You don’t have to be an IT security professional to know that there are plenty of risks facing anyone who uses internet tools in their work, and these days that means just about everyone.
That’s why an initiative called Cyber Essentials is something that you need to know about. Not only can it help protect you against a range of threats, but it can also help your productivity and increase security for your customers and clients.
Cyber Essentials is a government-backed scheme that aims to offer effective protection that is simple to understand. It is aimed at businesses and organisations of every size, from SMEs to large corporations. This industry-supported scheme recognises that according to the UK Government, 80% of cyber-attacks could be prevented if even the most simple cyber security controls were put in place,
The fact is that cyber-attacks aren’t just a threat for major corporations, as hackers and scammers can be relatively unskilled and willing to try their luck with almost any target. As you might not have either the time or the resources to spend on developing your own security environment, Cyber Essentials has been designed to offer something for everyone with three levels of engagement.
Firstly, the simplest solution is to make sure that you are familiar with cyber security terminology, allowing you to take preventative measures as needed. The second level is a basic entry-level Cyber Essentials certification and the third is for those who would like to benefit from a Cyber Essentials Plus certification.
Using a self-assessment option, you can achieve a good level of protection against most of the common forms of cyber-attack. Gaining certification then also means that malicious individuals and collectives who are looking for “easy targets” will be immediately deterred.
To obtain Cyber Essentials Certification, it costs around £300. It is a simple process, and allows you to access as much help as you need from the company that you choose for your certification.
Cyber Essentials Plus offers all the same benefits but has the important distinction of having an independent Certification Body verify your security setup.
It doesn’t take much to disrupt productivity or cause a loss of company or client data – even a basic virus or piece of malware can cause untold problems. Of course, a security breach could mean that you fall foul of the Data Protection Act or GDPR regulations and mean that as well as reputational damage, you could face fines or prosecution.
In the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is tasked with regulating breaches of GDPR rules and it recommends Cyber Essentials as “a good starting point” for your cyber security needs.
If you do obtain certification, then you will not only be protected against common cyber threats and be able to illustrate to your customers and clients that you take the issue seriously, but you will also be able to bid for government contracts.