By now, most UK based business owners will be aware that the government rolled out the Cyber Essentials Scheme back in 2014. This move was an effort to protect the user and consumer data but doubles in efficiency since it protects business IT systems from some of the more common cyber threats. Five years later: Cyber Essentials Certification has become a vital component of any successful business. Do you have certification? If not, then keep reading! Otherwise, you may be leaving your business open to malicious cyber-attacks, the costs of which can run into the thousands. Does Your Business Need Cyber Essentials Certification? When the government introduced the scheme, it was amid rising cybercrime in an increasingly digital world. All this digital mayhem came at a terrible cost to the economy. A few short years later, it is estimated that cybercrime costs the UK over 1 billion GBP a year. Worse than that – back in April 2019 the BBC reported that more than half of all British firms had been victims of a cyber attack already that year… and it was only April. They also say that the average loss from a cyber attack is around the £176,000 mark. Given the figures above, and given that the UK government requires compliance with the Cyber Essentials scheme for those who work with government contracts, in the defense industry and a few other key areas; it becomes increasingly more necessary to have protection in place. Consider the most recent scandals with Cambridge Analytica, the NHS, and other firms. Data protection has become a number one priority in a world with an online marketplace. Although not every business might lawfully need to have Cyber Essentials Certification (or Cyber Essentials Plus, which we will cover momentarily) in place to operate, there are several benefits to gaining accreditation. The Benefits of Cyber Essentials Certification So, if it isn’t a requirement, why would your business need Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus certification? Some opportune reasons include: Saves you money – with Cyber Essentials certification in place you will be protected from the five more common types of cyber-attack. It could save you accruing the £176,000 average loss mentioned above. Improves Brand Image – your brand persona can only benefit from showing trusted accreditation. It is particularly true of those who deal with online transactions, as studies have shown that cybersecurity influences purchasing behavior. Bid for government contracts – you can only bid for government contracts in some instances if you have Cyber Essential Plus in place. Protects both business and user data – there are individual businesses out there that wouldn’t want their customer records falling into the wrong hands… If that sounds like you then go for certification! Loss of data can lead to prosecution, compensation payouts and loss of reputation. Boosts Productivity – your IT department will be able to focus on their jobs rather than processing cybercrime incidents. You also avoid disruption from these incidents during day-to-day running. Don’t forget that not having the appropriate protections in place for consumer data might even be illegal, since the Data Protection Act was introduced. Cyber Essentials Certification and Cyber Essentials Plus help ease your mind and protect your business from these potential damages. Understanding Cyber Essentials Certification There are two separate types of certification: Cyber Essentials – which protects your business and your consumers against the risks of the five most common types of cyber-attack. This certification ensures you are up-to-date and compliant with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) standards. It also distinguishes your business as one to be trusted. It is a self-certification scheme. Cyber Essentials Plus – which goes a step beyond ordinary certification and is primarily used by credit management firms, high-rank government departments and others to whom the loss of information could be catastrophic. Cyber Essentials Plus involves an external security scan and a visit from a nationally recognized certification team. Both certificates are aimed at gaining your firm a better reputation while simultaneously protecting data from harm. We recommend that you apply for certification no matter what your industry. When it comes to cybercrime, it is far better to be safe than sorry. You can read more about the differences between the two types of certification by following this link or by visiting the NCSC. How Do I get Certification? To get cyber essentials certification or cyber essentials plus for your business, you must complete three simple actions. First; choose one of the officially registered Certification Bodies through one of the NCSC’s accredited firms. Second; verify that your IT system meets the governing standards set out by the Cyber Essentials Scheme. Third: Fill in the paperwork and answer any questions they may have. If you would like to apply for Cyber Essentials Plus, then you may also need to have the firm you choose to visit your organization to conduct an external review of your cybersecurity measures. Cyber Essentials Plus can take a little longer to achieve but does have maximum effect when it comes to opening up new potential contracts. In both instances, Cyber Smart can help you gain this certification and help you earn the trust of your consumers. Whether you want help as you make your way towards self-certification or if you wish to become a proud holder of the Cyber Essentials Plus certificate – we are a fully qualified, registered and government-approved organization that can get you just the certification that you need. If you find yourself in need of further information, or if you would like to get started using our tailored service, then reach out to us today. We can help protect the future of your business, save you from potentially costly cyberattacks and even keep your reputation pristine in the face of a turbulent digital world. Don’t leave it to chance. Cybercrime happens… Don’t let it happen to your business.