Online security with our Cyber Essentials certificate

Online security with our Cyber Essentials certificate

2nd Jul 2024

Making sure our data systems are secure and that our customers can purchase with confidence is of paramount importance, so we’re really pleased to announce the renewal of our Cyber Essentials certification.

Cyber Essentials is a cybersecurity certification scheme launched in 2014 by the UK government. Its primary aim is to provide a clear and straightforward framework for businesses to protect themselves against the most common cyber threats. The scheme is designed to help organisations of any size and sector improve their cyber defences and demonstrate their commitment to cybersecurity.

Achieving Cyber Essentials

To achieve Cyber Essentials, organisations complete a self-assessment questionnaire, which is then reviewed by an external certifying body. This focuses on five key areas:

  • Firewalls and internet gateways
  • Secure configuration
  • Access control
  • Malware protection
  • Patch management

How Does Cyber Essentials Work?

The process of obtaining Cyber Essentials certification is straightforward but requires careful attention to detail:

Preparation: Before starting the certification process, organisations need to ensure that they meet the basic requirements in the five key areas mentioned above. This might involve updating software, configuring firewalls, and implementing strong access controls.

Self-Assessment Questionnaire: For the basic Cyber Essentials certification, organisations complete a self-assessment questionnaire. This document asks detailed questions about the organisation’s cybersecurity practices, such as how they manage passwords, update software, and protect against malware. The responses are then submitted to an accredited certification body for review.

Review and Certification: The certification body reviews the questionnaire to ensure that the organisation meets the required standards. If the organisation passes, it receives the Cyber Essentials certification, which is valid for one year.

Cyber Essentials Plus Assessment: For those seeking a higher level of certification, an additional step is required. An accredited assessor conducts a more thorough examination, including an internal scan and an external vulnerability assessment. This helps to verify that the controls described in the self-assessment are effectively implemented.

Ongoing Maintenance: Cyber Essentials certification is not a one-time task. Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, and organisations must regularly update their defences. Annual recertification ensures that organisations remain vigilant and continue to meet the Cyber Essentials standards.

Benefits of Cyber Essentials

Achieving Cyber Essentials certification offers numerous advantages:

1. Enhanced Cybersecurity Resilience: Cyber Essentials helps our organisation defend against cyberattacks by promoting best-of-breed cybersecurity practices. It provides a security benchmark through five technical controls, reducing the risk of cyber threats.

2. Customer Confidence and Trust: Certification serves as a testament to our commitment to cybersecurity. Customers feel reassured that their data is handled securely and responsibly, enhancing confidence in our services.

3. GDPR Compliance: Cyber Essentials aligns with GDPR standards, safeguarding sensitive data and demonstrating compliance and building trust with privacy-conscious customers.

4. Mitigated Risks: By implementing essential security controls, we reduce vulnerabilities and protect customer data from breaches, ensuring a safer online experience for our customers.

5. Competitive Advantage: Certification signals dedication to cybersecurity. Customers want to see businesses that prioritise their security.

6. Supplier Relationships: Many suppliers require Cyber Essentials certification as a prerequisite for collaboration. Being certified opens doors to valuable partnerships.

7. Cost Savings: Preventing cyber incidents saves costs associated with data breaches, legal fees, and reputation damage.

8. Business Continuity: Strong cybersecurity ensures uninterrupted services, benefiting both ourselves and our customers.

9. Government Recognition: Cyber Essentials is a UK Government-sanctioned standard. Certification demonstrates our commitment to national cybersecurity efforts.

10. Peace of Mind: Knowing our organisation is cyber-secure allows customers to engage with confidence.

Cyber Essentials certification is vital for ASC Direct – it helps us to protects our business and reassures our online customers that their data is in safe hands.