difference between CE & CE plus

Are you interested in achieving a Cyber Essentials certification but unsure as to what level of certification is best for you? In this blog, we break down the main differences between Cyber Essentials & Cyber Essentials Plus. As well as offer recommendations for which level of certification businesses should consider.

Let’s recap what Cyber Essentials is

As mentioned in our previous blogs, Cyber Essentials is a government-backed scheme aimed to protect businesses from 80% of the most common cyberattacks. There are 2 levels of certification that we will discuss later; Cyber Essentials & Cyber Essentials Plus. Certification must be renewed annually and cover 5 main areas of checks. Businesses who have a Cyber Essentials certification not only can be assured they comply with the latest cybersecurity measures but also have a clearer picture of their company’s cyber security level.

So, what is Cyber Essentials?

This is the basic level of certification. Achieving Cyber Essentials involves the completion of a self-assessment questionnaire. This questionnaire involves 8 sections and has a total of 70 questions. Here at The Unite Group, we can provide support before taking the assessment to ensure all expected standards are met. As well as providing assistance throughout the application. Upon completion, the business owner or board-level representative must then sign a declaration that all answers are completed correctly. This is then reviewed by a Cyber Essentials assessor and successful applicants will receive their certification.

Who do we recommend Cyber Essentials to?

We recommend the Cyber Essentials certification to all businesses who want to demonstrate that they take cybersecurity seriously. Having this certification can also open new doors for business opportunities as it is a requirement to bid for Government contracts. We recommend this to smaller corporations that want to ensure they are complying with recommended safety measures.

Now let’s compare this with Cyber Essentials Plus

The Cyber Essentials Plus certification involves the same first steps as the Cyber Essentials scheme. Therefore, meaning they both include the completion of the self-assessment questionnaire. However, Cyber Essentials Plus then goes on to further include a vulnerabilities assessment and an on-site assessment. The assessment covers the controls your organisation has in place. As well as, your employee’s work-from-home locations. Also assessing any third parties who may have access to your premises or IT infrastructure. These assessments are undertaken by a trained and qualified Cyber Essentials Plus assessor.

Who do we recommend the Cyber Essentials Plus scheme to?

Here at The Unite Group, we recommend this scheme to those businesses that want to demonstrate higher levels of cybersecurity protection. Whilst Cyber Essentials is a great starting point, the added levels of assessment included in this scheme increase a business’s protection far more. Those who hold a Cyber Essentials Plus certification can bid for Ministry of Defence contracts.


To recap, the main difference between the two schemes is that the Cyber Essentials Plus certification covers more areas of assessment. It includes a more rigorous test of an organisation’s cybersecurity systems. Experts carry out vulnerability tests and as a result, ensure organisations are well protected against basic hacking and phishing attacks. Therefore, we strongly recommend this option to businesses who want to ensure they best protect their data and that of their customers.

Let us help!

Here at The Unite Group, we can guide you through Cyber Essentials and help you protect your business. We have in-house Cyber Essentials assessors to not only approve certifications but also provide support throughout the application process. We are a friendly voice on the other end of the phone to support you through the certification from start to end.

To find out more, book a quick call with our team today!