59% of large companies are aware of the Cyber Essentials scheme. With 40% of UK businesses having experienced a cyber-attack in 2022, the focus on security protection will not surprise anyone.
Security compliance is one of the methods that can be used to reduce risk and improve disaster recovery. Cyber Essentials is a UK-based scheme that the National Cyber Security Centre created. Allowing companies from all sectors to utilise a uniform approach to safety, the scheme improves knowledge, resilience, and efficiency across entire businesses.
With the cost of achieving Cyber Essentials starting at £300 +vat, a common question that we get asked is how long does the certification last? Keep reading to find out.
What is Cyber Essentials?
Cyber Essentials promotes online safety by focusing on the tools needed to create a robust cyber security toolkit. This is achieved by adhering to the scheme’s five basic security controls, which improve business security immensely once implemented.
These are the following:
- Firewalls – Ensuring that incoming and outgoing content is correctly checked is possible with resilient firewall programmes.
- User control – Assessment of various personnel’s access and understanding of access acquirement procedures.
- Secure software – This relates to software configuration and usage.
- Malware protection for all users – Malware protects against security breaches by ensuring resilience and notification of issues.
- Patch management – This protects against any access that may be made via third party programmes, which we know are essential for all business forms.
Cyber Essentials is also one of the best security accreditations that can be received as it aligns with modern business needs. The scheme was updated back in 2022 to include additional criteria such as cloud-based two-factor authentication and a newly defined list of approved software suppliers.
Successful companies can also extend their award by achieving the Cyber Essentials Plus certificate, which considers external vulnerabilities as the main area of priority.
Here are a couple of our other blogs that you may find useful:
What is the Cyber Essentials Accreditation
What’s the Difference Between Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus
How Long Does the Cyber Essentials Award Last?
The Cyber Essentials certificate is valid for 12 months.
During this time, successful businesses will be added to the list of approved organisations which is then searchable by anyone. The certificate and status can be promoted during the live period and are commonly used to improve brand perception by companies that have achieved the status.
If you want to remain covered, consider the application and assessment process as part of your annual operations. This ensures that the decision process does not mean a company is left without a valid certificate. You will receive an email and written reminder when your certificate ends to ensure you are never caught out.
Another timeframe to be aware of is that you need to have three months left of your certificate if you wish to apply for the Cyber Essentials Plus. Assessed as the time left at the time of application submission, you do not need to apply for the Essentials certificate if you plan on using the Essentials Plus award in the future.
How Much Time Does It Take to Become Cyber Essentials Certified?
Achieving Cyber Essentials can take varying amounts of time, which is why six months is given. This time starts from the day that the application fee is paid.
You should also consider the time it takes to prepare your company for the self-assessment. Cyber Essentials has been created to assess the suitability and success of implemented cyber controls. These must be established and proven to be successfully working to pass the criteria.
For this reason, many companies choose to work with an IT agency that can configure and implement the processes needed to pass the first time. Our Cyber Essentials service does just that, giving companies the tools they need for long-term management of the features. Depending on how established your organisation’s security measures are, getting everything in place could take a few months.
As the award is self-assessed, we recommend giving yourself as much time as possible to fill everything in correctly. This means getting everything set up before you trigger the six-month timeframe. It can only take a few days or weeks if you are properly prepared.
Once all information has been submitted, it should only take around three days to receive a decision on your award.
What Long Does the Cyber Essentials Renewal Process Take?
Cyber Essentials is a security compliance certificate that aims to provide the structure for long-term adherence. With 66% of companies feeling understaffed regarding cyber security, having compliance measures in place offers peace of mind that adequate controls are in place.
For these reasons, the renewal process can be considered to take the same amount of time as the initial application.
The process involves the same self-assessment of controls and evidence provision of their competence. You can, however, eliminate the prep time, as your company should already have all of the wheels in motion that it may not have had on the initial application.
What Are the Benefits of Achieving Cyber Essentials?
Improved Cyber Security
In the corporate world, cyber concerns were the most significant area of concern in 2022, according to Forbes.
Cyber Attacks are unforgiving breaches that compromise not just company data and employee safety but also the long-term running of a business. If the right measures are not in place, a cyber-attack could spell the end of a company if they are not resilient enough to correct the issues.
Cyber Essentials was carefully created to target all areas of expected breaches based on intelligent data and trends. By having each pillar in place, entire company networks are given a layer of protection which helps every worker operate more confidently. Working by making it possible to highlight and resolve issues before it’s too late, the Cyber Essentials controls can be applied to any sector allowing protection for bespoke tools and sensitive information.
Some people contact us to ask if they need Cyber Essentials and if they also have ISO 27001? This question always makes us consider the effectiveness of compliance measures in combatting cybercrime. Whilst there are differences between Cyber Essentials and ISO 27001, one thing remains the same.
Security compliance DOES enhance cyber security and is essential for every company. The certification you choose may differ, but if you have protection, you are giving your business the best chance of success.
While Cyber Essentials is not mandatory in the UK, it does come in handy.
The certification is globally recognised and available meaning that it helps organisations break into new markets. By showing an awareness of cyber security’s importance, awarded companies are considered thought leaders in their industry.
This benefits brand awareness, engagement opportunities, and overall competitiveness.
Employees that feel protected by cyber security measures will be more productive.
The sense of support that security compliance provides helps people work more confidently and feel less at risk, even when working with new online programmes.
Seeing that their company takes the time and financial investment to help them work more cohesively will also resonate with employees who take company fit seriously. 19 out of 20 cyber breaches result from human error. If the right measures are in place, this will be significantly reduced, benefiting everyone.
How Can I Become Cyber Essentials Certified?
Have we answered all your questions about the time it takes to become Cyber Essentials certified?
Hopefully, we have proven that the whole process can be simple if you have the right support. Cyber Essentials is for you if you want to become more competitive, benefit from lower insurance risks, and help your business survive long-term.
Contact us today to learn more about our service and how we can help you succeed.