In recent years, it has become increasingly important for businesses to secure their IT systems to reduce the chance of falling victim to a cyberattack. In the UK alone,39% of businesses were targeted by a cyberattack in the last 12 months. Whilst most cyberattacks target large businesses and enterprises, it is also just as common to happen to small businesses. This is because they are less likely to have invested in securing their IT systems. For this reason, all SMB owners should invest in strengthening their security posture and aim to achieve a Cyber Essentials certification.
What is a Cyber Essentials certification?
It is a UK Government backed scheme that is designed to protect companies against a wide range of cyberattacks. There are two levels of certifications: Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus. Cyber Essentials is a self-assessment, that ensures businesses have controls in place to protect against most common cyberattacks. Cyber Essentials Plus is a more in-depth certification and includes hands-on technical verification.
The certification covers many areas, including firewalls, secure configuration, user access control, malware protection, security update management and more. The Cyber Essentials certification lasts for 12 months. It is then regularly updated to make sure businesses are protected against basic attacks.
The importance of cybersecurity for SMBs in 2022
All small businesses are at risk of falling victim to a cyberattack. The most common cyberattacks being phishing, data breaches and ransomware attacks. All of these attacks can be awful for businesses, both in terms of the costs, as well as the costs associated with damages to a business’s reputation.
Thankfully, many of these attacks are carried out by relatively unskilled cybercriminals. So fortunately they can be stopped by implementing some basic security controls. In a recent blog we explained the benefits and added protection of companies outsourcing their cybersecurity to professionals. With a Cyber Essentials certification, these attacks are no longer viable.
Benefits of a Cyber Essentials certification for SMBs
Reduce the chance of falling victim to a cyberattack
The overall goal of Cyber Essentials is to reduce a business’s cyber risk. As the assessment covers most attack surfaces and the associated technical security controls, Cyber Essentials covers all the bases to protect from 80% of common cyberattacks. Although the methods that cybercriminals use are constantly changing, these technical controls will typically stop basic attack methods, especially if they are not highly targeted attacks.
Gain a competitive advantage
For small businesses within competitive industries, a Cyber Essentials certification can be a way to stand apart from the competition. The certification shows that your business takes security seriously. Therefore any customer, either consumer or corporate, doing business with you is less likely to have their data leaked as part of a customer data breach. After a business obtains their certification, they can also display the certification badge on their website and other marketing materials.
Find new business opportunities
A Cyber Essentials certification is mandatory for businesses considering submitting a bid for a contract with the NHS, Ministry of Defence, and UK Government. Many private sector businesses also look for the Cyber Essentials badge of approval when seeking new suppliers.
Improve credibility and reputation
The technical controls necessary to obtain the certification are relatively simple to implement, and the self-assessment is a quick and easy process. This simple and affordable option can add significant value to a business as it improves credibility and reputation. Having a Cyber Essentials certificate shows customers that a company is committed to protecting its data. It also shows they are taking action to reduce the chance of them falling victim to a cyberattack.
Free Cyber Liability Insurance
Once your business has gained its Cyber Essentials certification, your business is automatically entitled to free Cyber Liability Insurance to the total limit of £25,000 of indemnity. This also gives businesses access to a 24-hour hotline to report a cyber incident. This includes crisis management and incident response. For businesses that do not already have cyber insurance, this is a perfect option to recover from a small breach or incident. Many cyber insurance providers will also give discounts to businesses that are certified.
How we can help?
For businesses that are’t well versed in the world of cybersecurity, it can be difficult to implement the technical controls necessary to obtain a Cyber Essentials certification. We can help your business implement the technical controls. As well as this we provide additional security services to further reduce the chance of falling victim to a cyberattack. To find out more, contact us today.