As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology, the need for robust IT security solutions has never been greater. Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus are two certifications that can help protect your business from cyber threats and ensure compliance with industry standards. It is worth remembering that this is Government backed scheme and In this blog post, we’ll explore what these certifications entail, the benefits they offer to organizations of all sizes, how to obtain certification, and best practices for maintaining compliance and protecting data from cyber-attacks. We’ll also look at tips for ensuring a secure online environment for your business or organization. So get ready – let’s dive into the world of Cyber Essentials & Plus!
What are Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus?
Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus are two certifications that help protect your business from cyber crime and ensure compliance with industry standards. Developed by the UK government, these certifications provide an effective way for organizations to demonstrate a baseline of cyber security and provide assurance to customers, partners, and stakeholders.
Cyber Essentials is the basic level certification, and focuses on five key areas of IT security:
– secure configuration
– boundary firewalls and internet gateways
– access control
– patch management
– malware protection.
Cyber Essentials Plus involves a more comprehensive set of controls that involve an external vulnerability scan to assess the overall security of your system.
Benefits of obtaining the certification
The benefits of obtaining Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus certifications are numerous. By demonstrating a baseline of cyber security, organizations can provide assurance to customers, partners, and stakeholders that their data is safe and secure. Additionally, having the certifications may help organizations meet compliance requirements for certain industries or government contracts. Obtaining these certifications also helps ensure that an organization’s IT systems are up-to-date with the latest security measures and best practices in order to protect against potential cyber threats. Finally, being certified can give businesses a competitive edge over other companies that do not have such credentials.
The steps involved in getting certified
Organizations interested in obtaining the Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus certifications must first register for the certification program through an officially authorized accreditation body. Once registered, organizations then must pass the Cyber Essentials assessment questionnaire that covers all of the key areas of IT security, such as secure configuration, boundary firewalls and internet gateways, access control, patch management, and malware protection. Once the questionnaire has been successfully completed, organizations can submit their application to the accreditation body for review. If all requirements have been met, then the organization will be issued a certificate indicating their level of compliance with the standards set forth by Cyber Essentials and/or Cyber Essentials Plus.
Cyber Essentials Certification costs?
There are a few costs which you should think about when dealing with certifications. First are direct such as Cyber Essentials Assessment, and indirect such as making changes to your network or paying for audits and for help with answering questionnaires which form the base for Cyber Essential.
Cyber Essential £300 – £500 which is yearly cost
Cyber Essential Plus £200-£300 / per user which is a yearly cost
Pro Tip – An audit needs to be done by the certification body within 3 months of obtaining Cyber Essential. If you are late it is advisable to wait for the renewal date and try CE+
Cyber Essential £100-£200 per user.
This cover answering the questionnaire, however, there might be additional costs if your organisation needs additional projects to be compliant.
Cyber Essential Plus – the good news is that once CE is done there should be no indirect costs.
How to maintain compliance with the standards set out by these certifications
Once an organization has achieved it’s Cyber Essentials and/or Cyber Essentials Plus certification, it is important to maintain compliance with the requirements outlined in the self-assessment questionnaire. This can be done by regularly conducting security checks of the organization’s IT systems and networks, keeping up-to-date on updates and patches, and implementing the latest security measures.
Organizations should also ensure that their staff are trained in how to recognize and respond to potential cyber threats. As this will be tested every 12 months to ensure organisations remain vigilant. Bear in mind that setting a yearly cycle is due to the fact that the Cyber Essentials scheme is regularly updated with the last update on 23rd January 2023.
Businesses need to be aware and take steps to protect themselves. This is done by constantly improving endpoint security, and training users on the whole range of attacks. The majority of training is done through an online portal from the comfort of your own desk.
Cyber Essential certification
Can be obtained from a few providers in the UK
Common cyber threats and how to prevent them
Organizations should be aware of the most common cyber attacks they may encounter, such as phishing attacks, malware infections, malicious software downloads, ransomware, unauthorized access, and denial of service attacks.
To help protect against these threats, organizations should have strong password protocols in place, keep operating systems and other software up-to-date with the latest patches and updates, use secure network configurations, install virus protection software on all computers, ensure cloud security is practised and regularly back up data to secure external source. Finally, restrict user access to sensitive information.
The vast majority of businesses especially small businesses don’t believe they could be a victim of cyber attack.
To ensure continued compliance with the certification requirements it is important for organizations to regularly conduct security checks of their IT systems and networks while also training staff in recognizing potential threats.
The Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essential Plus certifications provide organizations with the tools and resources needed to ensure their IT systems are secure from malicious attacks. If this is something that would help you gain an advantage in the market plus keep your business safe.
Feel free to contact me or our team at Operum.Tech
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