Are you in a rush to start protecting your business against security threats? If so, you are not alone, as 82% of senior managers confirm that cybersecurity is a high priority for them.
If you have clicked on this blog, chances are Cyber Essentials is your compliance product of choice. More than 27,000 UK companies have this certification, with many more predicted to undertake the accreditation over the coming months.
Keep reading to learn more about Cyber Essentials and how long your organisation will likely take to achieve the highly-regarded status.
What Are Cyber Essentials?
Before jumping into the timings this security compliance certificate has attached to it, let’s quickly look at Cyber Essentials. It is important that your business fully understands what it involves and stands for to ensure that it is the right security measure to achieve.
Cyber Essentials is an accreditation awarded to businesses that are fully proficient in cyber security, which was launched by the UK government in 2014. This was when security threats started becoming more intelligent, highlighting the need to take overall security more seriously. The highly acclaimed National Cyber Security Centre supports the award and is split into five core pillars that allow a company to cover all security issues.
The five areas of interest are as follows:
- Creation of firewalls Designed to protect against incoming and outgoing data.
- User control. Giving employees the knowledge to work smart and understand when they may be subject to a security threat.
- Secure software. Ensure that internal and external programmes meet the strict compliance standards to protect company data.
- Malware protection for all users. Providing support against breaches made through software tools such as email networks.
- Patch management. This protects against any access made via third-party programmes, which we know are essential for all business forms.
Cyber Essentials is also supported by the follow-on accreditation, Cyber Essentials Plus, which focuses on the outlined core pillars plus external vulnerability testing. This makes Cyber Essentials a popular product for companies as there is room to expand the coverage if operations scale.
Although Cyber Essentials is not mandatory in the UK, it is widely recognised as a badge of excellence due to its inclusion in many government and private sector contract tendering processes. For this reason, many companies choose to adopt it for both UK and global-based operations. This certificate is also one of the more affordable options, which is why it has such a large following.
If you are wondering how much Cyber Essentials costs, check out the below pricing:
- Micro Companies (0-9 Team Members) £300+vat
- Small Companies (10-45 Team Members) £400+vat
- Medium Companies (50-249 Team Members) £450+vat
- Large Companies (250+ Team Members) £500+vat
How Long Does the Cyber Essentials Accreditation Process Take?
This is something we often get asked and the honest truth is that while there are a set of processes we recommend, it is different for every business. This is because it does depend on how advanced and intelligent existing security measures are. Some companies could achieve the status in a matter of days whilst for others, it could take a few months of hard work.
- When considering how a company can get the Cyber Essentials accreditation, we always recommend that a business first starts by appointing a professional IT agency. Ideally, this should be an organisation who understands the accreditation in detail and who have the expertise to assist with the entire process including the post-awarding stages.
Estimated time = 2 weeks to 1 month
- Next you need to familiarise yourself with the five pillars and audit your current operations to see how everything aligns. During this experience, you should consult with an external agency as they can help remove any bias from your process that could hinder achieving the final award.
During this time, you must ensure that all employees are also getting involved, as it takes a shared understanding from the entire business to be successful in Cyber Essentials.
Estimated time = 1 week to 1 month
- Next you must implement the right processes to ensure you are Cyber Essentials compliant. This could be anything from one new process to a new way of working.
This stage should include lots of testing, reflection and training to ensure everything is in perfect working order.
Estimated time = 1 week to 1 month
- Finally you have the actual application and certification phase, which is carried out via self-assessment. This should only take a few days as long as everything is in the right order per the previous stages you have followed.
Your designated assessor should be someone involved with all the configuration phases and, therefore, has a strong working knowledge of how your organisation is compliant.
Estimated time = 2 days to 1 week
We also often get asked how long Cyber Essentials is valid as the prices are affordable. The answer to this is 12 months, at which point a company can start the application process again, but as the internal systems should already be in place, things can happen much more quickly.
If you fail the Cyber Essentials certification, you will need to start the application process again, so that time should also be factored into your planning.
Can You Speed up the Cyber Essentials Process?
Of course, you can; it just involves having the right processes in place and finding ways to integrate them into your IT infrastructure.
We often get asked how a business can pass Cyber Essentials for the first time, to which we answer it is all about being organised. You should not have any issues if your organisation lives and breathes the Cyber Essentials processes within its core values. The application process doesn’t take much time; getting ready can take valuable days.
What Are the Benefits of Being Cyber Essentials Certified
Hopefully we have showcased that the process is simple, but if you are still thinking is Cyber Essentials worth having, check out the following benefits:
Allows Applications for Cyber Essentials Plus
If you are already a Cyber Essentials holder with at least three months left on your certification, you can apply for this next certificate level. This brings with it even more industry recognition and opportunities for your business.
Companies worldwide recognise this certification and base many business decisions on it. Whether a business is choosing who to work with, selecting a supplier, or even trying to assess customer opportunities, Cyber Essentials can make a huge difference in a brand’s overall reputation.
Cyber essentials for a business wanting to operate globally mean that even if a particular country has increased jeopardy, the overall security risks are not raised. This is because robust processes are in place that highlight any issues and resolve them promptly.
The five pillars ensure that every aspect of security management is handled, sometimes without a business even having a hands-on approach. Working with better security means that decision-making, risk management, and scaling can happen more quickly and confidently.
Employees will also benefit as working conditions will be improved. This makes for a stronger company culture and higher retention levels, another common issue that many modern businesses face.
How Can Creative Networks Help a Business With Cyber Essentials?
Are you ready to become Cyber Essentials certified? If so, get in touch with our team today.
Having helped many organisations achieve this status, we are well versed in supporting companies no matter their current security structure. Our team will blend seamlessly with your own to provide invaluable support that not only helps you pass but also does so in a speedy time.
Time is money, so we understand just how important your new accreditation is.
You can also learn more by clicking here on our complete guide to Cyber Essentials.