I know why you’re here.
You’re wondering if you really need to get your business Cyber Essentials certified, aren’t you?
You need to know this, though: while signing up for Cyber Essentials isn’t mandatory, doing so is immensely valuable for your company.
You can shore up your cybersecurity by leaps and bounds, safeguard your information assets, and earn the trust of your customers and potential investors.
The certification even opens doors to new business opportunities your competitors may not obtain.
That being said, in this post, we will delve into how a Cyber Essentials accreditation can benefit you and what you need to do to get certified.
Let’s get started.
Bolstering Your Cybersecurity
When you apply for Cyber Essentials certification, you get the chance to work more tangibly on bolstering your company’s cybersecurity.
For one thing, you can review your company’s IT environment more comprehensively and respond to related issues.
Together with your managers and IT staff, you can ponder on these questions:
- When was our most recent internal cybersecurity audit?
- When did we last review our policies for information security?
- Who is managing our IT defense mechanisms?
- Have we updated our endpoint security? Do we regularly update it?
- How are we governing data access? Whom do we allow to retrieve which kind of information?
If your company depends heavily on IT infrastructures, you need to ask yourselves these questions and act properly based on your answers.
What’s more, with this level of inspection, you can unearth any security flaws and involve your management and staff more actively in reinforcing your IT defenses.
Signing up for Cyber Essentials even helps you safeguard your systems from 80 percent of the most pervasive cyber threats.
These include phishing and other social engineering schemes, malware-based attacks like ransomware, password-based intrusions, and many more.
Keep in mind that these threats can happen because of even your tiniest security loopholes that hackers can find and exploit.
Remember, if cybercriminals succeed to permeate your network, you can lose data and other assets worth up to millions of dollars, including customer trust and a dependable reputation.
Additional Business Advantages
Besides cyber protection, getting accredited for the program offers additional game-changing advantages for your business.
One is that you can receive a badge that shows you’re Cyber Essentials certified. You can display this badge on your website, app, and other marketing collaterals.
By showcasing it, you assure your customers that you have robust security defenses, and they can trust you with their money and personal information.
As a result, they will feel confident in transacting with you and patronizing your store, leading to increased sales and conversions, better site performance, and more.
Being Cyber Essentials accredited also enables you to apply for insurance coverage of up to more than 32,000 US dollars.
Cyber insurance companies, after all, prefer clients who take cybersecurity seriously by installing the right defenses.
Plus, when you’re Cyber Essentials accredited, you have more chances of bagging government project contracts involving sensitive details and technical services.
Public agencies are mandated to tap certified companies for those engagements. Doing so helps them preserve the integrity of their data and enhance security in the supply chain.
A Cyber Essentials certification even helps you follow the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), one of the world’s strictest standards for information privacy, particularly of EU citizen users.
Because of the growing number and impact of data breaches, which drive acceleration in the cybersecurity startup scene, the EU government body created the GDPR for greater cyber protection when you collect your customers’ data.
If breaches take place and the GDPR body finds you negligent, you can pay hefty fines reaching four percent of global turnover.
By processing your Cyber Essentials certification, you can enforce strong data security mechanisms and help you comply with the GDPR stipulations.
In the event of a breach, you can even defend your business from penalties by showing your accreditation as proof that you’ve established proper security controls (which leads us to the next point).
Establishing Robust Defense Controls
To help you fortify your IT landscape, Cyber Essentials highlights five primary defense controls.
One of these is security configuration, where you have to place powerful configuration settings as extra layers of security for your devices, systems, networks, and others.
That means you need to strengthen your usernames and passwords, change default login codes into personalized ones, remove bloatware, set up two-factor authentication, and more.
Another defense control you should install across your whole IT landscape is firewalls.
Firewalls block unwanted and malicious traffic from entering your networks and corrupting your files as you surf the Internet.
You need to regularly update your firewalls, though, because viruses and other threats constantly evolve.
Outdated firewalls can fail to recognize these new versions as harmful components, consequently permitting them to pass through your network stream.
Malware protection is another crucial defense control for your business.
Enforcing this entails installing and periodically updating your anti-malware software programs.
Malware, after all, can take different, changing forms that out-of-date anti-malware programs can’t detect and prevent from entering your systems.
When malware succeeds in permeating your IT landscape, it can corrupt your files, and even slow down your computers and devices, ruining your systems’ efficiency, among others.
That is why security experts often advise you to install and update your anti-malware programs not only to safeguard your data but also to make your computer run like a new one again.
Part of malware protection as well is educating your staff about hackers’ fraudulent techniques, like phishing, where they insert malicious links or files into legit-looking emails.
If your employees are ignorant about these schemes, they can download these files or click those links and fail to report them to your IT department.
Cyber Essentials even emphasizes access governance, where you must restrict who can obtain specific kinds of company information.
Governing data access means that only those with directly relevant duties and engagements can acquire the necessary files.
Doing so allows you to limit the number of possible culprits and trace them quickly should breaches happen.
Finally, to qualify for a Cyber Essentials certification, you must enforce patch management or the prompt, timely application of appropriate fixes to any IT vulnerabilities.
This practice includes updating your computers and defense software programs, among others.
Getting Certified for Cyber Essentials
To obtain your accreditation, you need first to perform an internal security audit. Examine your IT landscape, get a 30,000-feet view, and record your discoveries.
You then need to run a vulnerability scan or tap trusted service providers to do it for you. Doing this lets you find and correct any security weaknesses in your IT environment.
Next, you must answer 52 multiple-choice questions revolving around how you handle the five technical controls. Your certifying body will then examine and verify your answers.
When your vulnerability scan, questionnaire responses, and shared service assessment reveal positive results, the accrediting body hands your Cyber Essentials certificate and badge to you.
Cyber Essentials is a tremendous aid to strengthen your IT security, and consequently, your reliability in the eyes of your customers, business partners, and investors.
Getting Cyber Essentials certified can even go a long way in boosting your competitive edge, sales, and business performance, among others.
Remember, acquiring a Cyber Essentials certification is worth every dollar and minute you invest in it. The sooner you sign up, the faster you can experience the benefits it brings to your business.