What is Cyber Essentials and why do I need it?

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Cyber crime is at an all-time high and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. According to Astra (source here), around 2,328 cyber crimes occur every day, and between 2001 and 2021, cyber crime has amounted to the loss of more than £20 billion from over 6.5 million victims. 

Here are just a few more cyber crime stats from 2022 that should put the scale of cyber crime into perspective:

  • Cyber crime cost businesses in the UK an average of £4,200
  • 39% of UK businesses suffered a cyber attack 
  • Over 236.1 million ransomware attacks took place globally in the first 6 months of the year 
  • 1 in 5 internet users were affected by the 1 billion emails exposed 

The rate of cyber crime means that being attacked by cyber criminals is no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’. Therefore, businesses who conduct in any way online must protect themselves in order to be prepared for when the day eventually comes. After all, by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.

With working from home becoming the new normal, and online business booming, there is a new and constantly developing opportunity for cyber criminals to exploit weaknesses in IT networks and computer systems.

This is where Cyber Essentials can help. 

What is Cyber Essentials? 

Cyber Essentials is a scheme backed by the government that helps businesses of any size to protect themselves against the most common forms of cyber crime. 

The scheme is operated and developed by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and is a fantastic first step for businesses looking for a more secure network, as it protects them from 80% of the most common cyber attacks and breaches. 

By gaining a Cyber Essentials certificate, businesses have certified security that will both reassure employees and customers that your infrastructure and processes are secure. It can also attract new business by promising proper cyber security measures are in place.

The 2 levels of Cyber Essentials 

Cyber Essentials is offered on two levels, Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus.

Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials shows you how to address and prevent the most common cyber attacks through self-assessment. Understanding basic attacks is vital for more reasons than one, not only does it help you to protect yourself from catastrophic damage, but it also stops you from being marked as a target for more in-depth attention from cyber criminals. If you are seen to know the basics, you are seen as less vulnerable. 

Gaining the Cyber Essentials certification affords you peace of mind that your defences will protect against the most common cyber attacks, which are looking for targets who are without the Cyber Essentials technical controls in place.

Cyber Essentials Plus

Cyber Essentials Plus also works with the aim of becoming fully protected through simplistic means, but also offers a hands-on technical verification carried out on your business. This provides that extra level of protection.

Who is Cyber Essentials for? 

Any business – large or small – that operates online in any capacity. Whether you store information on the cloud or you have a complex online system that your employees use, Cyber Essentials is for you. 

Cyber Essentials is suitable for any sector and can benefit all businesses. 

Why should I get a Cyber Essentials certificate? 

As mentioned above, Cyber Essential certificates are entirely beneficial to both a business and their customers. 

Business owners can rest easy knowing that their assets and finances are safe from the reach of cyber criminals, and with every 1 in 2 organisations experiencing a successful cyber attack in the last 3 years (according to SoSafe), this can be a real relief. 

But that’s not all, a Cyber Essentials certificate attracts new clients and in turn, grows your business. If a customer can trust that their data will be safe in your hands, they are far more likely to purchase from you or invest in your solutions. 

Is a Cyber Essentials certificate mandatory? 

Yes and no. For most businesses, a Cyber Essentials certification is not mandatory. However, in some circumstances, they are. 

If a business is looking to achieve a specific government contract, they will need a certification in order to even bid. The government must see that businesses are entering into contracts with the correct standards and technical requirements as defined by the scheme. 

When it comes to government contracts, the business will need Cyber Essentials if any of the following apply: 

  • Your business handles the personal information of UK citizens (e.g. home address or bank account details) 
  • Your business handles the personal information of government employees, advisors, or visitors (e.g. information relating to expenses or payrolls) 
  • Your business delivers IT services or products that are designed to store, transfer, or process data at an official level 

If you are looking to bid on a contract and you align with the points above, you must have a Cyber Essentials certification. 

Similarly, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) requires that all its suppliers comply with the Cyber Essentials Scheme. If businesses fail to do so, they could find themselves with cancelled contracts or renewals not taking place. That’s all your hard work wasted and even overall business success potentially in jeopardy.

How much does a Cyber Essentials certificate cost? 

SupPortal offers the choice of either Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus certificates, from £300 per year. 

Cyber Essentials with SupPortal 

At SupPortal, we work with businesses to prioritise their cyber safety. That’s why we offer both levels of Cyber Essentials. 

Alongside this, whether it’s a security breach from cyber criminals, viruses, malware or even an accidental employee breach, we can help. We provide a range of CSaaS solutions including Managed Cyber Security subscriptions, Cyber Security Assessments, Cyber Security Awareness Training, Cyber Incident Response and Disaster Recovery.

If you’d like to talk further about Cyber Essentials, chat to us at 02380982218. 

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