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Cyber Essentials
Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials

What Is Its Function, And Why Is It A Key Tool In Keeping Your Organisation Safe Online?


If you scroll through the Pro Cloud Solutions website, however briefly, you will see many mentions of cyber security and the importance we place on mitigating the risk of online disruption for our clients. “In order to best help the organisations we work with, our team of tech experts take time to really understand our clients’ business operations and the sectors they work in” says Pro Cloud Solutions MD Simon Waugh:


“From the outset, it is vital for us to have accurate knowledge of a business’ current cyber security position so that we can identify weaknesses, make recommendations that are fit for purpose and to work with the firm to formulate robust project plans. The initial Cyber Essentials questionnaire is a comprehensive starting point when looking at the support we can offer”

Why the need?


When one looks at the stark reality of the cyber security landscape, it is no surprise that many of the exploratory meetings we have with potential clients feature conversations around improving digital and online protection.


The National Cyber Security Centre’s 2022 Cyber Security Breaches survey[i] reported that in the previous 12 months, 39% of UK businesses identified a cyber-attack, but suggests that the figure in reality may be higher, as less cyber mature organisations may be underreporting. The NCSC goes on to highlight that overall, only 50% of businesses updated the board on cyber security matters at least quarterly, only 33% conducted a risk assessment, and merely 17% carried out staff training. Furthermore, use of an Incident Management Policy is limited, with only 19% of businesses having a formal incident response plan.


What is perhaps more telling is that the report reveals that in qualitative interviews, organisations spoke of a lack of understanding of what constitutes effective cyber risk management, which is compounded by a lack of expertise and perceived complexity of cyber security matters. Having reflected above on the usefulness of Cyber Essentials in our work with clients, it is worrying that the NCSC survey also states that only 16% of businesses and 19% of charities are aware of government guidance initiatives such as Cyber Essentials.


What is Cyber Essentials, and what does it look at?


Cyber Essentials is a UK government-backed scheme designed to help you to protect your organisation, whatever its size, against a whole range of the most common cyber-attacks. The scheme was introduced by the UK Government in 2014 as a way to help make the UK the safest place to do business. A team of experts at the IASME Consortium[ii], who created and oversee Cyber Essentials on behalf of UK government, review the scheme at regular intervals to ensure it stays effective in the ever-evolving threat landscape. The progressive nature of Cyber Essentials is designed to allow UK businesses to continue raising the bar for their cyber security.


There are two levels of certification:


Cyber Essentials


This is a self-assessment option, whose outputs and activities give businesses protection against a wide variety of the most common cyber-attacks. This is important because vulnerability to basic attacks can mark your organisation out as target for more in-depth unwanted attention from cyber criminals and others. Certification gives you peace of mind that your defences will protect against the vast majority of common cyber-attacks, simply because these malicious attempts are looking for targets which do not have the Cyber Essentials technical controls in place. Cyber Essentials shows you how to address those basics and prevent the most common attacks.

Cyber Essentials Plus


Cyber Essentials Plus still has the Cyber Essentials trademark simplicity of approach, and the protections you need to put in place are the same, but for Cyber Essentials Plus a hands-on technical verification is carried out in addition.


Categories looked at within Cyber Essentials are:

  1. Firewalls

  2. Secure Configuration

  3. Device Locking

  4. Security Update Management

  5. User Access Control

  6. Administrative Accounts


Overall, The Cyber Essentials scheme concludes[iii]:

“Cyber-attacks come in many shapes and sizes, but the vast majority are very basic in nature, carried out by relatively unskilled individuals. They’re the digital equivalent of a thief trying your front door to see if it’s unlocked. Our advice is designed to prevent these attacks”.

The Cyber Essentials badge helps an organization demonstrate the ability to:

  • Identify potential risks to better protect against common cyber threats,

  • Adopt proper security controls to protect customer data.

How can Pro Cloud Solutions help?


Revisiting the NCSC statement above regarding lack of understanding, and the worry that businesses have around perceived complexity of reducing risk of malicious cyber disruption, it important for readers to note that working with Pro Cloud Solutions on Cyber Essentials is an ideal way of overcoming both lack of expertise within an organisation and concerns business leaders may have about methods required to improve the online safety of staff, systems and critical data.


At Pro Cloud Solutions we look after businesses of all sizes, and with all levels of technical knowledge. We have significant experience of ensuring that when it comes to IT security and protection, we always package our services to provide the best fit for each individual company. Our team are highly skilled, armed with all the very latest knowledge and certification – but what makes Pro Cloud Solutions different is that we are on a mission to work across all levels of understanding, each and every time. This ensures our advice is clear and uncomplicated from initial service discussions through to implementation and our ongoing support services.


What impact will using Cyber Essentials have on my organisation?


As well as the clear internal benefits of using Cyber Essentials, both from a security and upskilling point of view, there are a number of key external brand and business development benefits that IASME is keen to assert, stating that a business’ use of Cyber Essentials will:

  • Give a clear picture of your organisation’s cyber security level,

  • Reassure customers and potential customers that you are working to secure your IT against cyber-attack,

  • Attract and help retain employees, who feel protected by an organisation with keen oversight,

  • Attract new business with the promise you have cyber security measures in place.


For companies keen to bid for government and public sector contracts, this final point is worth noting as the Cyber Essentials scheme is a requirement for all UK government suppliers handling any personal data, and is also a stipulation for many local authority and private sector large infrastructure contracts.


Cyber Essentials – a firm step in the right direction

When it comes to ensuring your organisation is well protected against cyber threats to your company data and systems there will always be more that can be done. But, here at Pro Cloud Solutions, we are certain that Cyber Essentials is not only a good starting point in discussions around current position, but also a firm step in the right direction in mitigating as much risk as possible.


As we increasingly benefit from, but also rely more heavily on, the use of online technology in our business operations, it has never been more important to ensure that sound measures are in place to protect data, systems and staff.


Reach out to Pro Cloud Solutions for an initial conversation with one of our expert team. Our aim, from the moment you contact us, is to work alongside your business, ensuring that partnering with Pro Cloud Solutions has a real and lasting impact on the cyber security of your company.


 

[ii] https://iasme.co.uk/ [iii] https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberessentials/overview


 

Pro Cloud Solutions provides Cloud IT and Hosting Services to a range of businesses across the UK and around the World. Based in Taunton, Somerset and proud to support local businesses.

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