Wait what? 10 things? This must be a joke, right?
Not in the slightest.
Cyber Essentials offers a LOT more than you may have originally thought.
What does Cyber Essentials actually mean?
Cyber Essentials is a government-led cyber security standard, which your organisation can be assessed and certified against.
In simple terms, Cyber Essentials tells you what your organisation needs to do to be able to reduce the cyber threat to your organisation. Also, it's worth knowing the five Cyber Essentials technical controls:
- Boundary firewalls and internet gateways - Cyber Essentials requires all devices that are connected to the internet to be protected with a firewall.
- Secure configuration - Leaving your settings on the default setting is incredibly inviting for any criminal or hacker to gain unauthorised access to your data. With Cyber Essentials, your settings will be configured to be secure.
- Access control - You want to minimise the chances of unauthorised access and with Cyber Essentials, you are able to control which members of your team can see certain data. For instance, if you are a crucial member of your company, you will have the ability to be an administrator but the new intern will only have access to the settings required to perform their role.
- Malware protection - Cyber Essentials will help protect your data from viruses, malware and other threats to your organisation.
- Patch management - With every update to that application on your phone, a developer has found a way to protect you in a smarter way. It is crucial to have your devices updated to ensure vulnerabilities can be found and solved.
Cyber Essentials vs Cyber Essentials Plus
You've probably heard there's more than one Cyber Essentials package, in fact, there are two - Cyber Essentials (basic) and Cyber Essentials Plus.
Cyber Essentials Basic shows your stakeholders that you care about your cyber security whereas Cyber Essentials Plus shows your stakeholders you are doing everything in your power to protect their data.
If you would like to understand more about the difference between the two, have a read of 'What is the difference between Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus'.
The Cyber Threat
Did I mention how big the cyber threat is?
The 2021 Cyber Security Breaches Survey found 39% of organisations had reported cyber security breaches or attacks in the last 12 months.
Yes, you did read that correctly, almost half of the UK had issues.
The threat is very real to every single organisation in the world so it's important we all do what we can to put the power back in our hands rather than leaving it in the hands of hackers and criminals.
By the end of this article, you'll have absorbed so much knowledge, everyone at the next work party will know exactly how useful Cyber Essentials is.
Who doesn't love a cocktail with a side of cyber security?
Anyway, before you run off to the nearest cocktail bar, let's dive into how Cyber Essentials can help your organisation.
1. Reduce your cyber risk by approximately 80%.
Unfortunately, there isn't a single tool or strategy that will give us the 100% guarantee we all want, however, as soon as you become certified at the Cyber Essentials Basic level, you've dramatically reduced the risk posed to your organisation.
If you were wondering how to bridge that final 20%, there are a plethora of tools at your disposal, for instance, SOC (Security Operation Centres) and SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) which involve around-the-clock real-time monitoring and protection of your IT infrastructure.
2. Apply for Government tenders
Government contracts would be great, right? The only problem is that without certification, you can't bid for public sector contracts.
As of 1st October 2014, all suppliers have been required to comply with Cyber Essentials controls if bidding for government contracts involving the handling of sensitive, personal information and provision of certain technical services.
This is a huge opportunity for you and all you'll need to bid for these mega contracts is the Cyber Essentials certificate.
3. Reduce future insurance premiums
A Cyber Essentials Plus certification signals that you are trying everything in your power to reduce cyber risks and you'll quickly find that this results in reduced premiums.
If you can demonstrate that you have taken 'reasonable steps' to ameliorate your risk - i.e. by getting Cyber Essentials Plus; then the insurance has to pay out.
4. Become more efficient and productive
Cyber Essentials will give you a bird's eye view of your current security posture. You'll know exactly what is happening with your security systems and this will save you a great deal of time in the long run.
Why invest in fixing many small issues when instead, Cyber Essentials could save you time, money and resources?
We're all here to help our organisations grow and for that to happen, we need to have the systems in place to be as efficient as we can be.
With the implementation of the five security controls, you'll have a wide perspective of your organisation's security defences, leaving space for your team to concentrate on growing your organisation.
5. You will gain respect within your industry
With a Cyber Essentials basic certification, you're showing all stakeholders that you care about protecting your data.
Your clients may trust you with their data, but are you truly doing everything in your power to protect their data?
As soon as you show your clients that you are doing everything for maximum data protection with the Cyber Essentials Plus certification, they'll have a higher level of appreciation for the work you do.
You'll be known as one of the safest organisations to work with and with that type of reputation, you'll gain a competitive edge in your industry. (Not bad eh?!)
6. You can differentiate your organisation
This builds on the last point - with Cyber Essentials Basic or Plus, you'll have a recognised security certification to show off to your current clients and prospects.
Whilst it may sound crazy, some organisations still don't believe in cyber security and will happily take the risks on the chin.
All I can say is, you can't imagine these organisations will be around for too long with constant breaches of their data.
Don't allow your organisation to be associated with these organisations, instead, show your clients just how seriously you take their data.
7. Your Supply Chain will trust you
I know this isn't what you want to be thinking but let's just imagine you suffer a data breach.
You're probably thinking, "It's fine, we'll recover!".
It's optimistic but the reality is that most suppliers and clients will immediately stop working with your organisation soon as they realise their data is at risk.
By being certified, you're showing your suppliers they can completely trust you with their data.
Question is, will you give your supply chain confidence or uncertainty?
8. Avoiding GDPR fines
I'm sure you appreciate every penny you make, it's a product of your and your team's hard work.
Now imagine how your organisation would be if I took 4% of your global revenue away. Would your organisation be able to survive?
In the case of a data breach, your company could be liable to pay 4% of your global turnover if you're found to not be taking the necessary precautions with data.
With a Cyber Essentials Basic certification, the Information Commissioner’s Office will be able to see that you had procedures and systems in place.
However, with a Cyber Essentials Plus certification, you will show the Information Commissioner's Office you did everything in your power to protect your data and this will make the chances of receiving a fine incredibly minuscule.
You've worked too hard to go back to a position where you are just trying to make sure your company survives, with Cyber Essentials, you can allow your organisation to truly thrive.
9. Working with the MOD
With the Cyber Essentials Plus certification, organisations of all sizes can protect themselves and be at the required cyber security level to win Ministry of Defence (MOD) contracts.
The MOD have reason to believe every single British Organisation is a potential target and this means we all need to be ready to protect our systems and networks from hacktivists.
10. Being Aligned To The Only Government-Backed UK Standard
Cyber Essentials Basic and Cyber Essentials Plus are the only standards that are Government-backed and help your organisation with cyber protection.
You want to show your clients that you care about your data, what better way than being aligned with the only Government-backed standards?
11. Bonus Benefit!
Cyber Essentials certification automatically gives you free Cyber Liability Insurance if:
- Your organisation has a turnover of under £20 million
- You're certifying with an IASME certification body
- Your organisation is domiciled in the UK
Do you still have unanswered questions?
We've written The Ultimate Guide to Cyber Essentials and this easy-to-read guide will ensure every question you've ever had around Cyber Essentials is answered.