How to get Cyber Essentials certification
Cyber Essentials is a UK Government-backed certification scheme that helps businesses protect themselves against common cyber-attacks. The certification is designed to be accessible to all organisations, regardless of size or sector, and provides a clear and cost-effective way for businesses to demonstrate to customers, suppliers and other stakeholders that they take cyber security seriously.
From our offices in Southend-On-Sea, Plan IT Support has guided dozens of our clients in Essex and London through their Cyber Essentials certification, from the application right through to the assessment and submission. Want to know the point of it all? Read below for the process, and the benefits of being certified.
What are the benefits of gaining Cyber Essentials certification?
Being certified can provide several benefits to your organisation:
1: Improved security
By completing the certification process, you can identify and address common cyber threats, which can help you better protect your networks and systems from attacks.
2: Competitive advantage
Certification can demonstrate to customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders that your business takes cybersecurity seriously, which can be a competitive advantage when bidding for contracts.
Cyber Essentials certification can help you comply with regulations such as the Government’s Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP) and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
4: Cost savings
Implementing basic cybersecurity controls can help you avoid costly data breaches and other security incidents, which can be incredibly expensive for your business.
5: Brand protection
Cyber attacks can damage an organisation’s reputation and brand. Gaining Cyber Essentials certification can help protect your brand by showing that you take cyber security seriously and have implemented basic controls to protect against attacks.
6: Cyber insurance
Some insurance companies offer discounts or other incentives to organisations that have achieved Cyber Essentials certification, as it reduces the risk of a cyber-incident.
If any or all of this is ringing some bells, then it’s best to get started quite quickly. You may be in the process of tendering business that requires certification, so you need to be on the ball. And the potential reduction of insurance premiums may end up with the certificate paying for itself! We’ve done this loads of times so give us a nudge.
What is Cyber Essentials Plus?
There’s two version of the certificate: Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus. The main difference between the two is the level of assurances they provide.
Cyber Essentials is a self-assessment scheme that requires organisations to complete a questionnaire and provide evidence of their compliance with a set of basic security controls. This scheme is designed to help identify and address the most common cyber threats.
Cyber Essentials Plus, on the other hand, is an externally assessed scheme that includes a vulnerability scan to check for known vulnerabilities on the organisation’s network. Additionally, an external assessor will also conduct a review of the organisation’s security controls and policies. This scheme provides a higher level of assurance that a business has implemented the necessary controls to protect against cyber threats.
What does the Cyber Essentials certification process involve?
The certification process involves an online, self-assessment questionnaire that covers five key technical controls:
- Boundary firewalls and internet gateways
- Secure configuration
- Access control
- Malware protection
- Patch management
To obtain the certification, you must complete the self-assessment questionnaire and have it independently verified by an accredited certification body (at the time of writing, the sole accreditation body is IASME).
To prepare for the certification process, you should first identify who within the organisation will be responsible for completing the questionnaire. This will typically be someone with a good understanding of the business’s IT systems and security controls.
Next, you will conduct a thorough review of your existing IT systems and security controls to ensure that they meet the requirements of the questionnaire. This may involve making changes to existing systems or implementing new controls to ensure compliance.
Once you are ready to proceed, you can begin the certification process by registering with an accredited certification body. The certification body will then provide access to the self-assessment questionnaire, which you will complete in full [whisper: we can help you with this bit too].
After the questionnaire has been completed, the certification body will carry out an independent verification of the answers provided. This may involve conducting a remote assessment or a site visit of your premises.
If the assessor is satisfied that your organisation has met the requirements of the questionnaire, they will award the Cyber Essentials certification. Annual re-certification is required to ensure that your IT systems and security controls remain up to date and effective.
Let Plan IT Support do the donkey work for your certification
As you can see, working with Plan IT Support to achieve Cyber Essentials certification can be a valuable step for any small or medium business in Southend, in Essex or in London looking to improve their cybersecurity posture. Not only can we provide the technical expertise and resources needed to complete the certification process, but we can also offer ongoing support and guidance to help you and your business maintain compliance and protect against cyber threats. This can be especially important for SMBs that may not have dedicated IT personnel.
By partnering with Plan IT Support for your Cyber Essentials certification, your organisation will benefit from the same level of protection as larger companies without having to invest anywhere near as much in labour and resources. Get in touch today and see how quick and easy it can be for your business to achieve Cyber Essentials certification.
Plan IT Support can help you with Cyber Essentials certification
We’ve helped loads of clients with their Cyber Essentials assessments, and their annual resubmissions. Contact us using the form below, and we can have a chat about how we can help you.
A valued business partner that has provided us top-level service and support for coming up to ten years. They’re responsive, agile and plain-speaking. Our relationship with Plan IT has grown positively along with the needs of our business.
Plan IT has played an invaluable and indispensable part in the growth of our business, and are on hand in a moment’s notice to solve problems both small and large. They have proved to be reliable and professional while offering great value for money. I couldn’t recommend them more.
Plan IT have supported us for the last 11 years. In that time we’ve moved offices multiple times and our IT requirements have changed drastically. Plan IT have been fantastic – working with us to put in place solutions to support our business and clients. Their personal service, can-do attitude and outstanding support have helped Tempus get to where we are today. We look forward to working together for many years to come.
Plan IT helped make the Cyber Essentials process smooth and easy. We went through the self-assessment route and they helped answer any questions we needed support with. We always use Plan IT for our IT support due to their knowledge and experience.
In the 8 years I’ve worked with Plan IT Support, I’ve not once had an IT issue (personally or professionally) that they’ve not been able to resolve. They are quite simply, brilliant! They’re on hand when you need then, respond quickly, are friendly, trustworthy and professional. I can’t recommend them enough.
I think that switching our IT support over to you was one of the best business decisions Shearwater has made – it’s so refreshing not only to get a reply to queries so quickly but also to have you so willing to help out with even the little things.
I would recommend Plan IT to any business looking for a friendly and reliable IT service from very knowledgeable people. The service they have provided is second to none, even going as far as resolving technical issues outside of business hours within minutes. Their response time is swift, and their advice is competent and refreshingly clear.
We really weren’t aware just how much the company would come to depend on video meetings and remote working until the effects of 2020 hit. The work Plan IT did with us before and during the pandemic to get us into the cloud has been instrumental in keeping our business working smoothly, despite everything.
As a start-up, Plan IT have helped guide us with the full knowledge of what we need to do at the start, and how we need to build and develop as we grow. Their service is fantastic and they are always quick to respond and help in any way they can. We would highly recommend them to any organisation.
You have always provided us with an amazingly fast and efficient service at a very reasonable cost, going about your work in a very approachable and polite manner. It makes a huge difference and gives us a great sense of security to know that you guys are always on call and available to work through issues that come up.
Plan IT Support are a jargon-free breath of fresh air. They provide swift and effective solutions for all our needs in the fast moving world of information technology. I highly recommend them to businesses large and small.