How to Get a Cyber Essentials Certification.
Cyber Essentials, a UK government-backed scheme, is a cybersecurity certification scheme aimed at protecting businesses against common online threats, but do you know how to get Cyber Essentials certification, or why doing so is important? If not, keep reading as we explain everything you need to know about this government initiative.
What is Cyber Essentials?
As mentioned, Cyber Essentials is a government scheme that establishes a baseline of fundamental cybersecurity measures businesses can implement to protect sensitive data and digital assets. The certification looks at things such as firewall configuration, secure device settings, user access control, malware protection, and patch management.
For small businesses, Cyber Essentials provides a cost-effective and manageable framework to enhance their cybersecurity defences. By adopting these essential measures, small businesses like yours can significantly reduce the risk of cyber attacks, which are increasingly targeting businesses of all sizes. Cyber Essentials certification not only safeguards your business’s own operations and sensitive information; it also promotes trust among your clients and partners by demonstrating your commitment to robust cybersecurity practices.
You can find out more about Cyber Essentials at the National Cyber Security Centre’s own website.
Why is it important to get Cyber Essentials certification?
At One2Call, we think that all businesses should set themselves the target of becoming Cyber Essentials certified. It goes a long way to being GDPR compliant, and also protects your digital assets against pending attacks that could have disastrous repercussions. Furthermore, obtaining your Cyber Essentials certification revolves around an in-depth self-assessment questionnaire which acts as a great guide to where your business is at on its Cyber Security journey. It’s not too difficult to complete, and in doing so, you’ll learn a lot about what your business needs to do to meet what the Government deems to be the minimum requirements for good cyber security practice.
There are other additional benefits, too, including:
- Reduces your exposure to cybercrime
- Shows customers you take their data security seriously
- Cyber Essentials is a requirement for the majority of Government contracts and even business grants.
- Some Government grants and funding streams also require Cyber Essentials.
- It’s also a requirement for any business working for the Ministry of Defence.
- Required by many legal and financial institutions (such as the Law Society and Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales (ICAEW).
- Many larger private sector businesses are using Cyber Essentials as a requirement for tender work.
- Dovetails with some GDPR requirements on data handling.
- Paves the way for PCI compliance (required by many payment vendors)
- FREE Cyber Liability Insurance
Cyber Essentials vs Cyber Essentials Plus
When it comes to how to get Cyber Essentials certification, there are two levels: Cyber Essentials Basic and Cyber Essentials Plus.
With Cyber Essentials, you will complete a self-assessment by responding to questions that substantiate the implementation of the five technical controls (firewall configuration, secure device settings, user access control, malware protection, and patch management).
Cyber Essentials Plus is an authenticated version of the self-assessment, meaning an external assessor conducts tests to validate if you do actually have the specified technical controls in place.
Cyber Essentials Plus
To obtain certification at both levels, a successful demonstration of adherence to all key controls is necessary.
How to get Cyber Essentials certification?
Cyber Essentials is certified by IASME on behalf of the Government via an in-depth self-assessment questionnaire.The best place to start is by following the Cyber Essentials Readiness Assessment via the IASME website. This will help you understand where your gaps may be and suggest actions to take before you start your self-assessment questionnaire in earnest. Here’s what you can expect / what you need to do in order to get your certification:
- Prepare: Ensure your business has the resources and systems necessary for Cyber Essentials certification, including updating software and implementing security measures.
- Complete the Self-Assessment: Complete a questionnaire covering technical controls and provide evidence of current security measures in the five key areas.
- External Assessment: Complete an external assessment by an independent certification body, including a vulnerability scan, to verify your compliance with Cyber Essentials standards.
- Implement Improvements: Rectify any gaps in your cybersecurity within a specified timeframe to maintain certification.
- Annual Renewal: Renew your Cyber Essentials certification annually by completing the self-assessment questionnaire and undergoing a new external assessment yearly.
Get help with Cyber Essentials
For more information about how to get Cyber Essentials certification, or how we can help you prepare, please contact us. Our friendly team is readily available to help you prepare for and achieve your Cyber Essentials certification, so speak to us today.
Alternatively, download our free cybersecurity assessment today to find out more about how your business stands up against cybersecurity.
We can help:
Let our IT experts do the techie bits for you, and guide you through the rest.
Cyber Essentials Plus.
Once you have passed and gained your Cyber Essentials certification, it is worth considering becoming Cyber Essentials Plus certified too. That is because the Cyber Essential Plus audit must be taken within 3 months of passing a Cyber Essentials certification.
The main difference between Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus is that whilst Cyber Essentials is a self-certified assessment, Cyber Essentials Plus requires auditing and testing of your cyber security setup by an external organisation.
As such Cyber Essentials Plus gives the customer much more confidence in the security of your business and will give you a competitive edge over businesses without Cyber Essentials Plus, especially when dealing with the Government, financial or legal sectors, or others that value the security of personal data very highly.
It is also reassuring to know that the cyber security measures you have put in place stand up to the scrutiny of an external cyber security auditor.
I now understand…
- Why Cyber Essentials could be important for my business.
- How to get started with Cyber Essentials certification.
- The difference between Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus.
Request for your
Cyber Summmer FREEBIES
Robert Prince, St. Bedes College
Quick response times and excellent customer service.
Always willing to help/go the extra mile.
Jeanette Addis, Principle Support Ltd
Very approachable, friendly team and fast response time. Thank you.