What is Cyber Essentials?
Here at ATG, we always recommend businesses look into achieving either Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation, and we have both a Plus certificate and the IASME standard, based on backup and security best practice.
The government-approved scheme tests your security processes, identifies any gaps and helps you to resolve these. Once you’ve demonstrated that you’re compliant with the requirements, you’re verified and certified. The Plus level goes one step further and a third party simulates a hack to test your systems.
GDPR legislation, introduced to the UK last year, has only highlighted the importance of companies being able to show they’re upholding their legal requirement and protecting client data. ATG encourage business owners to get support throughout the year to monitor systems to identify and deter threats, rather than simply having the annual test.
How can it Help Your Business?
While it’s obvious that data protection, reducing the risk of cyber attacks and ensuring compliance to stay on the right side of the law are essential for your business, there are other benefits to having Cyber Essential that you might not have considered. We look at five of them here.
Enhance Your Reputation
Cyber Essentials, jointly managed by the UK Government and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), is used and recognised nationally. Having the certification instantly shows you take GDPR and security seriously.
With the increase in cyber criminal attacks targeting smaller businesses and causing serious problems, demonstrating your commitment to data protection also shows that you’re a professional organisation and customers know their information will be safe with you.
Win Higher Level Clients
Following on from the first point, as your reputation builds, you’ll become better known and clients will start recommending you. Over time, you’ll start to develop a greater understanding of their business needs and will become essential to their success.
Once you’re known for your great work, you’ll be able to approach bigger companies, or even find that they come to you. This also means that you can charge higher rates, as they’ll expect to pay more for a better level of service and the peace of mind that comes from knowing their data is secure.
Help with Business as Usual
We’ve seen the stories in the media about what happens when a business’ data is compromised – they have to drop everything and focus on getting their systems fixed. In some situations, a cyber hacker holds the data to ransom, so the company can’t access it until they pay a fee to the criminal.
Anything that slows your business down increases the likelihood of loss of earnings, clients, suppliers and reputation. When a company is unable to resolve a breach or can’t afford to pay off a ransom (which they think is the right thing to do), they can even have to close down completely.
Having Cyber Essentials accreditation means you’re protected from cyber criminals, especially if it’s one that happens on a larger scale, such as the WannaCry attack. And if the worst does happen, you’re equipped to deal with it quickly and minimise the damage.
Be Part of a Supply Chain
Large public sector organisations and multinationals operating on a global scale often rely on several smaller companies to provide specialist goods and services. Sometimes, one business will recommend a partner they’re already working with, and liaise with that partner on behalf of their client.
Once you’re part of a supply chain, everyone within that is vulnerable to attacks which target one of the links. Unfortunately, small businesses are most likely to be the easiest to hack, as they haven’t invested in robust enough cyber security, or have any protection at all.
Having Cyber Essentials means that your business won’t be the one which exposes all the other links to malware or a data breach, and just as importantly, will protect you if one of those links is attacked themselves. The certification gives you more opportunities to win bigger contracts with companies who operate worldwide.
As detailed in our Do I need Cyber Essentials for Defence Contracts? article, The Ministry of Defence (MOD) also operates on the supply chain model, and in order to work with them, your business must have Cyber Essentials accreditation, and this needs to be in place before any work commences.
The MOD have developed a specialist tool to keep their partners safe and to enable them to spot potential cyber security risks. This is known as DART (Defence Assurance Risk Tool) and it’s an important part of how they operate.
As part of the Defence Cyber Protection Program (DCPP) All contracts put out to tender are assessed against a list of five risk profiles, and assigned to one from not applicable to high. Depending on the level of risk, suppliers need either Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus to give them the chance to pitch for the work.
To find out more about Cyber Essentials and why you need it in your business, download our Cyber Essentials Business Guide.
Here at ATG, we have recently renewed our Cyber Essentials(+) and IASME certification, we are also assessors for both accreditations. So if you wish to let us manage your compliance, simply fill out the form below and one of our representatives will get in touch.