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Cyber Essentials and Your Business

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Show Your Customers That You Really Care about Cyber Security

The Cyber Essentials initiative, which launched 2 years ago, has now become a staple for modern day cyber security. It took less than 5 months after its launch for it to become one of the main requirements for undertaking projects having to do with sensitive data. Now, Cyber Essentials is one of the main ways for companies in the UK to show their customers, employees and the government, that they care about cyber security.

What are Cyber Essentials exactly and what makes them so important?

Even though Cyber Essentials have been a hot topic these past years, it can be rather annoying to find a direct, straight to the point, an explanation as to what the term means. Cyber Essentials are a series of tests, aimed to test the cyber security measures of a given company or organisation. Should the given company succeed in completing the tests, they are given a Cyber Essentials badge, allowing them to partake insensitive governmental projects. These badges are often displayed on company websites, as they are a great way to demonstrate that your company is properly secured and prepared to tackle online attacks. Nowadays, most Internet users are well aware of what the Cyber Essentials badges stand for and will look for one in each website they plan to do business with.

Who can partake in the Cyber Essentials Tests

The Cyber Essentials tests are by no means limited only to big companies and corporations. Every organisation, university, charity or small business can undertake them and have a fair shot at earning a badge. The goal here is to raise the level of overall awareness towards cyber security and motivate business owners to pay more attention to the possible dangers, lurking in the online space.

The Cyber Essentials Badges

The tests themselves come in 2 variations – Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus. The standard certification is granted upon completing a self-assessment questionnaire that is then reviewed by a certified accessor. Should you wish to gain the second-degree badge, however, an external, certifying body needs to run tests on your systems. As a registered certifying body, Go Live UK can help you prepare and undertake the Cyber Essentials tests, paving the road for your business success.

Cyber Essentials

The Main Cyber Essential Points

Or "What the Cyber Essentials test are all about":

Boundary firewalls and internet gateways - A mandatory front line of defence against online invasions. However, it is very important to remember that the firewalls can only stop so many elements and that they will never offer complete protection against all kinds of attacks and malicious content. They should never be your only or even main type of defensive measure, they simply get the number one mention as a part of the Cyber Essentials because they get to filter a huge amount of data for you.

Secure configuration - Everything that can be configured once can also be tampered with and reconfigured improperly both by ill-informed employees and by perpetrators outside of your company. Make sure that your configurations are done by experts (and be sure to do your “homework” on them beforehand – look up information about the given company, customer reviews, positive and negative impressions that are floating around the internet and so on.)

Access control - One of the most vital steps in the Cyber Essentials is to only grant access to people that need to have it. Yes, your employees can be friends with each other and yes, they can help in each other but not everyone needs access to everything. User accounts and passwords have to be private and only available to the person that they were intended for. The only people with access to the places where you keep sensitive information should be the ones that are authorised to handle it.

Malware protection -Nowadays there are tons of anti-malware software, each with its ups and downs. Going into detail as to which one would be better for the company and why, is not something that can fit in this article but whatever your software choice is, make sure that you keep it up to date and install updates as quickly as possible.

Patch management - What was mentioned above about keeping your software up to date does not relate only to anti-malware software. More often than not, standard software products come out with lots of loopholes in their code that reveal weaknesses to possible cyber attacks. With time, these holes are discovered, sometimes by your friendly neighbourhood user, other times by a not-so-friendly hacker but in all cases, patches get released by the developers soon after. It is absolutely crucial to keep your software applications up to date as they can hold the door open for people that would otherwise be unable to enter, thanks to the other defensive measures that you have already taken with the previous Cyber Essentials steps.

It is important to remember that even after completing all of the Cyber Essentials tests successfully you are not invulnerable to cyber attacks or malicious content and programs. Not only are the Cyber Essentials tests annual (just passing them once will not cut it), but they simply cannot cover every loophole or problem. Keeping data safe when it comes to the web space is a constant battle that requires full-time care. As a Cyber Essentials Certifying Body, Go Live UK can examine, improve and certify the cyber security of your business as per the Cyber Essential requirements.

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