Cybercrime doesn’t discriminate - why SMEs need Cyber Essentials certification

November 1, 2023 | Cybersecurity , Cyber Essentials
Laurence Keir

Written by
Laurence Keir

Every time you use the internet, you’re at risk of cybercrime. This means two things. Firstly, whether you’re a large enterprise or a small business, you’re not immune to cyberattacks. Secondly, every business should proactively put defences in place to protect their employees and clients against current and future threats.

In this article, I will discuss the importance of Cyber Essentials certification, considering the current cybercrime climate, and why MSPs and SMEs should consider the immediate and long-term benefits of this powerful certificate.

At Brigantia, we partner with leading cybersecurity vendors that offer high-level protection and stand out as leaders in the market, like CyberSmart, who help to deliver Cyber Essentials certification. We’ll dive into this a little later.

The current cybersecurity landscape

In today's digitalised world, you're only ever a click away from a potential breach. It's a roll of the dice whether you'll come across a cyberattack smart enough to breach your network and cause irreversible damage to your business.

Nowadays, a large portion of business operations is undertaken online, which has, predictably, led to an increase in cybercrime. In the last year, there were around 2.39 million occurrences of cybercrime and approximately 49,000 instances of fraud because of cybercrime across all UK firms. Businesses must be proactive rather than reactive in their approach to cybersecurity, minimising dangers before they occur.

It is now more vital than ever for organisations and MSPs to not only deploy airtight security systems, but also to promote internal best practises for employees across the workforce, encouraging proper cyber hygiene and raising awareness of how cyberthreats manifest themselves. This is where Cyber Essentials comes into play. 

What is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials certification is an affordable, simple-to-implement baseline cybersecurity strategy for businesses to protect themselves against a wide range of cyberattacks. As a government-backed scheme, it is not only acknowledged as a reputable cybersecurity certification, but it may also be required for some government contracts. That demonstrates how effective, beneficial, and valuable this credential is.

It outlines all of the steps you should take to lower your chances of becoming a victim of a successful attack. Consider it a MOT for your cybersecurity; it not only keeps you safe, but it also shows other businesses that you take cybersecurity seriously.

Cyber Essentials is more than just an accreditation; it enables small businesses to avoid the dangers and repercussions that come when inadequate cybersecurity measures are in place.

Does an SME need Cyber Essentials?

Newsworthy cyberattacks often target larger, well-known companies, which might lull SMEs into a false sense of security, leading them to believe they are not a target for cybercrime. The truth is that SMEs are just as vulnerable to cyberattacks as large companies.

SMEs are easy prey since they often have fewer cybersecurity measures in place than their larger counterparts. With 39% of all organisations reporting attacks last year but just 20% establishing a formal cybersecurity plan (vs. 58% for large firms), the danger of a successful attack is higher for SMEs.

Cyber Essentials provides peace of mind, which is beneficial to organisations of all sizes.

Why should MSPs take their clients through Cyber Essentials certifications?

It is critical for SMEs to stay ahead of the curve, and for MSPs to take Cyber Essentials seriously for their clients. With Cyber Essentials certification, businesses can establish robust cybersecurity practises across every aspect of their operations. 

The accreditation acts as a visible badge, indicating to others that a company is concerned about cybersecurity. It also has the added benefit of delivering a strong message to the online world: hackers beware. 

The certification provides a foundation of security that your clients can easily refer to and is great for building on with additional tools and services to move them beyond basic compliance.

What is CyberSmart and why should MSPs use it for Cyber Essentials certification?

CyberSmart offers a highly experienced team that provides unlimited support and guidance. From basic submission to additional tools and services, CyberSmart assists in getting the most out of Cyber Essentials certification.

Beyond the basic yearly certification, they provide an ongoing compliance solution that assures higher levels of security, up to £100k cyber insurance, and the added benefit of generating new opportunities for the MSP. With the option to choose a monthly or annual payment plan, CyberSmart is a great option for SMEs wanting to spread out the cost of Cyber Essentials over time.

One of CyberSmart's core principles is to take the basic premise of annual Cyber Essentials certification and turn it into an ongoing service, covering devices, software, and users so you can easily discover and mitigate threats as they occur.

Being certified alone can cut your cyber risk by up to 98.5%. That's a hard statistic to ignore.

How long does certification take?

By leveraging CyberSmart's expert support and audit teams, Cyber Essentials certification can be achieved on the same day of submission. However, maintaining compliance throughout the year is critical to ensuring effectiveness, which is where other CyberSmart capabilities come into play.

Final thoughts

In a 2022 government survey, over two-thirds (64%) of the 74 surveyed organisations that had never held Cyber Essentials had never heard of it prior to taking part in the survey. This must change. MSPs must urge their clients to achieve Cyber Essentials accreditation, which provides them with a basic level of online security that helps to prevent future disasters.

With one in every five organisations reporting a sophisticated attack such as malware or ransomware, it's more critical than ever for SMEs and MSPs to lay the groundwork and be prepared for the worst-case scenario that could be just around the corner.

It's time to put a stop to cybercrime. Learn more about CyberSmart and Cyber Essentials by visiting our website or contact one of our experts.

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