Is Cyber Essentials mandatory: a comprehensive guide

May 24, 2023

In 2022, 39% of businesses in the UK have experienced cybersecurity breaches despite having over 75% of people in top managerial positions prioritising cybersecurity.

The UK government recognised the need to focus on cyber security with the increasing digitisation of businesses and society. The Cyber Essentials scheme was introduced to help organisations demonstrate their commitment to cybersecurity while supporting them when dealing with potential cybersecurity incidents.

Is Cyber Essentials mandatory? Which businesses or industries are required to comply with the program? Is Cyber Essentials worth it? Read on to find out.

Cyber Essentials Scheme

Cyber Essentials is a certification scheme administered by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), requiring organisations to demonstrate their commitment to basic cybersecurity practices.

Cybersecurity Standards Covered

Organisations who wish to obtain Cyber Essentials certification are required to follow these five standards:

  • Demonstrating secure configuration of devices and networks, including patching of operating systems 
  • Implementing user access controls 
  • Protecting against malicious software 
  • Ensuring the secure Internet connections 
  • Keeping up-to-date with cyber threats and regularly reviewing their security measures

Conditions Where Certification is Mandatory

While the scheme is not mandatory for all businesses, it is recommended as a proactive step to mitigate cyber risk. Many organisations voluntarily pursue Cyber Essentials certification to strengthen their security posture and protect sensitive data.

Here are some scenarios in which Cyber Essentials certification may be mandatory:

  • Government Contracts: The UK government requires suppliers bidding for certain contracts, particularly those involving sensitive or personal data handling.
  • Defence Contracts: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) in the UK mandates Cyber Essentials certification for suppliers involved in defence contracts. 
  • Certain Industry Regulators: Some industry regulators, such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), may require this certification for organisations within their sectors.
  • Data Handling and Processing: The certification may be required if an organisation handles or processes sensitive personal, financial, or confidential information.

Benefits of Cyber Essentials

You may be thinking, is Cyber Essentials worth it? Recognition from the UK government is not the only advantage of having a certification. Customers are more likely to do business with you because you have proven your commitment to cybersecurity. Being certified also means you are better prepared to identify and prevent cyberattacks.

Ensure Compliance with Our Consultancy Service

A Cyber Essentials certification is a must for organisations that aim to remain secure and competitive in the ever-changing digital landscape. At Data Privacy Services, we are committed to helping organisations ensure that their cybersecurity is up to standard and that they comply with all relevant regulations.

Get in touch with our data privacy and information security specialists today.

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