The What, Why and How of Cyber Essentials

A report published by the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) showed that a whopping 80% of the common cyberattacks could be prevented if organisations implement some basic security measures in place. Cyber Essentials helps the organisations implement those security basics.

The Origin Story
Back in 2012, the UK government came out with an online program called ‘10-steps to cyber security’. This was an immensely successful initiative. It was created to encourage organisations to understand, identify, and proactively secure themselves against the cyber threats they were facing. However, the only major critique that the program received from the industry was the lack of a security standard for them to determine whether or not they had complied with the 10 steps recommended by the Government. After due deliberation and taking inputs from industry leaders and experts in the field, the UK Government came out with the Cyber Essentials. This was a new standard that would lend the organisations the faith in their ability to counter cyber attacks.

What is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials, in its essence, is a playbook for organisations to manoeuvre their way through the cyber security landscape. The scheme is the brainchild of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) of the Government. Organisations can apply for a Cyber Essentials Certificate or a Cyber Essentials Plus Certificate. The only difference between the two is that in the case of the Cyber Essentials Plus Certificate, independent experts verify the degree of cyber security of the organisation. This certainly adds to the value of the certification.

How Does Cyber Essentials Help?

Cyber security is a burning topic among organisations. There are many ways in which Cyber Essentials helps businesses to remain at the top of their game.

1. Better Business

With cyberattacks getting more common and more severe than ever, consumers are looking for businesses that can promise them better security of their data. A Cyber Essentials certification allows consumers to identify businesses that are aware of the cyber security landscape against those that are ignorant, so that they can make an informed choice when choosing their service provider. In fact, a Cyber Essentials certificate has become a mandatory requirement to be considered for some government contracts.

2. Better Compliance

Cyber Essentials provides an excellent baseline for organisations to create policies, erect infrastructure and build processes to meet the stricter compliance environment in the UK. Whether it is GDPR, Data Protection Act, HIPAA, or any other regulation related to cyber security, Cyber Essentials is a good point to start the organisation’s compliance journey.

3. Better Focus
Businesses can create increasing and sustainable revenue sources, only when they are able to focus on their core activities. However, if a business is frequently marred by cyber attacks, there is no way its management can keep its focus on the business! They will be left firefighting all the time. Cyber Essentials helps them plug most of their basic security loopholes, so that they can focus better on mission-critical aspects of their business.

Cyber Essentials is an excellent example of a collaborative effort between the Government and the industry. It is highly relevant to the digital landscape in which the businesses need to operate today. They provide the much needed guidance and are a big driver in making cyber security a norm across the organisations in the country.

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