Cyber Essentials criteria: An in-depth overview
Created in 2014 by the UK government, Cyber Essentials was set up as a scheme to help companies and organisations ward off cyberattacks.
Cyber Essentials was never meant to be the solution to all cybersecurity concerns but rather designed to be the minimum standard that every organisation, regardless of size, implements to protect their systems and themselves from common cyberattacks.
Today, businesses in the UK are increasingly seeing the appeal of this certification, especially for private sector contracts.
This is because such a certification mechanism demonstrates to interested parties that the necessary precautions have been taken to maintain a basic level of cybersecurity.
Businesses that gain this certification have proof of compliance and integrity with cybersecurity standards, and this increases their reliability in the eyes of their stakeholders.
Let’s dive in and see what exactly Cyber Essentials criteria cover and achieve.
The scope of Cyber Essentials
Cyber Essentials criteria cover the following:
- Monitored access to different types of servers. The only way through is through properly configured accounts; this way, users are only permitted to use files and data they genuinely require.
- Configuring and setting up firewalls and routers that will detect and fend off network attacks.
- Training employees on how to spot spam and scams instantly and guiding them through choosing strong passwords and updating software that will help guard their systems from phishing and ransomware attacks.
- Keep employees informed about applications that are trustworthy to use and install and set up the latest versions of firewalls and antivirus software.
You are only as valuable as the tools you keep; the same concept applies when ensuring your systems and applications are safe to use.
Keep in mind that the Cyber Essentials scheme is meant to help organisations deal with blunt, bothersome forms of cyberattacks and not their sophisticated counter forms.
This certificate gives businesses a stable foundation from which they can decide on how to upgrade their cybersecurity systems further.
The controls of the Cyber Essentials criteria
Cyber Essentials allow your workforce to assess your platforms and their ability to secure themselves against cyberattacks and threats.
Some of the controls are:
- Malware protection – Protecting your systems against viruses and other threats reduces the downtime needed to double-check devices throughout the organisation.
- Administrative privilege management – This allows you to reduce the chances of threats that originate from within by restricting your staff from accidentally installing unwanted software onto your devices.
- Secure configurations – This helps identify systems and databases that no longer are either required or needed, thereby giving you the ability to reduce storage and bandwidth consumption.
- Boundary firewalls and internet gateways – Better understand and manage your bandwidth requirements, nullifying the risk from external threats.
- Patch management – This is about updating software on computers and network devices capable of resisting basic threats and cyberattacks.
To become certified, an online account needs to be created within the Cyber Essentials Scheme Portal, after which your company will need to fill out a self-assessment questionnaire.
A member of the board will have to sign off on the assessment to confirm its completion and accuracy.
After having the assessment completed, reviewed, and once found successful, you are then awarded the Cyber Essentials certificate.
Does this certificate make a difference? Yes, the Cyber Essentials certificate is necessary to showcase that you have controls in place to mitigate cyberattacks.
Gaining this certificate also makes you less vulnerable to cyberattacks as you become an entity that is recognised as being able to handle such threats. It also gives the impression to your vendors, suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders that your business makes its digital security an absolute priority.
Enjoy the benefits of the Cyber Essentials certification
Getting certified will reduce insurance premiums, boost investor and customer confidence, and implement recognised security controls familiarised within your organisation.
Bolster your defences today against common threats with a suitable Cyber Essentials scheme.
If you are looking for more insights into Cyber Essentials certification, don’t hesitate to contact a team of experts ready to jump in and help.