The Importance of Cyber Essentials for SME’s

Throughout the recent years, there has been a rapid growth in cyber-attacks, as according to Beaming, in 2019, the volume of cyber attacks on UK businesses increased by 243%. This is due to ever-increasing attack methods and the increase of businesses online presence within the digital world. Even more reason to get Cyber Essentials certified!

Hackers don’t just go after the big guys. The Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report shows that 43% of cyber-attacks are aimed at small businesses, with financial gain being the most common motivation between almost all attacks. Although mostly, cyber-attacks against larger organisations dominate the news, small businesses are also a prime target for hackers due to a presumed lack of cyber security and defences within SME’s.

If you’re a small business owner, it’s your responsibility to put defences in place to combat the threat of cyber-attacks and protect your business at all costs.

A Cyber Essentials certification is great for SME’s as it helps protect from 80% of common cyber-attacks, can be implemented & managed in-house and is most importantly – affordable.

In this review, we’ll look at what cyber essentials is, the importance of the certification and the benefits for SME’s!

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What is a Cyber Essentials certification?

Cyber Essentials is a UK government-backed certification scheme which is designed to help organisations protect from common cyber-attacks and adopt good practice within cyber security. There are 5 technical controls which have been set out in the certification; Firewalls, Secure Configuration, Control User Access, Anti-Malware and Patching for organisations to implement, which will be annually assessed to maintain compliance.

There are 2 levels to certification: Cyber Essentials Self-Assessment; a simple online assessment and Cyber Essentials Plus; which additionally includes an on-site vulnerability assessment to provide extra assurance that your organisation has met the certification requirements.

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Why is Cyber Essentials certification important for SME's?

The certification protects from common cyber-attacks and provides client and customer confidence that your business is taking the appropriate steps to tighten security internally.

Cyber Essentials is important to implement to mitigate cyber risks, and whilst there is no defence to stop cyber-attacks occurring completely, this is a solid start for small organisations. Cyber Essentials is completed by 5 implementing internal controls and answering a self-assessment questionnaire which can be managed in-house for a simple process. The guidance from our cyber security consultants is also available for businesses who need help implementing the controls and obtaining certification.

Cyber Essentials certification is important and invaluable for defending against cyber-attacks, the high rate of attacks against smaller organisations shows how important it is to mitigate those risks and protect company assets.

Benefits of Cyber Essentials for SME's

1. Protect from 80% of common cyber attacks

Implementing the 5 technical controls in the standard helps your business to be protected against 80% of common cyber threats. This is important due to the rapid increase of cyber-attacks and to minimize detrimental impacts.

2. Gaining a cyber essentials certification gives SME’s the opportunity to gain more business and win government tenders – giving your organisation a competitive edge

The UK government made it compulsory for all suppliers to be Cyber Essentials certified to be eligible to bid for government contracts. The certification is government-backed and is well respected within the UK when bidding for new business opportunities.

3. Implement and maintain in-house

Cyber Essentials can be obtained by a simple online self-assessment questionnaire through the online portal. The self-assessment can be completed by a business owner, or IT manager in-house making it a simple and swift process. Cyber Essentials Plus certification is an extension of the basic assessment and involves an internal and external vulnerability scan which our consultants carry out for you and provide their expertise.

4. It’s affordable!

The cyber essentials certification was designed to encourage businesses to implement cyber security measures in an achievable and affordable way. Cyber Essentials online self-assessment starts from £310, with an additional assisted self-assessment option for £995 for businesses looking for guidance and expertise throughout the certification process. This also includes a face-to-face meeting where our consultants can help you with the necessary recommendations to achieve compliance. Budget is a key factor for SME’s and with this certification being affordable and simple to implement, it’s a great option to take your businesses first step towards cyber security.

So, we’ve established small organisations are at a high risk of cyber-attacks and are a prime target for hackers, due to the lack of effective cyber security strategy’s and high levels of complacency. Therefore, it is important to achieve a Cyber Essentials certification at the bare minimum and protect your organisation from cyber-attacks. Becoming Cyber Essentials certified will provide your organisation with a competitive edge, eligibility to bid for government contracts and defences against up to 80% of common cyber-attacks.

CS Risk Management are a Cyber Essentials certification body, and we can help to assist your organisation in implementing the 5 specified controls and provide tailored expertise to meet the requirements of your organisation. If you would like to find out more about the cyber essentials certification or how we can help your organisation, contact us today!