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The Complete Guide to Cyber Essentials Certification

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Do you want to protect your company from cybersecurity attacks, increase business opportunities and lower insurance premiums? Then becoming Cyber Essentials certified is a must. 

Cyber Essentials is a Government-backed scheme that protects your organisation against a majority of common cybersecurity attacks and demonstrates your commitment to protecting customer data — proof that may be essential when tendering for public and private contracts. 

Method IT is proud to be an official Cyber Essentials Certification Body. This means we are one of a select number of IT companies that meet IASME’s strict security and quality requirements and can evaluate and approve your company’s Cyber Essentials application as a result.  

If you’re on the fence about applying for Cyber Essentials certification or are unsure what the programme is or how it benefits you, read on to find out everything you need to know. 

What Is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials is a Government-backed certification launched in 2014 meant to help businesses take control of their cybersecurity and protect themselves against the most common online threats. The scheme is supported by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and administered through IASME. 

While plenty of businesses took advantage of the certification in the years immediately after its launch, it has become significantly more important since the pandemic. With most businesses adopting some form of hybrid or remote working policy, the size of their attack footprint has soared. Taking steps to shrink that level of exposure is more important than ever.

The scheme provides two levels of certification: Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus.

Cyber Essentials is a self-assessed certification that, if passed, ensures your business is protected against most common cyber attacks. 

Cyber Essentials Plus provides businesses with an opportunity to further prove their cybersecurity credentials with an in-person assessment on top of the self-assessment. To pass Cyber Essentials Plus, an external body like Method IT will come on-premise to examine your processes and initiatives. 

The standard version of Cyber Essentials is satisfactory for most small businesses. Larger organisations and those seeking to win government contracts or wanting reassurance that their security posture has been externally tested and verified should opt for the additional verification offered by Cyber Essentials Plus. 

Regardless of whether you apply for Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus, the controls that are tested as part of the assessment are the same and we will examine five of them:

  • Firewalls
  • Secure configuration
  • User access control
  • Malware protection
  • Patch management

Find out more about the requirements for each of these areas by downloading our Cyber Essentials checklist. 
 

Who Needs Cyber Essentials Certification?

Any small, medium or large enterprise should consider applying for Cyber Essentials certification, but it’s particularly relevant for SMEs who can use the certification as a cost-effective way to improve their cybersecurity policies. SMEs are also the most likely to be attacked by malicious actors. A recent study by Barracuda Networks found that small businesses with less than 100 employees were 350% more likely to suffer social engineering attacks than larger enterprises. 

That’s not to say larger enterprises shouldn’t apply for Cyber Essentials certification. There are plenty of benefits that we’ll discuss below, but larger organisations may soon find that Cyber Essentials certification is necessary to tender for a range of public and private contracts — and may soon become mandatory for membership of industry governing bodies, too.

What Are the Benefits of Cyber Essentials?

As the importance of proving your cybersecurity credentials increases alongside the threat vector facing UK businesses, the benefits of Cyber Essentials certification should not be underestimated. 

Protection for Your Business
The Government estimates that passing Cyber Essentials certification will protect your business will be protected against 80% of common cybersecurity attacks. Getting certified, therefore, provides peace of mind to any small business that is concerned about the state of its cybersecurity. 

Increase Business Opportunities
Cyber Essentials certification can open the doors to a significant number of new business opportunities. It is already a requirement if you want to tender for government projects, and it is being increasingly requested in a number of private contracts, too. 

In addition, more and more organisations prefer to partner with companies that take cybersecurity seriously. Achieving Cyber Essentials certification proves you take the appropriate measures to protect your and your clients’ data. It could be the differentiating factor your business needs to win new business. 

Comply with Regulatory Bodies
Given the growing importance of cybersecurity because of the new hybrid working environment, professional and regulatory bodies are putting increasing pressure on members to address cyber security issues and take out standalone cyber insurance. Cyber Essentials certification can help your business comply with the current and future demands of any professional or regulatory body. 

Claim Free Insurance and Reduce Cyber Insurance Premiums
Cyber Essentials certification qualifies some businesses for up to £25,000 in free cybersecurity insurance. In addition, any businesses may be able to receive lower premiums from insurers by virtue of their certification and its proof of their commitment to cybersecurity. 

Comply with GDPR
Cyber Essentials has been called “a good starting point” for GDPR compliance by the Information Commissioner’s Office. Certification alone does not make your business compliant with GDPR, but it goes some way to show your commitment to securing customer data. 

Get Listed on NCSC Website
Your Cyber Essentials certification is displayed on the NCSC website, allowing prospective clients and suppliers to verify your commitment to cybersecurity and data protection. Businesses also receive a badge they can display on their website and marketing materials. 

Guaranteed Certification With Method IT

As an approved Certification Body, Method IT has met a series of strict security and quality requirements, including ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 certification, allowing us to carry out your assessment and assist you through the entire process. 

As a result, we can streamline the Cyber Essentials certification process and guarantee your business passes. We offer a range of flexible packages suitable for companies of any size that provide the ongoing support organisations need to stay secure going forward. They also simplify the recertification process, saving you a significant amount of time, effort and money.

Find out more about our packages or get in touch for a free quote.

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