Cyber Essentials – All You Need to Know

Over the past few years, every business has been talking about Cyber Essentials alongside other IT support services.

However, what exactly is it and how does it benefit your organisation?

Well, here we’ve created a comprehensive guide on Cyber Essentials explaining what it exactly is, what are its core fundamentals and other technical aspects that it entails.

In this article, we’ll be answering every question you’ve had regarding this certificate, that too without any intricate jargon.

So grab a seat, get a cup of coffee and read through this article to understand everything there is to know about Cyber Essentials and what it means for both your business and clients.

Before that…

We Need To Understand If Your Organisation May Be Vulnerable To Potential Threats

Let’s be honest here – on a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you know about your IT services and the importance of having a robust cyber security plan?

Regardless of the fact that many businesses spend around 5.6% of their IT expenses on risk and security management, not many of them actually understand the significance of cyber security; as a result, not many of them know how to keep cyber criminals at bay!

That said, cyber security is not even a priority for many companies until they’ve suffered an attack – in fact, a lot of businesses think that their IT support team has enough knowledge and resources to manage all their IT needs.

While this might sound crazy, simply relying on your in-house IT team to secure your business from potential attacks could cost you more.

What Can Your Business Do To Avoid This Situation?

With the number of cyber crimes growing at a massive rate, as we rely more on the latest technological advancements, your business can’t afford to keep ignoring cyber security till the very end.

Put simply, the popular idiom “It is never too late..” doesn’t really work when it comes to the IT security of your business.

So how do you keep your business secure for potential attacks while also focusing on other mission-critical operations and processes?

Well, this is where Cyber Essentials comes in – and for a good reason!

What is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials is basically a data/information assurance scheme, which encourages businesses to take on good practices for both data integrity and security.

This scheme has been specifically created to make the process of protecting your organisation from potential cyber attacks easier.

You can think of the scheme like this –

Imagine you’re giving your driving test in the hopes of achieving your driving license. Here, your assessor sitting next to you knows what skills are required for you to pass and will use a checklist to decide the same.

So, that way, the company that certifies your business is the “assessor” and Cyber Essentials is their “checklist”.

What Are the Different Cyber Essentials Certifications?

When it comes to Cyber Essentials, there are two types of certifications:

  1. Cyber Essentials
  2. Cyber Essentials Plus

While these might sound more or less the same, there are different ways to achieve them and both offer various benefits to your business; more so with the Cyber Essentials Plus certification.

To comprehend which certification would be perfect for your organisation, however, you need to learn the differences between the two.

Cyber Essentials VS Cyber Essentials Plus – The Difference

With a Cyber Essentials Certification, your business can show the customers and clients that you take cyber security very seriously. On the other hand, with Cyber Essentials Plus, you show how you’re actually doing everything possible from your end to safeguard their sensitive information.

Moreover, when it comes to the Cyber Essentials Plus certification, you need an external company to certify the scheme. However, for the former one, your business can take a self-assessment questionnaire.

Benefits of Cyber Essentials Scheme

Now that you’ve understood the different types of Cyber Essentials certifications and their differences, let’s take a look at some of the benefits offered by these schemes.

  • Since Cyber Essentials is a government-backed cyber security scheme, you get to align your organisation with some of the renowned security standards.
  • As mentioned earlier, Cyber Essentials is by far the most effective way to protect your business from potential cyber threats; not to mention the primary reason behind the decrease in the number of network breaches.
  • Offering you a bird’s eye view of the entire cyber security plan of your business, with this scheme you can easily iron out inadequacies in your IT support practices while also improving your employees overall productivity.
  • This scheme offers 5 Cyber Essentials Controls (i.e. Malware Protection, Access Control, Patch Management, Boundary Firewalls and Internet Gateways, and Secure Configuration) that lower the threat of cyber attacks on your business by nearly 80%.

Building on the last benefit, while 80% might seem like a lot, there are certain companies from whom this percentage isn’t enough. In fact, to bridge this 20% gap and fix the remaining security problems, they may require SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) and SOC (Security Operation Centre).

What Can You Do Post Certification?

Once your business has been Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus certified, you’ll be given the authority to add appropriate logos on your website.

In doing so, your clients and customers can easily identify that you’ve been given the certificate and that you not only take IT security seriously but also take up the responsibility and required solutions to protect yours as well as their sensitive data.

The Bottom Line

In the digital era, and with the majority of businesses shifting online (thanks to the pandemic!), cyber attack has become increasingly real and it could happen to any and every organisation.

With over 117 security incidents and nearly 18.4m breaches across the globe in October 2020, it’s become more important than ever for businesses to put their best foot forward and safeguard their stakeholders’ fundamental investments through solutions like Cyber Essentials.

After all, it’s your responsibility to secure your business as well as stakeholders.

By getting Cyber Essentials certified, you can promise complete protection from 80% of cyber threats, prevent potential fines from top authorities and gain several government contracts.

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