In our digital age, cyber security isn’t just an option, it’s a must-have. It’s a shield that guards your reputation, finances, and day-to-day operations against the threats of the online world. A robust cyber security strategy is your best defence against common cyber dangers, keeping your business safe and sound in the fast-paced tech landscape.
But where do you start? How do you know what measures to take and how to implement them? That’s where Cyber Essentials certification comes in. Cyber Essentials is a UK government-backed scheme that helps you to assess and improve your cyber security posture. It also demonstrates your commitment to cyber security to your customers, suppliers, and partners.
In this article, we will explain what Cyber Essentials certification is, how it benefits your business, and how it provides you with a roadmap for a successful cyber security strategy.
What is Cyber Essentials?
Cyber Essentials certification is a standard that covers five essential technical controls that can prevent up to 80% of cyber attacks. These are:
- Firewalls: These are devices or software that filter the traffic coming in and out of your network, blocking any malicious or unauthorised access.
- Secure configuration: This means setting up your devices and systems in a way that reduces the risk of exploitation, such as removing unnecessary software, disabling default passwords, and applying security settings.
- User access control: This means limiting the access rights of your users to only what they need to do their job, and using strong passwords or other authentication methods to prevent unauthorised access.
- Malware protection: This means installing and updating antivirus software, scanning your devices and files for malware, and avoiding opening suspicious attachments or links.
- Patch management: This means keeping your devices, systems, and software up to date with the latest security updates, which fix any known vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers.
By implementing these five controls, you can significantly reduce your exposure to cyber attacks, such as phishing, ransomware, denial-of-service, and password guessing.
How does being Cyber Essentials certified benefit your business?
Cyber Essentials certification has many benefits for your business, such as:
- Improving your cyber security: By following the Cyber Essentials guidance, you can improve your cyber security posture and reduce the likelihood and impact of cyber attacks.
- Enhancing your reputation: By displaying the Cyber Essentials badge on your website and marketing materials, you can show your customers, suppliers, and partners that you take cyber security seriously and that you have taken steps to protect your data and systems.
- Attracting new business: By having Cyber Essentials certification, you can gain a competitive edge over your rivals and increase your chances of winning new contracts, especially with the public sector, which requires Cyber Essentials certification for certain types of contracts.
- Saving money: By preventing cyber attacks, you can avoid the costs of recovery, such as ransom payments, data loss, downtime, legal fees, and fines.
How does Cyber Essentials provide you with a roadmap for a successful cyber security strategy?
Cyber Essentials certification is not just a one-off exercise, it’s a continuous process of improvement. By achieving Cyber Essentials certification, you can establish a baseline for your cyber security, and then build on it to achieve higher levels of security and compliance.
There are two levels of Cyber Essentials certification: Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus. Cyber Essentials is a self-assessment option, where you fill in a questionnaire and submit it to an accredited body for verification. Cyber Essentials Plus is a more rigorous option, where you also undergo a hands-on technical audit by an external assessor.
By choosing the level of certification that suits your needs and budget, you can set your own goals and pace for your cyber security journey. You can also use the Cyber Essentials readiness toolkit, which helps you to prepare for the certification by providing you with a personal action plan and links to specific guidance.
Cyber Essentials certification is not the end of your cyber security strategy, it’s the beginning. It provides you with a roadmap for a successful cyber security strategy, but it’s up to you to follow it and keep it updated. You should review your cyber security regularly, monitor your systems and devices for any signs of compromise, and report any incidents or breaches to the relevant authorities.
Cyber security is not a one-size-fits-all solution, it’s a tailored approach that depends on your business size, sector, and objectives. Cyber Essentials certification can help you to find the best solution for your business, and guide you along the way.
If you want to learn more about Cyber Essentials certification, or apply for it, you can contact us and we can talk you through the process. We are a cyber security company that supports businesses with achieving Cyber Essentials certification, and we can help you to improve your cyber security and grow your business.