What your organisation needs to know about Cyber Essentials certification.

In today's digital age, cybersecurity has become a top priority for companies of all sizes and sectors. The constant threat of cyber attacks looms large over organisations, making it essential to invest in robust IT security measures that demonstrate ongoing commitment to safety, privacy, and compliance. This is especially true for the UK’s housing associations, where ‘cyber liability’ has become a central part of many insurance programmes. 

But with so many competing priorities, and a lot of time and expense involved in achieving various accreditations, how can IT leaders ensure they reap the benefits of their investments, and that everything goes as smoothly as possible?

John Blackburn, operations director at Central Networks, shares the significance of Cyber Essentials certification, and highlights how a managed IT services provider can help alleviate the complexities associated with obtaining and maintaining these credentials…

How Cyber Essentials certification can strengthen organisations’ cyber security posture 

Cyber Essentials is a government-accredited scheme designed to assess a firm's readiness in defending against common cyber threats. By achieving certification, companies can showcase their dedication to safeguarding their IT systems and sensitive data — demonstrating not only their commitment to cyber security, but also acting as a prerequisite for obtaining cyber insurance coverage.

What is cyber insurance and why is it important?

As organisations combat the increasing sophistication and proliferation of digital attacks, cyber insurance has naturally gained immense importance too — providing financial protection and support in the event of a crisis.

However, many insurance providers now require organisations to have Cyber Essentials certification as a condition for coverage. This requirement ensures that firms have implemented fundamental security measures and reduces the risk of cyber incidents —  providing a clear picture of your organisation’s security posture, reassuring customers that you are working to secure your IT systems against threats, and increasing the attractiveness of your firm when attracting new business on a client and stakeholder level.

How a managed IT services provider can help ease the headache

Navigating the complex landscape of cybersecurity and Cyber Essentials certification can feel incredibly time-intensive. With resources already stretched in sectors such as social housing, managed IT services providers like Central Networks can prove a critical piece of the puzzle. Offering a comprehensive service to review your organisation's IT systems and ensure they meet the necessary requirements for the government accreditation, their impartial support can significantly reduce the headache throughout the entire process. 

Able to be instructed on an ad-hoc basis, or as part of a larger scale support service, the service includes:

  • Firewall audit: Our experienced team of IT engineers will perform a thorough assessment of firewall configurations, firmware versions, and rule analysis to identify potential vulnerabilities.
  • External vulnerability scan: We’ll then verify external-facing DNS records and conduct port scans to detect any weaknesses that could be exploited by cybercriminals.
  • Password management: Checking for default administrative passwords, our experts will ensure standardised policies are implemented throughout the organisation.
  • Desktop vulnerability assessment: Assessing user-facing desktops, we’ll ensure that software and operating systems are up-to-date with necessary patches to mitigate vulnerabilities.
  • Web and email filtering: We’ll examine web and email filtering systems, ensuring their effectiveness in blocking malicious content and preventing phishing attacks.
  • Mobile device management (MDM): By evaluating MDM solutions, our team will identify any vulnerabilities that could compromise the security of mobile devices within the organisation.
  • Questionnaire support: Additionally, we’ll assist customers in submitting the necessary information for the Cyber Essentials application.

Ultimately, we’re hyper-focused on streamlining the process and making it easier for firms to maximise their security posture and obtain the certification. In rare cases where remedial work is needed, Central also provides the required support — although our thorough assessments make it unlikely that significant issues will arise.

Take proactive steps today to safeguard your company and build a resilient cybersecurity foundation with Cyber Essentials certification. Get in touch, if you’re looking for specialist support to help ease the burden. 

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