About Cyber Essentials
Cyber Essentials aims to help organisations implement basic levels of protection against cyber attack, demonstrating to their customers that they take cyber security seriously.
The scheme is available at two levels:
- Cyber Essentials - an independently verified self assessment. Organisations assess themselves against five basic security controls and a qualified assessor verifies the information provided.
- Cyber Essentials PLUS – a higher level of assurance. A qualified and independent assessor examines the same five controls, testing that they work in practice by simulating basic hacking and phishing attacks.
The five basic controls within Cyber Essentials were chosen because, when properly implemented, they will help to protect against unskilled internet-based attackers using commodity capabilities – which are freely available on the internet. The five controls are:
- Boundary firewalls and internet gateways
- Secure configuration
- Access control
- Malware protection
- Patch management
Organisations that undertake Cyber Essentials are encouraged to recertify at least once a year and, where appropriate, progress their security.
Since 1 October 2014, Cyber Essentials became a minimum requirement for bidding for some government contracts. Details can be seen here.
IASME was one of a handful of non-governmental organisations on the drafting panel. We were there to represent small companies during the development of the Scheme.
There are numerous standards associated with governance and risk management of cyber security but the government found that many common cyber attacks were succeeding due to simple technical controls not being managed. This even occurred in companies with governance standards in place. For this reason, the government is keen that all companies, including those who already have standards such as ISO27001, gain certification to the Cyber Essentials.