Cyber Essentials is a UK government-supported scheme that equips businesses to protect themselves against most cyberattacks. Certification for the scheme is open to organisations of any size, industry, or location.
Basic versions cost around £300 + VAT and include automatic cyber liability insurance coverage (terms may apply). A certified assessor then conducts a technical audit of your systems.
Basic security controls
Cyber Essentials are a set of basic technical controls that businesses of all sizes should adhere to. This framework includes firewalls, secure configurations, antivirus protection, malware protection, and access control, which should help shield them against 80% of the cyber attacks that small and midsized enterprises face.
These controls can be implemented for relatively little cost and are designed to protect organisations against the most frequently employed cyberattack techniques. Furthermore, they offer an initial solid foundation of security measures that can later be improved upon or extended upon, further strengthening your cyber defences.
Implementing these five key controls will reduce the chances of cyberattacks and help minimise data breaches, providing your organisation with adequate protection. They should easily fit into existing systems and processes, providing sufficient protection.
Cyber Essentials certification not only protects your business but also serves to demonstrate that you take cybersecurity seriously and can be trusted by suppliers. Many contracts involving the handling of sensitive or personal information require this certificate, making it unlikely that those without it will even be considered for bids.
Cyber essentials certification provides clear benefits to any organisation, showing customers and rivals alike that your organisation prioritises customer security. In addition, having this certificate may increase contract opportunities while decreasing supply chain disruption risk.
Cyber essentials certification can be achieved quickly and efficiently; simply self-assess using an online questionnaire or use an external assessor for an audit. Once complete, annual renewal only takes minutes. To ensure optimal results, it is best to choose an assessor with experience in both IT and OT (operational technology) requirements.
Cyber essentials certification is a UK government-supported scheme designed to help organisations protect themselves against common cyber attacks and protect data and systems. Companies achieving cyber essentials certification must implement five technical controls such as firewalls and patch management; additionally, this certificate shows your commitment to cybersecurity while opening doors to government contracts, including those from the Ministry of Defence or local governments that require Cyber Essentials certification.
The five cyber-essential security controls include boundary firewalls, secure configurations, access controls, malware protection, and patch management, each designed to offer protection from common forms of cyber attacks and help businesses minimise any impact a sophisticated attack might cause.
An internet-facing firewall acts as a virtual barrier between your network and the outside world, blocking incoming threats by filtering incoming traffic with rules for filtering incoming traffic and allowing only authorised staff access to systems and data within. A boundary firewall works similarly in that only certain devices from inside can connect through it to ensure maximum protection of internal networks from threats such as hackers.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is another crucial security measure, employing multiple means for accessing accounts such as passwords, SMS, and biometrics, helping keep systems and data safe from attackers.
Anti-virus and malware software provide another layer of technical control by helping to keep viruses off your system, especially if your business handles sensitive information. Antivirus and malware programmes also make cyberattacks much harder to succeed in their mission.
In order to attain certification, it will require both a self-assessment questionnaire and an external vulnerability scan. While each organisation’s process varies slightly, most are usually fast and simple. Once payment has been received for the assessment, you will receive login details from IASME.
Cybersecurity has become an integral component of business success for both large and small companies. Cyberattacks present an ongoing risk to any organisation connected to the internet; however, with some simple strategies such as keeping software updated and having properly configured firewalls in place, it should be possible to combat them successfully. The National Cyber Security Centre offers a scheme called Cyber Essentials that can help businesses protect themselves.
The basic requirements of the scheme for an organisation include installing anti-malware software, restricting user accounts, and ensuring strong passwords are in place. Routers and firewalls must also be configured to reduce the risks of malware infection by setting rules like intrusion prevention filtering systems to filter intruders; all external devices should also have password-protected firmware for added protection against potential intrusion attempts; log and monitor network access; and ensure users only gain access to the data they need from within them.
Additionally, it’s wise to implement a password policy with deny lists, expiration dates, and multi-factor authentication; this will help ensure that common types of passwords don’t fall into hackers’ hands. Finally, it is crucial that organisations create an incident response plan and process for managing any breaches impacting them and their business operations.
Once an organisation has all of the policies in place, they can apply for certification. While certification may take some time to receive, the certification body will review applications carefully to ensure they comply with requirements set by their scheme; typically, this process includes site visits and audits of IT infrastructure.
CloudTech24 can assist organisations with the certification process for Cyber Essentials certification, from helping them understand its requirements to defining what elements of their IT infrastructure may or may not fall under its scope for certification, followed by the submission of an SAQ to be assessed by an IT Governance Cyber Essentials assessor.
Introduced by the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Centre in 2014, Cyber Essentials allows organisations of any size to protect themselves against common cyber attacks by strengthening password strength and other authentication measures, installing firewalls, training staff in cybersecurity best practices, and training them accordingly. Furthermore, the certification scheme offers automatic cyber liability insurance coverage for companies with annual turnover below £20 million (terms apply).
To achieve Cyber Essentials certification, first complete a self-assessment questionnaire and submit it to a technical audit from one of the certified bodies. For those unfamiliar with cybersecurity or possessing complex business structures, self-assessment questions may prove confusing. To assist such entities, the Cyber Essentials Toolkit was created, designed specifically to make sense of such questions and provide guidance to pass your assessment successfully.
To become certified, your organisation must demonstrate that it has met five basic standards. These standards include tests to confirm that internet browsers and email providers are properly configured to prevent the execution of fake malicious files, while cloud services used within your business must also be registered with Cyber Essentials, as this helps validate that someone has taken responsibility for managing security across them all, regardless of who provides them.
Once you’ve passed the assessment, your organisation will be awarded with a Cyber Essentials certification body’s certificate, valid for one year and showing your name on a list of certified organisations on the NCSC website. In order to demonstrate to customers that cybersecurity is taken seriously by your organisation, It is also recommended to display its badge prominently on websites and marketing materials so as to show customers they care.
Benefits of becoming Cyber Essentials certified can include increased data security and reduced cyberattack risks, improved chances of winning new business and contracts, attracting investments and funding, and improving your reputation with potential customers who take data security seriously.