The direct cost, recovery cost and long-term cost of security breaches are growing year-on-year. According to the 2022 Cyber Security Breaches Survey, 39% of UK businesses identified a cyber security breach or attack with the average cost of a data breach being between £4,200 and £19,400.
Achieving a Cyber Essentials accreditation is a great framework to address the basics of cyber security, but is it enough? Once achieved, you certainly need to be thinking about the next level of your cyber security strategy and the Government-backed Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation offers businesses the opportunity to do this. Industry experts, including the National Cyber Security Centre (an independent organisation), all agree that the benefits of upgrading to Cyber Essentials Plus are too good to ignore.
What is the difference between Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus?
Whether you are working towards your Cyber Essentials or your Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation, it is all about how your business is adhering to a set of requirements that an independent, government-backed, certified body deems appropriate. The same list of requirements is needed for both accreditations; however, the real difference lies in how you are assessed on these requirements.
Cyber Essentials is a self-assessment on how you are adhering to cyber security procedures.
Cyber Essentials Plus is more in-depth and involves an independent external certified body examining your cyber security. This can be done via simulated phishing attacks and basic hacking procedures to confirm that you are adhering to the set of security requirements needed. To complete the assessment, you will also need to pass a final technical audit.
In theory, if you have passed your Cyber Essentials accreditation and are adhering to all the agreed requirements, then there is no reason you should not pass your Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.
It may sound like there is a lot more effort required to achieve a Cyber Essentials Plus certification, but the benefits are huge.
Why that “plus” makes all the difference
There are many reasons why you should upgrade to Cyber Essentials Plus, and this can depend on your business’s motivations.
A key reason for the upgraded certification is so that you, as a business, are highlighting the fact that you take security and data protection seriously. With cyber-attacks constantly in the news, having a strong stance on cyber security is a much-needed virtue in today’s modern business world.
This has a direct impact on another crucial factor to consider which is whether to upgrade your certification. If you are demonstrating that security and data protection is taken seriously within your organisation then this puts your company in an advantageous position when bidding for new contracts, suppliers, or tenders. The same survey highlighted that 84% of businesses found that having this accreditation made it easier for them to win contracts. Imagine one of your prospects has gone to tender and security is a key factor for them. If your competitor has Cyber Essentials and you are Cyber Essentials Plus accredited, who would you choose?
Another significant reason to upgrade is for peace of mind that you are demonstrating the highest cyber security standards internally. Cyber Essentials Plus encompasses a far greater number of cyber assessments, thereby providing you with a better understanding of your own organisation’s levels of cyber risk. Your business is only as secure as your internal security policies. It is extremely easy to complete a self-assessment form stating you are adhering to cyber security protocols, but having your protocols evaluated by an external body can give you peace of mind that you’ve taken the extra steps needed to be cyber-secure.
And finally, Cyber Essentials Plus may not be a desire for your business, but a necessity. Businesses within certain industries (Health, Telecoms etc.) are now required to obtain Cyber Essentials Plus certification. Whilst Cyber Essentials allows organisations to work with the Government, a Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation can open your business to new markets such as the opportunity to work with the MOD.
Advice on how to pass Cyber Essentials Plus…
It may seem hard to achieve but we are on hand to guide and offer advice on how to pass Cyber Essentials Plus first time.
As independent assessors who offer Cyber Essentials Plus, we have experience of working with a wide variety of organisations, going through the same process daily.
As with anything in life, you get out what you put in, and nothing could be truer with Cyber Essentials Plus. The more preparation you put in, the more likely you are to pass. On average, it takes seven days to achieve and if you do fail, you must start right back at the beginning.
Repeatedly, we see businesses take time out to prepare for the assessment and pass first time. However, we have also seen overconfident and ill-prepared organisations who fail, which wastes company time and money.
To summarise in one word the key to passing Cyber Essentials Plus: Preparation.
How Wavenet CyberGuard can help…
With organisations keen to adhere to cyber security regulations, there is no better time to upgrade your Cyber Essentials accreditation to a Cyber Essentials Plus certification.
CyberGuard Technologies - a division of Wavenet, a company that has been in business for over 20years and understands the industry - can offer help and guidance on the best practices of being cyber-secure.
Our cyber team can guide your business through the steps to accreditation with minimal fuss, whether that is upgrading from Cyber Essentials or our whole package which includes Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus certification.
We will assist you through the entire process and will be on hand to help you with any questions you may have. Once you’ve passed the Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation, you’ll be able to display the Cyber Essentials Plus logo on your website and marketing literature to demonstrate to your customers, suppliers, investors and stakeholders that your organisation is taking the advanced steps to protect your business from cyber threats and that you take cyber security seriously.