Cyber Essentials is a government-backed security scheme. It’s split into two different certificates which are awarded by the National Cyber Security Centre. In this post, we’ll cover how businesses can achieve the certification and the benefits of having it.
What is Cyber Essentials?
Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus are two certificates that show an organisation is committed to cyber security. To pass each of them, businesses must prove that their network has met the required levels of security.
Organisations are assessed on certain security controls that must be in place within their IT systems. They need to show that they’re addressing cyber security concerns effectively and are reducing the risk that’s posed by ever-changing threats.
Some of the areas that businesses need to address are boundary firewalls, malware protection, access control and patch management.
Despite the Cyber Essentials Plus certificate being particularly challenging to achieve, there are many good reasons to have it.
The Benefits of Cyber Essentials for Your Business
1. Show Your Customers How Seriously You Take Security
Having a Cyber Essentials certificate shows your existing and prospective customers how seriously you take cyber security. It allows your business to display outwardly that you’ve taken a proactive stance and you’re taking steps to develop a robust strategy.
Consumers want to know that they can trust you with their data. 54% of respondents to a DMA survey listed trust in an organisation as the main reason they’ll agree to share personal data. Cyber Essentials is a great way of establishing this trust and proving that you have the protocols in place to safeguard their sensitive information.
2. Carry Out an Internal Audit and Improve Security Across the Whole Business
To be successful, businesses need to have their systems assessed and prove they have certain protocols in place. At the start of this process, many businesses realise they don’t actually meet the criteria with their existing setup.
This is a great opportunity to carry out an extensive audit of your internal security. Every system and machine offers a potential way into your network for cyber criminals, so it’s vital you carry out a thorough audit to see where there are current gaps that need patching.
You’ll analyse who has administrative access to systems, whether or not you have a robust password policy and check to see if rolling patching processes are in place.
In meeting the criteria set out by Cyber Essentials, you’ll improve cyber security across the whole business and significantly reduce the chance of breaches taking place.
3. Bid for Government Contracts
To improve cyber security at all levels, the government now requires businesses to have both the Cyber Essentials certificates if they want to bid for government contracts. All prospective contractors and suppliers have to have the certificate, otherwise, they’ll be unable to bid for future work.
These contracts are usually very valuable and sought after by businesses across a wide range of sectors. Failing to secure the certificates gives your competitors the edge and prevents you from entering a lucrative market.
Getting Started with Cyber Essentials
Completing Cyber Essentials Plus can be particularly difficult for businesses. Depending on your existing security protocols, you may need to reconfigure systems to meet the level required. Password policies and system patching procedures need to be updated and improved if necessary.
Ensuring everything is up to the required standard can be a time-consuming process. You might have an idea of the current gaps and what needs to change, but you don’t have time to make those improvements in addition to your usual daily tasks and challenges.
This is why many organisations turn to an MSP when they’re applying to Cyber Essentials. An MSP can take the application process off your hands and carry out a full analysis to determine the steps that need to be taken before you can be successful. This allows you to concentrate on other tasks while the MSP makes improvements in the background.
At BCN, we know how complex this process can be. That’s why when one of our clients is aiming for the Cyber Essentials Plus certificate, we assign a dedicated engineer onto the project. It’s their responsibility to make sure the process is a success, providing updates and expert advice to ensure you take the best course of action.
To help you get started, we've create a Cyber Essentials brochure that outlines the plans available and how BCN Group can help secure your business.