Getting certified provides businesses with a competitive edge. As IT security concerns become increasingly sophisticated, many clients prioritise partners with proven technical controls in place. Cyber Essentials sets businesses apart by showcasing a proactive and practical approach to security. This advantage attracts clients and positions a business as an industry leader.
How to Get Cyber Essentials Certified
Cyber Essentials certification is a pivotal step for businesses aiming to fortify their digital defences.
Follow this step-by-step guide to navigate the certification process effectively:
1. Pre-Assessment Review
Conduct an initial internal assessment to identify existing security measures and potential gaps. Working with an IT support company can help efficiently and effectively analyse your IT without judgment and using professional expertise.
2. Select a Certification Body
Choose a reputable official body, such as Iasme, accredited by the UK government to conduct the Cyber Essentials assessment.
3. Review and Implement Security Controls
Focus on key areas outlined by the Official Cyber Essentials scheme. Work on implementing the five elements and any necessary changes to align with the requirements to demonstrate a commitment to cyber security.
4. Documentation and Evidence Gathering
Compile evidence demonstrating compliance with security controls, such as configuration screenshots, access control policies, internet-based records, and software update records.
5. Self-Assessment Submission
Complete the assessment questionnaire provided by the certification body detailing the implemented security measures in place.
6. Professional Support Engagement
Consider partnering with a third-party IT support company with expertise in Cyber Essentials accreditation to ensure a smooth process.
7. Continuous Adherence
Work with an IT support partner to establish ongoing security practices and basic security controls, ensuring continuous adherence to Cyber Essentials principles.
Periodically renew the certification to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to security best practices and continue to protect your organisation.
Achieving Cyber Essentials Plus
Attaining Cyber Essentials Plus involves an additional on-site assessment by a qualified assessor. This will include a simulated cyber attack to evaluate real-time effectiveness and responsiveness. Businesses seeking additional certification from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) usually collaborate with professional IT support for comprehensive support to meet infrastructure requirements.
Is your business protected? Find out more today.
Obtaining Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus Certifications is your business’s key to a fortified digital defence. Enhance your cybersecurity resilience, instil customer trust, and safeguard sensitive data to GDPR standards with the confidence and peace of mind that comes with taking cyber security seriously.
Learn more about your existing security and get a quote on how to improve your cyber security and join the Cyber Essentials scheme by contacting our team of experts today. We’re on hand to ensure your business and clients are adequately protected against modern threats so you can focus on what matters.