Cybersecurity is a real issue that businesses of all sizes must deal with daily. Shocking statistics such as 300,000 fresh malware instances issued daily and that cybercrime is set to be worth $8 trillion by the end of 2023 give you a small glimpse at the big problem.

As experts in security compliance at Creative Networks, we recommend Cyber Essentials Plus as just one of the methods companies can adopt to protect them from cybercrime. Launched by the UK government with a worldwide reach, Cyber Essentials Plus is accredited to fully proficient businesses in cyber security. It is supported and updated by the National Cyber Security Centre, highlighting the professional reach the award has gained.

If you have clicked on this blog, you likely want to know who this certification is compulsory for. Keep reading to learn why you should adopt the security compliance measure even if you don’t plan on operating in some of the compulsory markets.

Why Is Cyber Essentials Plus an Important Accreditation to Hold?

To answer this question, let’s look at what is required for Cyber Essentials Plus, as the robust measures represent the high operational efficiency and protection level this certification offers.

As a continuation of the Cyber Essentials award, Cyber Essentials Plus considers all five pillars of security safety but also incorporates external vulnerability testing. This is important as it tests if the security measures are working and show that the company has a much higher level of safety that malicious access attempts cannot breach.

The five pillars, firewalls, secure configurations, access control, malware protection, and patch management, create the basis for robust and safe working. By progressing your accreditation to the Plus certificate, you are sending a strong message to others that your business takes security seriously.

This form of external testing is important as 60% of data breaches can be defined as a result of unpatched vulnerabilities. Cyber Essentials Plus certification gives a company complete peace of mind that sensitive information cannot be accessed.The certification is also globally recognised, making it integral if a business plans to compete in multiple territories. Although each country has its own set of data and digital security guidelines, the broad reach of Cyber Essentials Plus offers a uniform approach that works for every business.

Lastly, holding the award is important as it tells suppliers and customers that you care. Taking the time and money to achieve the certification will be appreciated by many people and help a business to thrive.

You can find out more about what the Cyber Essentials Plus certification is by clicking here.

Is Cyber Essentials Plus Compulsory for Any Companies or Sectors?

Is Cyber Essentials Plus Compulsory for Any Companies or Sectors?

As it currently stands, Cyber Essentials Plus is NOT compulsory for any sector, but the base-level Cyber Essentials accreditation is. Suppose you consider the reach that this certificate has. In that case, we think you will agree that it’s worth investing in achieving the next level of the award to further strengthen relationships and opportunities in the below sectors.

Sectors and industries that Cyber Essentials Plus is recommended for are as follows:

Ministry of Defence and Other Government Contracts

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has clarified that any suppliers they work with must be certified as Cyber Essentials. They also request that the sub-suppliers of said companies are compliant, which we appreciate is a tough thing to assure. By adopting the Plus accreditation, companies can prove that their security pillars are robust and effective, which will benefit them if they want to work with the MOD.

Wider government contracts requiring interaction with data, people, or systems also require suppliers to be certified as Cyber Essentials. The CCS procurement notice outlines more information about this, but the main concern is data breaches that directly impact people and their data.

Cyber Essentials Plus is reassuring as it considers patch management, firewalls and access controls. These directly impact data security and represent how criminals try to access information if given a chance.

Healthcare

On average, healthcare organisations were victims of 1463 cyber attacks each week during 2022. This shows just how high of a target the sector is.

With budgets worldwide being tightened within healthcare settings and patient information being paramount, it is clear why data breaches are simply not an option. Although Cyber Essentials Plus is not compulsory in healthcare settings, many highly recommend it.

The NHS requires companies to adopt the Cyber Essentials method of working even if they don’t have the certification, so holding both that and the Plus award is a good thing to do if you plan on working with this sector. Patch management is one of the main ways data can be protected within the healthcare setting, so proving that your systems work stringently is essential.

If patient information is accessed, not only does a huge bill for resolution rear its head, but patients suffer as a direct result, which nobody wants.

Hospitality

Another sector that benefits from Cyber Essentials Plus is hospitality, as there are many sensitive guest details and sets of payment information that need to be protected.

With 72% of hospitality companies saying they have increased cyber security visibility, investing in the Plus certification is a great way to make your business more of a reliable choice for these forward-thinking companies.

What Are the Business Benefits of Cyber Essentials Plus?

What Are the Business Benefits of Cyber Essentials Plus?
  • Companies that hold this accreditation have a level of competitiveness and stand out in their sectors as being a reliable option for companies worldwide to work with. Adhering to Cyber Essentials Plus proves that a company has the underlying performance indicators that make it a solid choice to work with. Companies can also bid for any form of contract, no matter how data-driven the work is.
  • Just like Cyber Essentials, the Plus certification is globally recognised. If a business is looking to align with a fellow cyber essential’s holder, they can also easily search on the database of certificate holders to find who they want to work with. This also extends to another benefit, which is strong ROI capabilities with more profit being possible for cyber-aware companies.
  • Security is also enhanced for external suppliers, partners, and internal teams. Employees feel empowered and are directly involved in the security process, which enhances company culture. It also means that remote workers can interact with the company and third-party information without heightened risks.
  • Cyber Essentials Plus is also a cost-effective accreditation to adopt, which is one of the reasons that it is sometimes the preferred option over ISO 27001. Prices start from just £1,650+vat.
  • Business operations such as decision-making, scaling, and budget management are also made easier with Essentials Plus, as the suitable structures are in place to navigate change. Visibility is also provided to all stakeholders, making for more concise and safe operations.

How Can You Become Cyber Essentials Plus Certified?

To start the process, your business will need to obtain Cyber Essentials before becoming Cyber Essentials Plus certified. The Plus award is an extension of the original Essentials certification, which requires the same core pillars to be in place. 

Cyber Essentials Plus proves that these processes are robust and fit for purpose.

You can apply online for the Plus award, which will involve submitting a full application and arranging for external vulnerability testing to occur. Like the Essentials award, a chosen contact with a business needs to be defined as they will liaise directly with the chosen awarding body.

If you are still confused about the areas both awards cover, you can find out the difference between Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus by clicking here. Alternatively, contact the Creative Networks team to learn more.

You may also find the below blog post interesting if  you are looking to adopt Cyber Essentials Plus:

What Is The Difference Between Cyber Essentials Plus and NIST?

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