We’re a Cyber Essentials Accredited and Why You Should Be Too.
Author: Stuart Watkins
A couple of years back, we worked on our first Ministry of Defense project and were obliged to become a Cyber Essentials accredited company as part of the tender.
Cybersecurity is a critical issue for businesses of all sizes. As technology advances and more sensitive information is stored online, the risk of cyber-attacks increases. Businesses must proactively protect themselves and their customers from cyber threats.
One of the best ways to achieve this is by obtaining Cyber Essentials accreditation. This UK government-backed scheme provides businesses with a framework to improve their cyber security and demonstrate their commitment to keeping their customers’ data safe.
This article explains Cyber Essentials, why you should obtain accreditation, and how it can benefit your business.
What is Cyber Essentials?
Cyber Essentials is a UK government-backed scheme to improve businesses’ cyber security. Accreditation requires businesses to implement certain cyber security measures, such as firewalls and secure access control, and the standards are regularly audited.
The accreditation offers increased customer trust, better protection against cyber-attacks, reduced risk of legal action, and lower insurance costs.
Becoming a Cyber Essentials accredited company involves preparing for the assessment, choosing an accreditation body, completing a self-assessment questionnaire, undergoing a technical assessment, and maintaining the accreditation annually.
Once a business is accredited, it’s audited annually to ensure that the required standards are maintained. This helps to provide customers with confidence that their data is being protected.
Why Your Business Should Consider Obtaining Accreditation
There are many benefits to obtaining Cyber Essentials accreditation. For a start, it provides a basic level of cyber security that helps to protect your business and your customers from cyber-attacks. This is key in today’s digital age, where sensitive information is increasingly stored online. Each year the accreditation evolves, so any new rulings and requirements needed each year help to keep your company’s IT policy up to date.
In addition, the accreditation provides a competitive advantage. By demonstrating that your business takes cyber security seriously, you are likely to be more trustworthy and reliable by your customers. This can help to build customer loyalty and increase sales. This sort of accreditation is essential if you are a small business that wants to work with enterprise clients.
Another benefit of accreditation is that it helps to protect your reputation. Accredited businesses can demonstrate that they took steps to protect their customers’ data in the event of a cyber-attack. This helps to limit the damage to their reputation and can reduce the risk of legal action.
Finally, obtaining Cyber Essentials accreditation can help reduce your insurance costs. Many insurance providers offer discounts to businesses that have been accredited, as they are seen as less likely to suffer a cyber-attack.
How Cyber Essentials Can Benefit Your Business
Cyber Essentials accreditation can deliver many benefits to your business, including:
- Assurance to customers and suppliers that basic cyber security measures are in place
- Demonstration of commitment to cybersecurity
- Improved protection against common cyber threats
- Access to tender opportunities that require Cyber Essentials accreditation
- Increased credibility and reputation in the marketplace
How to become a Cyber Essentials Accredited Company
Achieving Cyber Essentials accreditation involves the following steps:
- Preparing for the assessment – this involves reviewing and documenting your existing cyber security policies and practices.
- Choose an Accreditation Body – Accreditation bodies are independent third-party organisations that carry out the Cyber Essentials assessment on behalf of the government. A full list of Cyber Essentials Assessors can be found on the IASME site.
- Complete a Self-Assessment Questionnaire – The questionnaire is a key part of the Cyber Essentials assessment process. It covers five critical areas: firewalls, secure configuration, access control, malware protection, and patch management.
- Undergo Technical Assessment – The technical assessment is sent to the assessment body and involves a vulnerability scan of the organisation’s external-facing IT systems to verify the measures in place to protect against common cyber threats.
- Finally, you Achieve Accreditation – Upon successful completion of the technical assessment, the Accreditation Body will issue a certificate of accreditation.
Think of it as an MOT for your business’s security. The assessor may come back with a few things that need sorting to comply fully.
Maintaining Cyber Essentials Accreditation
Cyber Essentials accreditation must be renewed annually to maintain the certificate’s validity. The renewal process involves re-submitting the self-assessment questionnaire and undergoing a new technical assessment.
Other companies will be able to check your accreditation here. Please give it a go and check “Devstars Limited”.
It is important to note that organisations must continue implementing and maintaining basic cyber security measures, even after obtaining accreditation. Cybersecurity is an ongoing process, and organisations must stay vigilant and adapt to changing threats and technologies.
Cyber Essentials accreditation is a valuable asset for any business or organisation looking to improve its cybersecurity credibility and demonstrate commitment to protecting against common cyber threats. The process is straightforward, and organisations can expect tangible benefits from obtaining accreditation. It also helps focus your team on security as you go through the process.
By taking the necessary steps, you can improve your overall cybersecurity posture and assure prospects, customers, suppliers, and stakeholders that basic cyber hygiene procedures are in place.
Find out more on the National Cyber Security Centre site; there is a Cyber Essentials readiness tool here.
If you have any questions about website security, please get in touch with us.