As of May 2023, 35,434 Cyber Essentials certifications were recorded as being held by cyber-aware companies worldwide. This cyber security compliance standard is a brilliant way of enhancing a business’s resilience against malicious attacks.
Being experts in all things Cyber Essentials, we commonly get asked firstly if Cyber Essentials is worth having and if it is compulsory for certain sectors. During this blog, we will answer the latter of the two, so keep on reading if you want to know who needs to hold the certification to trade successfully and who does not..
What Does Cyber Essentials Offer?
To understand why certain sectors and industries must adopt Cyber Essentials, it is imperative to understand its purpose.
Cyber Essentials was launched in 2014 as a way for organisations to guard themselves against cyber attacks. The scheme consists of five core pillars, defined as the main areas that should be covered to boast a resilient presence against all forms of online attacks. These include firewalls, secure configurations, access control, malware protection, and patch management. When all are configured and used effectively, these tools can educate teams, inform decision-making, and allow a strong cyber security strategy to be implemented no matter how much change a company goes through.
This compliance measure was created with support and input from the National Cyber Security Centre and is supported by the UK government, although it is recognised worldwide. The main thing that the scheme offers is a structure that companies can use to inform security management. 71% of UK companies say cyber security is a high priority for them, and the Cyber Essentials schemes allow organisations of any size to implement viable systems for protection.
The scheme is also popular as it doesn’t take too much time to gain the certification as long as the right measures are in place. We always get asked how long it takes to obtain Cyber Essentials and our answer is that this can range from a few weeks to a few months. Application and assessment is conducted via self-certification which is why it is always best to work with an IT expert, such as our team at Creative Networks, to help you through the process. Cyber Essentials also expires after 12 months but the certificate can be applied for again via the same process.
Check out these blogs to learn more about the Cyber Essentials scheme in more detail:
Why Do Certain Companies Need to Adopt Cyber Essentials?
- Cyber Essentials offers a high level of safety and compliance, which suits some data-sensitive companies perfectly. Having the mark of excellence shows instantly that processes are secure and that risk is minimised for others when working with your business.
- There are many security compliance schemes worldwide, but few are recognised globally. Having this accreditation means that companies in new territories can instantly see your business type.
- Within certain industries, cyber security compliance greatly impacts insurance premiums and other sector-specific accreditations.
- Another reason is that some fast-paced sectors are often at more risk of cyber attacks due to weakness in their operations. Cyber Essentials is recognised as providing security benefits no matter what pace a company is working at, so it supports quick-moving sectors.
When Is Having Cyber Essentials Compulsory?
You may be shocked that Cyber Essentials is only 100% compulsory in a few scenarios but recommended in many others, which we will also cover in the next section of this blog.
Firstly, let’s look at the times a business MUST have Cyber Essentials to successfully conduct business with different suppliers and customers.
Ministry of Defence Contracts
The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) requires that all its suppliers are fully compliant and certified by the Cyber Essentials scheme. This is not only required by the business providing the service but also must be recognised in their supply chain to ensure that the partner company is fully protected against all risks.
As you can imagine, this is based on the sensitive information that the MOD deals with and gives you a good idea of how resilient Cyber Essentials is if it is approved in this scenario. If this box is not ticked during the tendering process, companies cannot work with the MOD or any of their subsidiaries.
On the same theme of reasoning as the MOD, all broader government contracts also required a Cyber Essentials accreditation to be in place.
Data is important to protect in all scenarios, whether accessing, storing, or transferring information. As outlined in the CCS procurement notice, observations and acknowledgement of the scheme are paramount to the success of long-term operations. A large part of the government’s work deals directly with people, another reason this scheme has been chosen. With one of the controls being user access and awareness, a direct positive impact on employees and customers can be seen when Cyber Essentials measures are followed.
Specific Business Situations
Although no other industries require Cyber Essentials, due to the increasing prominence of Cyber Security, don’t be surprised if it crops up in any other tender processes.
Any business is well within its rights to request adherence to the scheme as a compulsory factor, which is one of the reasons that we recommend all companies become compliant.
What Other Businesses Can Benefit From Adopting Cyber Essentials?
Although the NHS deals with lots of sensitive information, Cyber Essentials adherence is not required for all scenarios. It is, however, recommended that companies who work with the NHS and the corporation itself adopt the Cyber Essentials measures to mitigate any risks.
Another set of companies that would benefit from being compliant is any provider that works within IT, technology, or computer systems management.
It should also be considered the working style that a company has when considering if Cyber Essentials is right for them. By this, we mean companies that transfer lots of information, have hybrid or remote teams or that work across different territories all have a higher risk associated with the business. Implementing Cyber Essentials can protect everyone involved, from employees to third-party suppliers.
We also recommend that any companies looking to scale operations choose the scheme as it means that no matter how large or small a business becomes, the same security measures are in place to keep things running safely
Is It Good for a Company to Become Cyber Essentials Certified Even if They Do Not Require It to Trade?
The best form of fighting against security issues is to be prepared and have the right tools in place. Being Cyber Essentials compliant not only means you are ready for any supplier request that comes your way, but also offers the following benefits:
- Competitive capabilities are improved as businesses can seamlessly work in all markets with a cyber-secure set of operations to support them.
- Spending on security compliance is streamlined as expensive resolution investment is not required.
- Personal data is protected, which makes it easier to attract security-concerned customers, employees, and suppliers.
- Remote working can be facilitated safely. This offers flexibility for companies in the long run.
- Approved companies also benefit from a stronger workforce that is cyber-aware but also dedicated to the business, as feeling safe and empowered at work is important.
How Can Creative Networks Support in Becoming Cyber Essentials Approved?
Whether your company works in an industry that requires Cyber Essentials compliance or you want to adopt the scheme to provide enhanced business opportunities, Creative Networks can assist you.
Our hands-on service supports everything from failed Cyber Essentials applications to new attempts at becoming certified. This means highlighting gaps and giving you the processes needed to be compliant.
To learn more, contact our team today.