Conquer Cyber Essentials Compliance: From Struggle to Certification

January 1, 2024 ,
by Dan Goss
Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials Certification - Your path to increased security and simplicity.

If your organisation is responsible for storing and securing the data of individuals and businesses, you’ll need to demonstrate your ability to protect it from cybercriminals and the latest threats.

But how do you do that every time a client asks?

You’ll be pleased to know there’s a way to demonstrate your cybersecurity credentials to clients quickly and easily.

It’s a national certification called Cyber Essentials; and while acquiring the certificate involves a lot of hard work and effort, doing the work now will save your organisation time and costs in the long run.

More importantly, however, you’ll be able to demonstrate your ability to protect your company. And that could be the difference between winning a big contract and losing it to one of your more cybersecurity-proficient competitors.

So, how would you like to enhance your organisation’s reputation, establish trust instantly with prospective customers and become an authority in the latest cybersecurity best practices?

Of course you’d like all those things! Who wouldn’t? So it’s just as well you’ve landed right here at Workspace IT. We offer extensive experience and knowledge of Cyber Essentials — and can help you navigate and implement many of the processes and policies required to work towards attaining your Cyber Essentials Certification.

What Is the Cyber Essentials Initiative?

Before we get started on the benefits of Cyber Essentials — and how to acquire the prestigious certification — we’d best start by telling you exactly what it is.

Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials is a UK government-backed and industry-supported scheme designed to enhance the cybersecurity measures taken by organisations that handle data. The scheme provides a framework to protect against common online threats, which includes a set of cybersecurity principles and best practices.

Organisations that have satisfied the qualifying criteria of the Cyber Essentials initiative have successfully demonstrated their ability to secure their systems against the latest cyber threats — by utilising various methods and tools, including:

Patch Management

Keeping software up-to-date to address known vulnerabilities. Overseeing multiple, regularly published security patches across multiple apps and devices requires a clear strategy and advanced tools such as Microsoft Configuration Manager and Microsoft Intune.

Malware Protection

Malware protection involves proactive measures to safeguard systems and devices against the threat of malicious software. Employing robust antivirus and anti-spyware software — alongside secure authentication methods — forms a crucial aspect of this defence strategy. Regularly updating operating systems, using secure networks and staying vigilant against phishing attempts are additional key practices to enhance overall malware protection. This is one of the core managed IT services we offer here at Workspace IT.

Boundary Firewalls and Internet Gateways

Firewalls and Internet Gateways play a crucial role in enhancing the security of devices connected to the internet. They’re often the first line of defence, controlling traffic and preventing unauthorised access. Ensuring secure configurations is vital for safeguarding network infrastructure.

Secure Configuration

Secure configuration is a critical aspect of cybersecurity — encompassing the implementation of robust settings for software, devices and systems in order to minimise vulnerabilities. By adhering to secure configuration practices, organisations for strengthen their defence against potential cyber threats.

Access Control

Access control is a security measure that restricts access to sensitive data by unauthorised personnel. This process ensures that only individuals with the appropriate permissions can access confidential information — providing robust protection against data theft and misuse. This often involves incorporating strong authentication tools such as multi-factor authentication to enhance the verification process and overall security measures.

Vulnerability Monitoring and Management

Taking a proactive approach to the search and remediation of vulnerabilities is always the best way to stay one step ahead of cyber threats.

You’ll be pleased to know that Workspace IT has been helping businesses work towards certification. And we can help you achieve yours, too. That’s because we leverage them every day to protect our clients against the ever-evolving cyber threats that pose a risk to data security, profitability and reputation.

Why Get a Cyber Essentials Certification?

This Cyber Essentials stuff seems like a lot of hard work and hassle, right? Well, the self-assessment process is stringent and comprehensive. And there’s a good chance you’ll need to make some improvements to your existing cybersecurity measures to comply.

However, with the expertise, experience and detailed guidance of Workspace IT, you can ensure that crucial requirements involved in the certification process are covered — making your task simpler and more likely to be successful.

Improved Security Processes

Yes, there are kudos and trust to be gained from Cyber Essentials certification, but it’s important not to lose sight of the ultimate goal. Certification is a process that will help you develop robust security practices — protecting your organisation’s financial interests.

Build Trust with Customers

More and more businesses look for the Cyber Essentials logo when they know a potential contractor will need to manage or store their sensitive information. Yes, you can go to the time and effort of detailing your cybersecurity measures every time you meet with a prospective client, but that’s probably not the best use of your resources.

Cyber Essentials certification often instigates immediate trust with customers, suppliers and partners, as it showcases a proactive approach to protecting data from cyber threats.

Bid for Government Contracts

Certification qualifies businesses to bid for government contracts, as many government departments and agencies require suppliers to have Cyber Essentials accreditation to ensure a minimum standard of cybersecurity measures.

Trusted Register of Suppliers

Being on a trusted register of Cyber Essentials certified suppliers provides businesses with visibility and recognition — potentially leading to new opportunities and partnerships.

Enhanced Protection Against 80% of Common Cyber Attacks

Cyber Essentials certification equips businesses with enhanced protection against common cyber threats.

Compliance and GDPR Readiness

Certification aids businesses in achieving compliance with data protection regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fostering an organisational culture of data security.

Cyber Insurance Coverage

Many businesses gain access to cyber insurance coverage following Cyber Essentials certification — providing an additional layer of financial protection in the event of a cyber incident.

Increased Efficiency

The principles of Cyber Essentials are often based on having streamlined and automated cybersecurity measures in place. Simply by complying with the initiative’s requirements, you’ll be creating more efficient management processes and, potentially, cutting costs.

What Is the Cyber Essentials Plus Initiative?

If you want to go above and beyond the already stringent requirements of Cyber Essentials, consider becoming Cyber Essentials Plus certified. Compliance offers even stronger protection from cyber threats — and tells the world that you’re serious about protecting the data entrusted to you.

Both certifications share the same foundational requirements — focusing on essential security practices to safeguard against common cyber threats. However, Cyber Essentials Plus involves an additional and more rigorous assessment.

To attain the enhanced certification, organisations undergo a thorough verification process conducted by an external certifying body. This process includes a comprehensive examination of the implemented cybersecurity controls, real-time testing of systems and a more in-depth evaluation of security measures.

Not Sure Where to Start?

There’s no doubt that Cyber Essentials certification offers a wide range of benefits for any business that’s charged with the management and protection of sensitive data. But make no mistake: there’s a lot of hard work involved — even during the self-assessment process.

For a start, you’ll need a range of technologies to effectively manage fundamental processes such as patch management and malware protection. You’ll also need the knowledge and know-how to create the policies needed to secure and maintain your Cyber Essentials accreditation.

The self-assessment process involved is labour-intensive enough — that’s before you start implementing the required policies and processes involved. But fear not! Workspace IT has your back. We’ll help you put many of the measures in place needed to achieve your Cyber Essentials accreditation, so you and your team can remain focused on your core tasks and objectives.

Save time, money and a whole lot of hassle by contacting us today to discuss your road to Cyber Essentials certification. Our managed IT services included patching, vulnerability remediation and automated upgrades — ensuring you’re well on the way to attaining that all-important accreditation.

Start your journey towards certification today!

Cyber Essentials Certified

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