An Introduction to Cyber Essentials Plus
With increasingly prevalent cyber threats that can compromise sensitive business information or cause substantial financial losses, it’s essential to take proactive measures to protect our digital assets. One such approach is obtaining Cyber Essentials Plus certification. But what is Cyber Essentials Plus, what does it offer over the standard Cyber Essentials certification and how can it help your business? Let’s dive in.
What is Cyber Essentials Plus?
Cyber Essentials Plus is a certification scheme created by the UK government to help organisations improve their cyber security posture. The certification focuses on five key areas:
- Secure configuration
- Boundary firewalls and internet gateways
- Access control and administrative privilege management
- Patch management
- Malware protection
What is the difference between Cyber Essentials Plus and standard Cyber Essentials certification?
In short, while the basic Cyber Essentials certification is awarded based on a self-assessment questionnaire, Cyber Essentials Plus takes things a step further. Here’s some further details on the key differences between the two:
- More Rigorous Assessment Process: Cyber Essentials Plus involves a more comprehensive evaluation process compared to the standard certification. In addition to the self-assessment questionnaire, organisations must undergo technical vulnerability assessments and on-site assessments to ensure that they are adhering to the highest standards of cyber security.
- Enhanced Security Assurance: The additional assessments involved in the Cyber Essentials Plus certification process, provide a higher level of assurance that an organisation’s security measures are effective in mitigating cyber threats. This means that organisations with Cyber Essentials Plus certification have a stronger security posture compared to those with the standard certification.
- Increased Trust and Credibility: Achieving Cyber Essentials Plus certification demonstrates a higher level of commitment to cyber security, which can enhance an organisation’s reputation and credibility. This added trust can be especially valuable when dealing with clients, partners, and suppliers who prioritise cyber security.
- Access to Government Contracts: In some cases, having Cyber Essentials Plus certification may be a prerequisite for bidding on certain government contracts, providing organisations with additional business opportunities.
More on the Cyber Essentials Plus Assessment Process
In order to obtain Cyber Essentials Plus certification there are three main steps to the process.
The first step in obtaining Cyber Essentials Plus certification is completing a self-assessment questionnaire. This questionnaire covers the five key areas of the certification and helps you identify any gaps in your cyber security measures.
Technical Vulnerability Assessments
Once you have completed the self-assessment questionnaire, a certified assessor will conduct a technical vulnerability assessment. This involves scanning your systems and devices to identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cyber attackers.
The final step in the certification process is an on-site assessment. The assessor will visit your premises to verify that your security measures are in place and working effectively. They will also review your policies and procedures to ensure that they align with Cyber Essentials Plus requirements.
Benefits of Cyber Essentials Plus Certification
As touched on above, two of the benefits of obtaining ‘Plus’ certification relate to how your business is perceived by others and the opportunities this can create:
Building Trust with Clients and Partners – In today’s digital landscape, trust is paramount. Clients and partners want to know that their sensitive information is safe in your hands. By achieving Cyber Essentials Plus certification, you showcase your dedication to cyber security and assure them that you have implemented robust measures to protect their data.
Competitive Advantage – Having Cyber Essentials Plus certification sets you apart from competitors who may not have taken the same steps to enhance their security posture. It demonstrates your commitment to safeguarding your organisation, making you a more attractive choice for clients and partners.
But the main benefit is the establishment of a more robust security framework within your organisation:
Increased Cybersecurity for Your Business – The rigorous assessment process ensures that your business has implemented comprehensive cyber security measures across all critical areas. This robust framework not only helps in preventing cyber attacks, but also aids in the detection and response to potential threats more effectively. By achieving Cyber Essentials Plus certification, you demonstrate a proactive approach to cyber security, providing your organisation with a solid foundation to build upon and adapt as the digital landscape evolves.
Maintaining Compliance with Cyber Essentials Plus
Maintaining Cyber Essentials Plus certification requires ongoing commitment to cyber security.
Regular Security Audits
Regular security audits should be conducted to ensure that your security measures remain up-to-date and effective against evolving threats.
Employee Training and Awareness
Cyber security is not just about technology; it’s also about people. Ensuring that your employees are aware of cyber threats and best practices for protecting your organisation is crucial. Regular training and awareness sessions can help to reinforce the importance of cyber security and reduce the risk of human error.
As technology and cyber threats continue to evolve, it’s essential to continually improve your cyber security measures. This means staying informed about emerging risks, updating your policies and procedures as necessary, and investing in new technologies to enhance your security posture.
Cyber Essentials Plus certification is a valuable tool for organisations looking to bolster their cyber security measures and build trust with clients and partners. By achieving this certification, you demonstrate your commitment to protecting your organisation’s digital assets and reducing the risk of a cyber attack.
Cyber Essentials Plus FAQs
What is the difference between Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus?
Cyber Essentials is a basic certification based on a self-assessment questionnaire, while Cyber Essentials Plus involves a more rigorous evaluation process, including technical vulnerability assessments and on-site assessments.
How often does Cyber Essentials Plus certification need to be renewed?
Cyber Essentials Plus certification needs to be renewed annually to ensure that your organisation continues to adhere to the highest standards of cyber security.
Do I need to be based in the UK to obtain Cyber Essentials Plus certification?
Although the scheme was developed by the UK government, organisations outside the UK can also benefit from obtaining Cyber Essentials Plus certification.
What size organisations can benefit from Cyber Essentials Plus certification?
Organisations of all sizes can benefit from Cyber Essentials Plus certification, as it demonstrates a commitment to robust cyber security measures.
Does Cyber Essentials Plus certification guarantee protection against all cyber threats?
While Cyber Essentials Plus certification significantly reduces the risk of a cyber attack, no security measure can guarantee complete protection. Maintaining certification requires ongoing commitment to cyber security and staying informed about emerging threats.