In 2022, 72% of large and 36% of small businesses experienced a cyber security breach. This represents an increase versus previous years and highlights the need for companies to operate more intelligently regarding online security. In fact, cyber-attacks during 2020 – 2022 represent an increase of 152% compared to the two previous years.

Launched by the UK government, Cyber Essentials is designed to promote online safety to minimise risks and improve confidence for company owners. Giving companies a structure, which reduces cyber risks, the scheme has been backed by more than 120,000 businesses to date.

Keep reading to learn how this certificate can achieve online protection by seamlessly integrating into IT infrastructures and processes.  

What is the Cyber Essentials Accreditation?

The Cyber Essentials certification was launched in 2014 by the UK government to improve cyber safety for all. Supported by the National Cyber Security Centre, the scheme gives business owners the tools and education needed to operate safely online. The certification has been created to reduce risk and improve individuals’ knowledge so that companies can be more in control. 

Created to protect companies of all sizes against the genuine risk of cyber-attacks, the accreditation uses a mix of security controls and compliance testing to improve overall business security over a long period. 

Whilst there are many schemes available to offer cyber security education, Cyber Essentials boasts some of the best tools. This is because the scheme was updated in 2022 to include up-to-date content suitable for combating today’s security issues.

At Creative Networks, we have aligned with the scheme as it offers some of the best protection available. As experts in cyber security compliance, we are confident that Cyber Essentials covers all the factors critical to safeguarding online operations. As such, we have developed our own processes for helping companies of all sizes and from various industries successfully pass the certification first time. Online safety is paramount for us and Cyber Essentials achieves this.

What are the Benefits of Using Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Security

As well as improving the overall resilience of a company, Cyber Essentials provides the follow benefits to businesses:

  • The certification offers measures that both prevent and resolve cyber-attacks. Having all bases covered in cyber protection is essential for improving success rates of solving problems and reducing the financial risk that a company faces. As the certification requires input and education from all team members, it also improves user knowledge and awareness, a critical component of digital safety.
  • Companies that obtain the Cyber Essentials certificate can bid for government and public centre contracts. This is because the compliance standards require stricter security measures which this certification demonstrates. 
  • The scheme is also available to organisations outside the UK, allowing for better cross-country collaboration and broader recognition for those who achieve the accreditation. By proxy, this also improves competitiveness in wider markets.
  • Cyber Essentials requires ongoing measures to be in place even after achieving the status. By having standards to meet, companies can develop robust IT infrastructures that appeal to customers and suppliers and maintain employee happiness. 
  • The scheme also offers the ability for companies to work closely with professional managed service providers who specialise in IT operations. This not only helps develop a strong relationship but means that other areas of digital performance are likely to be strengthened at the same time.
  • Robust cyber security measures help a company develop a healthy IT network. Cyber Essentials gives businesses the procedures and tools required to operate resiliently, which offers many other benefits to the entire company.
  • The cost to achieve a Cyber Essentials certification starts from just £300. This signifies a cost-effective solution for companies to adopt when looking to improve their cyber safety and enhance company reputation. Think to yourself, does paying this cost sound like a lot when you consider how much could be lost if a breach takes please?

Who is Cyber Essentials For?

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The Cyber Essentials scheme provides basic controls to mitigate risks relevant to all operations areas, including employee performance, online communications, and data backups. Thanks to this broad coverage area, any business can obtain foundation-level certification. 

Companies can then go on to achieve the Cyber Essentials Plus certification, which continues to build on the work carried out by the Essentials procedures. 

The scheme’s versatility aims to showcase that online threats are apparent in all sectors. Whilst different companies will look at separate threats as their main issues, the scheme offers a framework which can be successful when applied to any business. 

Cyber Essentials offers a brilliant set of measures to invest in if you are operating online or using cloud-based software.

What Security Controls are Promoted Within Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials works on the premise of implementing five-key security controls to improve safety across an entire business network. These have been chosen as the top areas that improving safety is critical and ensures that companies are protected against a wide variety of the most common forms of cyber-attacks.

Included with the scope of the Cyber Essentials certification are the below measures:

Patch Management This protects against any access that may be made via third-party programmes, which we know are essential for all business forms. Control over who has access to certain areas of data and software ensures that content is never exposed unknowingly. These controls can either be managed by a company or a professionally outsourced Security Operations Centre or SOC.

Firewalls Designed to protect against both incoming and outgoing data, a firewall is essential for any company using digital programmes. By creating a secure internet connection, data is protected by a virtual ‘holding zone’ which assesses the safety of information sharing requests. Firewalls are important as users can sometimes unknowingly have data being accessed via online sources. These security measures work to implement safety in the background so that even risks that are under the radar as assessed properly. 

User Control (Security Settings) Ensuring safe user control is essential and offers enhanced risk. Secure settings may include access content, such as MFA passwords, or relate to the deeper level of access that is required to go through servers. By ensuring that users can safely access devices, risks are greatly minimised.

Security Software Cyber Essentials assess the suitability of software being used from a security perspective and the regularity with which it is updated. Continuous configurations and enhancements are needed to maintain robust safety measures. This can be outsourced or managed in-house but must be shown to be a part of the regular security checks that companies carry out. Software updates and integration with existing infrastructures is also measured in this segment of the certification measures.

Malware Protection In the worst cases, malware threats can result in a loss of data and control. Efficient security processes should contain cyber security measures to combat malware and other viruses, which Cyber Essentials measures as a form of its compliance.

What Services Does Creative Networks Offer to Support Cyber Essentials?

Man Working On Laptop

Creative Networks offers the support needed to certify your business as Cyber Essentials. To achieve this, our team of experts are fully proficient in each element of the Essentials measures, having already implemented them within our own company and many others, which you can see via our recent case studies.

Our Cyber Essentials Service offers an entire process to help teams implement the procedures needed to pass the assessment and retain the certification through long-term compliance. We work directly with teams to implement achievable measures that elevate company security and IT performance. 

We also offer a Security Operations Centre service, meaning that our team can act as your own cyber hub, helping you combat threats and remain safe at all times. Other security services that we offer to support this include risk assessmentsuser awareness training, vulnerability managementdisaster recovery planning, and penetration testing.

The biggest benefit of working with us is that we understand the threats in detail. With no risk being out of our expertise, we understand how to develop bespoke strategies for creating achievable cyber security plans for companies to comply with. No matter your budget or existing knowledge, Cyber Essentials offers a framework business can adhere to. By following the five pillars outlined with our support, businesses can operate online much more safely. 

How To Become Cyber Essentials Certified?

Does the Cyber Essentials certification sound like the solution for your business? 

Companies across the UK and beyond and looking to the scheme for reassurance and achievable ways of operating safely. With cyber threats becoming more intelligent and frequent, now is the time to invest in sustainable solutions for long-term management. 

To learn how to get your company Cyber Essentials certified, click here.

If you have further questions or want to know more about the areas we have covered with this blog, please contact us today to find out more. Our team are fully behind the Cyber Essentials scheme and believes that any company can successfully achieve this status if they put the right procedures in place. 

To improve your chances of passing the first time and to use your budget wisely, let Creative Networks guide you on this journey to cyber safety success.

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