When setting up a business in the modern age, many factors can affect its performance on the market, from online presence to customer service and established authority in your industry. One great way of showing your customers and your competitors that you know your business inside out and you want the best outcome for your customers is by becoming ISO certified.

In order to receive an ISO certificate in the UK, you need to be assessed by UKAS, or a UKAS-accredited third party. But with so many acronyms flying around, it’s hard to know who’s who and what’s what.

What is UKAS?

UKAS is the United Kingdom’s Accreditation Service, which works both on behalf of the United Kingdom’s government and the ISO. UKAS is not a department of the government or a government service, however, there is an agreement between UKAS and the British government which allows UKAS to ensure companies are meeting internationally agreed standards.

These international standards are not compulsory for businesses to adopt, however, they have been set after discussions with experts and industry leaders to ensure that customers receive the best care from the companies they interact with, so there are numerous benefits of being compliant with these standards.

UKAS does not set the standards, it simply checks that British organisations who apply for assessment receive reliable and impartial reviews in order to meet the standards and receive certification.

In fact, UKAS no longer assesses most organisations’ standards for certification, its sole responsibility is to check standard ISO 17025, which is awarded to other companies that check international standards.

What is UKAS?

What’s the Difference Between UKAS and ISO?

While UKAS oversees the checking of organisations’ processes to be awarded ISO certification, it’s the ISO that creates the international standards.

The International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO) was formed to discover the best international standards for products, services and processes performed by businesses across the world so that consumers can be guaranteed safe, healthy and reliable products and services, whichever industry they use.

The ISO, based in Geneva, Switzerland, brings together industry leaders and experts from fields across the world to discuss ways of improving international standards for the benefit of customers and introduces regulations, or standards, such as ISO 27001. ISO 27001 is the international standard for cybersecurity, which is increasingly important in the modern world as more and more of us have an increasingly personal online presence. For us to interact with companies, we want to know our data is secure, so seeing the ‘ISO certified’ symbol on websites, brochures or products, will let us know that this particular company will keep our data secure.

What’s the Difference Between UKAS and ISO?

Is There a UKAS Equivalent?

UKAS is the only body in the UK that is recognised by the UK government and ISO and thus permitted to accredit other institutions and award ISO certificates, so within the UK, there is no UKAS equivalent.

However, as the ISO is an international body, it does also work closely with other organisations, such as the EA, or European co-operation for Accreditation, and UKAS, the EA and ISO continue to work together despite Brexit. 

That said, there are other, smaller bodies that can assist companies to improve certain aspects of the businesses’ performance, without directly meeting ISO standards or being awarded the certification.

To continue the example, there are alternatives to ISO 27001, such as Cyber Essentials, so if you have one, you don’t necessarily need the other, although they both work in slightly different ways. Although as an internationally recognised organisation, if you have ISO certification, it is more likely to increase customer trust in your company.

What Does UKAS Accredited Mean?

UKAS is just one organisation and it would be extremely difficult for them to single-handedly assess, audit and certify each business in the UK that wanted ISO certification. That’s why other companies can become UKAS-accredited, so they can evaluate other businesses on behalf of UKAS.

To become UKAS accredited, or meet ISO 17025, organisations need to be unbiased, fair, skilled and responsible enough to help other organisations on their path to achieve ISO certification.

Being ISO certified shows your customers that part of your business adheres to the international standards, so they can expect high-quality products or services, consistency and reliability. But, being UKAS accredited has its own benefits.

Is There a UKAS Equivalent?

How Is Being UKAS-Accredited Beneficial?

Organisations that are UKAS accredited can wear their badge with great pride as it’s an extremely beneficial thing to achieve.

A UKAS-accredited organisation is more likely to:

  • Have consistent products or services
  • Have more business due to customer confidence
  • Have fewer costs due to fewer product or service checks
  • Have a competitive advantage in the industry due to access to the public sector

With UKAS accreditation, you’ll see your business grow as you’re finally able to prove to your customers and competitors that you’ve got some of the best products and services on the market, by showing off your certification. Knowing that they can’t find anything better as experts across the globe have agreed on the healthiest and safest practices for consumers, your customers will trust you infinitely more, and most importantly, recommend your organisation to others.

As well as seeing increased business, with UKAS accreditation, you can reduce the costs of regularly checking products and services to ensure they’re of the optimum quality, as you’ll have already received the official stamp of approval. What’s more, you’re opening your business up to more work from the public sector which performs intense checks to ensure the organisations they work with are reliable and will provide the best service for their customers, as the UKAS certificate will undoubtedly prove your reliability as an organisation.

If you’re not a UKAS-accredited or ISO-certified organisation, it’s likely that you’ll see that your competitors who have the certificates, advertise that fact proudly, and see an increase in business due to their new stamp of approval. You may even work closely with other organisations who are UKAS accredited or ISO certified, so you can see for yourself how reliable, trustworthy and consistent organisations are that adhere to internationally recognised standards.

How Is Being UKAS-Accredited Beneficial?

How Long Does UKAS Accreditation Last?

Companies can keep their UKAS accreditation for up to 4 years before they need to be fully reassessed, although UKAS-accredited businesses are monitored yearly to ensure they haven’t slipped below the international standards following their certification. UKAS accreditation is a closely monitored process as new requirements appear and there are constant adjustments to be made even after you’ve received accreditation.

Work with Creative Networks

Creative Networks provides simple cybersecurity solutions for your business so you can maintain your ISO certificate by meeting the standards for ISO 27001 for data security. We also work closely with UKAS-accredited partners, so even if you haven’t been aware of international standards before, you can now get their help to get you ISO certified.

Don’t waste any more time watching your competitors take over the market, get your business compliant with international standards and ISO certified today.

Contact Creative Networks now to see how we can solve your cybersecurity concerns.

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