Cyber security for small businesses is more important than ever – 65% of SMEs reported a security breach between 2019 and 2020. The most targeted industries are finance, consulting, telecom, manufacturing, and insurance, but businesses in any sector can be at risk. In fact, hundreds of thousands of cyber attacks are carried out every single day. A breach can affect your reputation and damage customer loyalty – so don’t let your business be next. The Cyber Essentials scheme exists to help businesses of all sizes take basic steps to protect themselves from the most common cyber threats.
Three Cherries are an IT & Telephony support service dedicated to bringing our clients an easy to understand, simple alternative to the complicated approach and obscure jargon thrown about by our competitors. We know what we’re talking about and don’t hide behind lingo. Instead, we deliver seamless IT and computer support to your business, helping to boost efficiency and enhance your productivity.
In this article, we explain what the Cyber Essentials scheme is and why you should consider getting your business certified.
What is Cyber Essentials?
Cyber Essentials is an official government-backed scheme that helps protect organisations of all sizes from common cyber attacks by assessing and updating their IT infrastructure. It advises that businesses implement five measures at a minimum to protect their network from 80% of the most common attacks. These measures are:
- Firewalls and Internet Gateways
- Access Control
- Secure Configuration
- Patch Management
- Malware Protection
There are two levels of certification businesses can apply for. The first is a simple self-assessment that demonstrates the basic controls your organisation has in place to minimise the risk of the most common cyber threats. Cyber Essentials Plus is a more rigorous certification that involves vulnerability testing your cyber security systems against basic hacking and phishing attacks.
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Do Small Businesses Need Cyber Security?
These days, the internet is a central part of most people’s lives. For small businesses, the internet provides access to any location and any market, as well as reducing costs on storage, office space and more. It allows employees the flexibility of working from home, and provides up-to-date information at the click of a mouse. But though the internet is great, businesses that interact with it (i.e. all businesses!) can be vulnerable to cyber attacks. Cyber attacks generally aim to access data through hacking or phishing scams, alter sensitive information, extort money, or obstruct normal business processes in some way. Implementing an effective range of security measures to combat these threats is increasingly essential.
Read more: A Beginner’s Guide to Cyber Security for Small Business
Benefits of Cyber Security Essentials
Clearly, ensuring your network is watertight and secured against external attacks is important. Whilst plenty of small businesses don’t cite cyber security as a priority, anyone can be a target for cyber criminals. For small businesses, certification with the Cyber Security Essentials scheme is an easy way to keep your business secure and offers the following benefits.
Defence Against Common Cyber Attacks
Of course, the greatest benefit to the Cyber Essentials scheme is minimising the risk of the most common cyber attacks. It goes without saying that a breach can cost your business dearly, disrupt your processes, and severely impact your reputation. As a small business owner, there are plenty of things to worry about – complying with Cyber Essentials is an easy way to take one thing off your mind!
The opportunity to display the Cyber Essentials badge on your website proves to clients as well as other stakeholders that you are serious about security. This will increase their confidence when using your services and build a greater level of trust.
Full Security Audit
Fulfilling the criteria for the Cyber Essentials certification means you have the opportunity to audit all your internal security – something that can be pushed to the wayside as a small business. When you complete the assessment, take the time to consider all your internal IT policies and strengthen passwords across your business. You could also use the opportunity to train your staff in personal cyber security, as a breach from one computer can give cyber criminals access to the full network.
Step Towards GDPR Compliance
GDPR means businesses who are negligent and leave personal data vulnerable could face hefty fines. Cyber Essentials does not mean you are GDPR compliant, but it is a good step towards greater security across the board for your customers and for you.
Related: Why IT Infrastructure is Key to Your Company’s Data Protection
Businesses wanting to secure government or Ministry of Defence contracts will need to be accredited and comply fully with this scheme. This is to ensure the government’s supply chain and data remain secure.
Safeguard Your Small Business’ Cyber Security
Three Cherries have been simplifying IT and Telephony for over twenty years. We’re committed to helping businesses streamline their IT and communications systems. Cyber security is critical to the risk management of your entire business, and Cyber Essentials can help you achieve this. Our team of IT experts can work with you to create a plan that mitigates online threats.
Talk to us about cyber security today and we’ll explain the next steps for your business.
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