What is Cyber Essentials?
Cyber Essentials is a UK government-backed, industry-supported scheme designed to help organisations of all sizes guard against the most common cyber threats. It’s essentially a set of five basic technical controls that act as a baseline for good cyber hygiene.
Here’s what it involves:
1. Five control areas:
- Boundary firewalls and access control: Secure your network perimeter and who can access it.
- Secure configuration: Harden your operating systems and devices to ensure only essential software runs.
- Access control: Manage user accounts and permissions to prevent unauthorised access.
- Malware protection: Install and maintain anti-virus and anti-malware software.
- Patch management: Regularly update your systems with the latest security patches.
2. Self-assessment and verification: Organisations self-assess their compliance with the controls via a questionnaire.
You can choose to do this yourself or with the help of a certified assessor.
3. Certification: Upon successful assessment, you receive a Cyber Essentials certificate, valid for one year.
Benefits of Cyber Essentials:
- Improved cyber security: Implementing the controls makes your organisation less vulnerable to common attacks.
- Demonstrates commitment to cyber security: The certificate shows your customers and partners you take cyber security seriously.
- Potential cost savings: Good cyber hygiene can help prevent costly data breaches and downtime.
- Government contracts: In the UK, certain government contracts require suppliers to hold a Cyber Essentials certificate.
Who should get Cyber Essentials?
Cyber Essentials is suitable for all organisations, regardless of size or sector. It’s particularly helpful for:
- Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that may not have the resources for extensive cyber security measures.
- Organisations that want to demonstrate their commitment to cyber security to customers and partners.
- Organisations that handle sensitive data, such as personal information or financial data.
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