How to pass Cyber Essentials

Implementing cyber security within your business is an essential and effective way of keeping your data secure. With cyber attacks on the rise, it has never been more apparent why you need cyber security.

The cyber essentials scheme provides your business with a framework which will protect your business from some of the most common types of cyber threats. Your digital assets are key to running a business efficiently, becoming cyber essentials certified is the first step to ensuring that your data is protected.

Businesses in the UK that are planning to engage with supply chain contracts will be required to provide the mandatory cyber essentials certification in order to bid (1).

In this blog post, we will guide you on the best practices for preparing and passing Cyber Essentials.

1. Produce an Information Security Policy

Your informational security policy should outline requirements and rules for cyber security within your business. It should include the following:

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    Requirements for how to handle and process customer, employee, and third-party data.

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    Requirements for how to create passwords i.e. complexity and length.

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    Guidelines for what users should and should not be doing when accessing data, network, and controls in relation to cyber security.

    2. Allocate a Data Protection Officer (DPO)

    This is not a mandatory practice, but it is advised. A data protection officer will enforce cyber security which you have outlined to employees and those that have granted access to the company’s data through the information security policy.

    Your DPO can coordinate and oversee all business security initiatives and act as a single point of contact for any concerns that are regarding cyber security (1). This ensures that all users who have data access will receive the same information from the DPO and follow the same guidelines.

    The cyber essentials certification will also require you to submit a self-assessment questionnaire. You will be asked to provide evidence to support your answers.

    3. Keep track of data

    Implementing an inventory of your digital assets ensures that you are keeping track of the security of your software and devices.

    Regular checks will enable you to pick up on any new updates or software versions that need running to eliminate any possible vulnerabilities which can be exposed by a cyber attacker.

    4. Limited access control to data

    By limiting and closely monitoring who has access to data ensures that only authorised users have granted access to the digital assets. This is another essential step to becoming cyber essentials certified.

    5. Make use of security tools

    Once you establish the guidelines and requirements of cyber security, who has access to data and are actively performing regular updates, you should also introduce other tools and configurations to further protect your digital assets.

    Firewalls and antivirus software are both required in order to pass your cyber essentials assessment. Firewalls provide security for your network to block external threats from gaining access to your data. Antivirus software will protect your system from any malicious malware or viruses which could corrupt or take private data.

    6. Regular security tests

    The best method to ensure that your data is secure is to conduct regular safety checks which will flag any abnormalities or problems. This will allow you to track and review how effective your cyber security measures are.

    Regular security checks you should be performing:

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    Check for updates.

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    Be aware of what devices and how many are used throughout your organisation.

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    Evaluate how effective the information security policy is.

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    Ensure that proper configurations have been implemented.


     

    Cyber security can be a daunting process especially when you are still establishing your business. Becoming cyber essentials certified will enable you to expand your network of clients and significantly reduce the risk of losing your digital assets through proper cyber security processes.

    For more information on Cyber Essentials visit our page here, or speak to our IT specialists by calling 0121 289 4477.

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