Cyber Security

Be Inspired | Cyber Security | What is Cyber Essentials and Why is it Great For Your Business?

What is Cyber Essentials and Why is it Great For Your Business?

The vast majority of cyber attacks can be classified into a few different types that businesses can protect themselves against.

Understanding what your cyber security risks are and how to mitigate them is not just something you should be worried about because of the potential damage to your systems. You have a legal duty of care to protect data pertaining to the customers you provide products or services for.

Small and medium-size businesses on strict budgets are just as much at risk as larger organisations when it comes to cyber crime. Initiatives such as Cyber Essentials are integral in ensuring that these companies are able to put in place real solutions that help reduce the risk of a security breach.

What is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials is a UK government-backed initiative that has been in place since 2014. The scheme outlines the basic steps your business can take to mitigate up to 80% of the risks that it might face from external and internal malicious influences.

It’s a recognised scheme that has been designed specifically with small and medium-size businesses in mind and is a relatively low-cost IT security framework that any company can employ.

The Benefits of Cyber Essentials

It’s not just businesses that are concerned about cyber security. Consumers are worried too and they are more likely to choose a business that can demonstrate it’s taken precautions to protect data rather than one which hasn’t. Cyber Essentials certification gives you an easy way to show what your business is doing to keep your customers’ data safe.

If you are a B2B organisation, in particular, one seeking to bid for government projects, Cyber Essentials certification is the evidence that proves you are serious about mitigating cyber security risks in your company.

5 Ways to Improve Your Cyber Security through Cyber Essentials

The five main ways to improve your cyber security means having these important controls in place:

1. Secure your Internet connection

You should protect your Internet connection with a firewall to create a secure buffer between your company network and devices and external networks and the Internet. This allows you to have more control over remote access to internal systems and data, as well as outbound access to the Internet.

Most businesses will have a boundary firewall on their router and a personal firewall on devices, but few understand how they work or how to configure them to better protect data and software. The Cyber Essentials scheme is designed to give businesses more control and greater knowledge in this area.

2. Secure your devices and software

Most new devices will come bundled with pre-installed software applications, have auto-run features enabled, or even have a manufacturer default password. All of which give hackers an opportunity to exploit common settings.

By removing any unnecessary software applications, disabling unused features and changing default passwords to something secure you will make the device far more secure. Where applicable, using two-factor authentication will increase security further.

3. Control access to your data and services

Another important part of security is understanding what data and sensitive information relates to your business and who has access to it. To minimise the damage if a user account were to be misused or stolen, staff should only be given permissions to access the data they need to do their job. This goes for senior managers and directors too, as giving full access rights to this type of account will make them a prime target and will cause the most damage if they are breached.

4. Protect from viruses and other malware

Malware can come in many forms and you need to make sure that your computers and devices are protected by suitable anti-virus software.

Infection can come from Internet worms and viruses, hacked websites, ransomware, botnets and spyware and each of these present their own challenges. Modern day malware attacks are designed to deceive computer users and bypass common methods of protection. Often, a multi-layered approach to securing your systems is more effective. Cyber Essentials will help you to choose the appropriate protection for your business.

5. Keep your devices and software up to date

It’s surprising the number of businesses that don’t download updates and patches for operating systems when they are available. This often happens when older systems are being used in the company.

These software updates are vital in combating cyber-attacks and businesses need to ensure that systems download and install at the earliest opportunity. The easiest way to do this in most cases is to initiate automatic downloads.

If a manufacturer no longer supports hardware or software, new updates are not available. In this case you should consider replacing the hardware.

What Should You Do Next?

Once you have taken the time to investigate your security needs and have put these five basic controls in place, you will put your organisation on the path to better cyber security. Cyber Essentials Certification should be your next target, but you can work towards that goal at a pace which suits you.

Improving your online security by obtaining Cyber Essentials certification won’t guarantee you will never be the victim of an attack but it should help mitigate about 80% of the risks at a relatively low cost to your business.

Cyan Solutions can guide you through the process and work with you to deliver a more secure future for your company or organisation. Contact our expert team today to find out more.

Categories: Cyber Security, IT Security, News