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How easy is it to get Cyber Essentials accreditation?

If you’re worried about achieving Cyber Essentials Accreditation, we can help.   

In a recent blog post we discussed Why Cyber Essentials accreditation is important to have, but many businesses may be concerned about their ability to meet the required standards. The requirements put in place for accreditation are very specific, but we believe it doesn’t have to be difficult to meet them. 

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Why do businesses get Cyber Essentials accredited? 

Everything you do in your business must have a clear purpose and benefit, otherwise it’s a waste of your time, money and resources, and working towards Cyber Essentials accreditation is no different. 

 

There are many reasons why businesses invest in accreditation – to ensure a clear picture of the business’s cyber security, to demonstrate to clients that they take cyber security seriously, to attract new customers and to bid for public sector contracts, to name just a few. 

 

What does Cyber Essentials assess? 

There are five control tests you need to pass to earn the Cyber Essentials prize: 

  1. Firewalls 
  2. Secure Configurations 
  3. User Access 
  4. Malware protection 
  5. Patch management 

These are important because they cover key aspects of day-to-day digital life for a business. If you aren’t confident that you have all the right precautions in place, if you aren’t sure of your own IT knowledge or you fear it will take too much time to assess and integrate the necessary changes, accreditation can seem too difficult to even begin. 

 

However, Cyber Essentials is simply about having good practices in place to protect your business, so it’s worth addressing challenges to enjoy long-term peace of mind. 

 

Common concerns about starting Cyber Essentials accreditation 

Cyber Essentials is judged by self-assessment but Cyber Essentials Plus requires an additional hands-on technical verification. The pass criteria for both are set by the government and they are strict. You need to effectively manage all aspects of the five control tests in order to be certified. A failure in one area means you fail overall.  

 

You need good control mechanisms and the resources in place to carry out checks and controls beyond accreditation. This can be challenging but don’t forget that accreditation is valid for twelve months so it’s good to stay in shape for future assessments.  

 

Which issues lead to failing accreditation? 

Businesses sometimes compromise on cyber security, some of the most common ways being:   

  • Poor management around employees using their own devices
     
  • Using unsupported software
     
  • A lack of rigorous routines around backing-up data, putting business continuity at risk
     
  • The management of devices not being centralised, not meeting configuration standards
     
  • A lack of control over internet services, exposing your business to risks and potential leaks of sensitive information. 

 

To pass Cyber Essentials accreditation, your software and devices need to be secure, access to data controlled, software and devices protected from malware, internet connection secure, and devices and software up to date. A failure in any of these issues could lead to failing accreditation. 

 

What happens if your business fails its accreditation?

If you are unsuccessful in achieving accreditation, your will be notified and receive feedback on areas where you aren’t compliant. You then have two working days to address these areas and be reassessed at no extra cost. But after this period, you will need to reapply and start the process again, which means paying another assessment fee. 

 

Taking the first step to Cyber Essentials accreditation can be easy 

Take a read of our blog post What you need to do to get Cyber Essential and find out how our team at Syn-Star can support you in achieving accreditation and passing first time.  

 

We believe in our security mission: “To ensure you have the peace of mind in knowing that your business is secure by working with you on following the best cyber security practice…”. 

 

Whether you want Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus, and no matter the size of your business, we can support you by ensuring you have good practices in place and your cyber security is ready to meet the requirements of Cyber Essentials. 

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