Daniel Roberts 23 April, 2024

The Importance of The Cyber Essentials Scheme

Cyber Essentials has a long history within the UK cyber community; since its inception, the scheme has undergone a number of major changes and has been led by multiple partners working with the NCSC. Throughout its tenure in the UK cyber market, the importance and prevalence of Cyber Essentials have only grown, making it an essential certification that organisations across numerous industries strive to achieve. This is due mainly to the perceived ability to market themselves as a 'safe' company to work with, as this certification promises a level of security across an organisation's structure. While this is a massive selling point and is the main reason some organisations seek certification under the Cyber Essentials Scheme, it is important to remember just how important it is and what it means to achieve Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus certification.

Key Pillars of Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials attempts to ensure that an organisation has a baseline level of security through the following five core pillars;

  • Secure Configuration
  • Boundary Firewalls
  • Access Controls
  • Patch Management
  • Malware Protection

These pillars, in their own way, help set up an organisation to have a foundation understanding of their security and allow an organisation to be prepared for certain levels of malicious actors.

Understanding the Cyber Threat Landscape

Businesses commonly face two distinct types of cyber threats. The first group comprises sophisticated threat actors who engage in detailed reconnaissance spend an abundant amount of time scanning, probing, and researching to exploit vulnerabilities in the software utilised by organisations or bypassing security controls from an internal or external point of view. Their methods are usually intricate, driven by patience and a technical complexity. On the other hand, opportunistic attackers represent a different kind of threat.

The opportunist is a malicious actor that looks to exploit glaring security lapses, often out of curiosity to test a system's vulnerabilities. They may not even consider themselves attackers; they might just find a website that has a critical vulnerability or a missing patch and want to see if it’s truly vulnerable. Despite their potentially less sophisticated approach, their actions pose an ever more common risk. The Cyber Essentials controls play a crucial role in this context by not only significantly reducing the likelihood and impact of these potential areas of exploitation but also by fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness within an organisation. By implementing these controls, organisations can effectively protect themselves from the most common vectors of cyber attacks, ensuring that even those with minimal technical knowledge are aware of and can contribute to the collective cybersecurity posture.

The Impact of Cyber Attacks & The Need for Robust Cyber Security Controls

With 32% of UK businesses reporting cyber-attacks or breaches in 2023 — a figure that escalates to 59% for medium businesses and 69% for large businesses [1] — the threat of cybercrime is more present than ever. Additionally, the staggering cost of around £736 million lost to cybercrime in 2021 further underscores the importance of organisations at least employing a foundation level of cyber security in their organisations. These statistics highlight the pervasive risk of cyber threats and the financial incentives for businesses to adopt robust cybersecurity measures.

The Impact and Recognition of Cyber Essentials

The appetite for Cyber Essentials certification is on the rise, with a 21% increase in certificates awarded last year, totalling 28,399, and Cyber Essentials Plus certificates growing by 55% to 9,037. This growth signifies the scheme's effectiveness, further underscored by data suggesting that organisations with Cyber Essentials in place see 80% fewer cyber insurance claims. This success reflects not only in enhanced security but also the importance of following the very basics of good Cyberis hygiene.

Final Thoughts

Attacks are successful every day against organisations often due to poor implementation of security controls—the very same controls that Cyber Essentials aims to strengthen. Therefore, obtaining Cyber Essentials, adhering to its principles, and fostering cyber awareness are crucial steps for any organisation operating today, from the smallest micro-organisation to the largest mega-corporations. If your goal is to enhance security, secure cyber insurance, or simply to bolster your market standing, then seeking out guidance and achieving certification in both Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus is an indispensable strategy. 

Discover how Cyberis can assist you in meeting your Cyber Essentials requirements by reading more here - https://www.cyberis.com/cyber-essentials.

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