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Cyber Essentials: What it is, and why you need it

Cyber threats, or attacks that take place over the internet via websites, email or networks are an increasing everyday threat.

Whether for malicious or criminal reasons, hackers are exploiting systemic weaknesses to access information or disrupt stability, causing havoc for businesses who rely on cyber security to protect private information, business functions and more.

What is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials is a government-backed and industry-supported programme that is helping businesses protect themselves against cyber-attacks by:

  • Giving clarity on essential security controls and parameters need to be in place to reduce risk
  • Providing businesses and organisations with a certification that makes them compliant, and eligible to bid for business from UK Government
  • Protecting against 80% of common cyber attacks
  • Protecting against data theft
  • Allowing businesses to promote themselves as being cyber-aware

In order to bid for central UK Government and Ministry of Defence contracts, it is mandatory to be Cyber Essentials certified.

What specifically are the controls that Cyber Essentials checks against?

There are five essential tests, including:

  • Testing Firewalls and internet gateways to confirm hardware and software are working correctly.
  • Ensuring secure configurations have been implemented on all systems and are suitable for the business’s specific functionality and needs.
  • Checking that access control has been set up to provide staff with appropriate levels of access according to their designation.
  • Ensuring all Malware and Virus protection has been installed, is up-to-date and working correctly.
  • Checking that the latest supported versions of all applications are being used and all necessary patches and updates have been applied.

Why get Cyber Essentials certified?

There are numerous advantages and benefits to achieving certification including:

  • Demonstrating your business’s commitment to cyber security, which builds client and customer confidence
  • Allowing your business to bid for Government contracts, giving you a competitive advantage over companies that do not have accreditation
  • Giving your business additional GDPR compliance
  • Protecting data that is essential to the core value of your business. Whether it’s your internal data or that of your clients

How do I get Cyber Essentials certified?

There are two Cyber Essentials certifications:

  • Cyber Essentials is the minimum certification an organisation needs to implement in order to bid for new public sector contracts.
  • Cyber Essentials Plus is a more rigorous test of your organisation’s cyber security systems where the Cyber Essentials team of cyber security experts carry out vulnerability tests to make sure that your organisation is protected against basic hacking and phishing attacks.

To get your business Cyber Essentials certified, speak to one of our experts today to begin the process. Contact us on 01223 921 000 or email