If you are a business that wants to bid for government contracts, you may have heard of Cyber Essentials. Cyber Essentials is a government-backed scheme that helps you to protect your organisation against common online threats and demonstrate your commitment to cyber security. In this article, we will explain what Cyber Essentials is, how it can benefit your business, and how you can obtain certification. For a relatively simple process to achieve Cyber Essentials certification not only protects your business from cyber threats it helps businesses win new government contracts.
What is Cyber Essentials?
Cyber Essentials is a set of basic technical controls that organisations should have in place to protect themselves from cyber attacks. Cyber attacks come in many shapes and sizes, but the vast majority are very basic in nature, carried out by relatively unskilled individuals. They are the digital equivalent of a thief trying your front door to see if it is unlocked. Cyber Essentials shows you how to address those basics and prevent the most common attacks.
The scheme covers five key areas:
- Secure your Internet connection
- Secure your devices and software
- Control access to your data and services
- Protect your data from viruses and other malware
- Keep your devices and software up to date
Why should you get Cyber Essentials?
There are many benefits of getting Cyber Essentials certification for your business, such as:
- Reassure your customers and suppliers that you are working to secure your IT against cyber attack
- Attract new business with the promise that you have cyber security measures in place
- Have a clear picture of your organisation’s cyber security level
- Save money and time by avoiding the consequences of a cyber attack, such as data loss, reputational damage, legal fees, and fines
But perhaps the most important benefit of Cyber Essentials is that it can help you win more government contracts. The government requires all suppliers bidding for contracts involving the handling of certain sensitive and personal information or the provision of certain technical products and services to hold an up-to-date Cyber Essentials certificate. This applies to both central and local government contracts, as well as contracts with other public sector organisations, such as the NHS, education, and defence.
By having Cyber Essentials certification, you can show that you take cyber security seriously and that you meet the minimum standards required by the government. This can give you a competitive edge over other suppliers who do not have the certification and increase your chances of winning lucrative contracts.
How can you get Cyber Essentials certification?
There are two levels of certification available under the Cyber Essentials scheme: Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus.
Cyber Essentials is a self-assessment option that gives you protection against a wide variety of the most common cyber attacks. To get this certification, you need to complete a questionnaire that provides evidence that you have the five technical controls implemented. The questionnaire is then independently reviewed by an external Certification Body, who will verify your answers and issue your certificate.
Cyber Essentials Plus is a verified version of the self-assessment, where an external assessor tests and proves that the technical controls are in place. To get this certification, you need to have Cyber Essentials first, and then undergo a hands-on technical verification by an approved assessor, who will check your systems and devices for compliance.
The cost and time of getting certified depends on the level of certification, the size and complexity of your organisation, and the Certification Body you choose. You can find a list of accredited Certification Bodies on the IASME Cyber Essentials website.
Cyber Essentials is a simple and effective way to improve your cyber security and boost your business prospects. By getting certified, you can protect your organisation from the most common cyber threats, reassure your customers and suppliers, and win more government contracts. When you choose to certify to Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus, you will be taking a positive step towards a more secure and successful future for your business, our team is ready to help with full our full support. Speak to us today.