Protecting Your Business' Critical Data with the Cyber Essentials Accreditation

Read this article to know how you can protect your business by getting Cyber Essentials Accreditation. Know from where to get this accreditation, how important it is and how important it is in your regulartory framework.

The ever increasing cyber-attacks should prompt your company to be more diligent in your initiatives to bolster your cybersecurity.

The good news is, strengthening your IT network's protection doesn't always mean you having to integrate the most expensive and sophisticated technology.

With the right approach, you can establish cybersecurity controls that will help protect your business from avoidable cyber attacks.

This is where the cyber essentials accreditation comes in handy.

This government-backed scheme emphasizes key technical controls that your business needs to secure your data against the most common threats.

By getting cyber essentials certified, you can reduce the risks of potential cyber threats, protect your data, and increase the trust that your customers have with your company.

Let's dive deeper into the benefits of cyber essentials for your business and how getting certified will secure your confidential business information.

Managing vulnerabilities

One of the most effective methods of protecting your business from common cyber threats is by managing your vulnerabilities.

The cyber essentials accreditation is a good starting point to achieve baseline protection since the process involves an assessment of your existing systems and security measures to see where you might be most vulnerable to attacks.

These potential security weaknesses can be often overlooked -- with unpatched components in your system making up 50% of the identified vulnerabilities according to the latest updates in penetration testing.

Although your systems, software, and networks may have inherent vulnerabilities, new weaknesses are still popping up every day -- with some being more high risk than others.

This is why having the right security controls and setting up preventive measures are crucial to help you manage your vulnerabilities.

Cyber Essentials 1

By going through the cyber essentials accreditation process - you'll be completing a self-assessment and conducting vulnerability scans of your systems - which help you identify weaknesses that hackers could exploit.

Through cyber essentials, you'll get insights into the steps you need to take to protect your data and determine controls you need to improve to protect your business from common cyber attacks.

The essential security controls

Typical cyber threats such as malware continue to be one of the choice delivery methods by hackers because these types of attacks can still cause massive damages to your business - including network downtime, company and client data loss, and more.

The rise of these kinds of attacks also brings out concerns from your customers like internet privacy issues that could put them off from your business if you ever experience a data breach.

Plus, cyber-attacks can cost you thousands of dollars in damages to your reputation and your business overall.

With cyber essentials, you can check if your business has the right technical controls in place to store and process your customer data securely.

By getting the cyber essentials certification, you can show your customers that you are committed to taking steps towards data protection and privacy.

Cyber essentials highlight five technical controls that you need to maintain to a good standard to establish protection from common threats such as firewalls, secure configuration, access controls, malware protection, and patch management.

For instance, to achieve cyber essentials certification, you'll need to ensure that you're protecting your internet-connected devices with a firewall to establish a virtual boundary that regulates incoming web traffic and decides whether or not to let it through your network.

With the right security controls, you can implement the best security practices and levels of protection to secure your confidential data.

What it takes to be accredited

To get the cyber essentials certification, you'll need to go through specific steps to ensure that your business complies with all the requirements.

There are two levels of certification you can work towards -- cyber essentials and cyber essentials plus. Both will demonstrate that your business is taking cybersecurity seriously and has established the five technical controls.

Both certification types provide the same requirements and process except that the cyber essentials plus requires that the five controls must be independently assessed by a certification body and includes an additional on-site assessment and internal scan.

Cyber Essentials 2

The first step in the cyber essentials certification process includes answering a self-assessment questionnaire that focuses on the five security controls.

You'll need to answer questions like whether or not strong, complex passwords are defined in your policy and enforced technically for all your users and administrators -- and each of your answers will be scored after you complete the questionnaire.

The next step in the cyber essentials certification is the external vulnerability scan, which looks into your internet-facing apps and networks to check if there are known vulnerabilities.

The internal vulnerability scan and on-site assessment under the cyber essentials plus tests and scans your anti-malware and security configuration of each of your device builds or types.

This process will require external assessors checking your system configuration and patch levels, while the anti-malware and security test will make sure that your systems can withstand downloadable binaries and malicious email attachments.

What the accreditation can do for your business

Aside from helping you protect your company from a vast majority of cyber attacks and establishing the five technical controls properly for data security, cyber essentials offer other benefits for your business.

With the cyber essentials certification badge displayed on your website, you can secure your supply chain and show your commitment to protecting both your business-critical data and the sensitive information of your suppliers and customers.

This helps boost your reputation and credibility -- which can also increase your chances of winning contracts and attract more business.

The peace of mind that you get from knowing that your business and customer data are protected from cyber threats through the cyber essentials will also help you focus on your core objectives -- and drive better efficiency for your company.

Plus, being cyber essentials certified can serve as your first step towards complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by identifying data security best practices for your business.

Protect your data, get accredited

Cyber essentials is an industry-developed scheme that can help your business defend against common cyber risks by ensuring that you have the proper technical controls in place.

Although cyber essentials provide baseline protection, it can go a long way in helping you identify your security vulnerabilities and take the appropriate actions to ensure that they are not exploited.

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