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What Is Cyber Essentials?

As a small or medium sized business, you may have wondered what is cyber essentials? And does my business need it? Plus, what is the difference between Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus? We address such questions in this article and help you understand more concerning the scheme. Thousands of businesses large and small complete the certification every year. Cyber attacks come in many forms and it is crucial that necessary steps are taken to protect yourself against them.

What Is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials is a government backed scheme that will help assess your organization with the view of protecting you against online cyber attacks. The scheme is an online self-assessment and helps businesses validate their cyber security. If passed, you receive a certificate, which can be proudly placed on your website. It helps demonstrate to your clients and customers your commitment to cyber security and that you are safe and compliant. By law, the assessment must be conducted every year.

What Is Different About Cyber Essentials Plus?

Cyber Essentials Plus is different in that it has a more hands-on technical verification approach than the basic product. The Plus assessment is essentially more comprehensive and vigorous. The assessment can take from few weeks to a few months to pass, providing that you do pass. If you fail, you will receive informative feedback as to how you can improve your security measures internally. Larger organisations will take longer than smaller organisations to finish the assessment.

If you currently have Cyber Essentials and would like to upgrade to the Plus version, you can easily do this. However, your certification must not be older than 3 months prior to applying for Cyber Essentials Plus. Regarding the matter of pricing, there is obviously a difference in both the schemes, which is explained in more detail below.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of the scheme does vary according to which certification you apply for and the size of your company. If you only want the basic Cyber Essentials certification, then the cost of this is £300 + VAT, as it is only a self-assessment. There is not much input needed from an IT provider and therefore the cost is minimal. However, Cyber Essentials Plus requires more input in terms of auditing, and thus the price will vairy. The size of the organization and the complexity of the businesses network will affect the price. Larger businesses will require additional support from an IT support provider to conduct security auditing. Please contact us today if you are unsure which certification would suit you best.

Do I Need it?

Absolutely. It reassures your clients and customers that you are working to secure your IT against cyber attacks. Also, it could attract more business, as it demonstrates you are taking proactive steps to protect your business and your customers. In addition, if your company is thinking of apply to certain government contracts, then you will be required to be Cyber Essentials certified. Our sister company Cambridge Support have a free Cyber Essentials guide that is very helpful.

The NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) hold a record of every company who has completed the certification. The NCSC have a search option available on their website, where any individual or business can check if a company has been certified in the last 12 months. This provides more reason to become certified as the information is easily available to all. More information generally can be found on our Cyber Essentials page.

There Is Now A New Tool

The new Cyber Essentials Readiness Tool asks organisations several questions relating to the main criteria of the scheme. This is to prepare them before conducting the certification.

Sarah Lyons, NCSC Deputy Director for Economy and Society, said:

“The Cyber Essentials Readiness Tool is a fantastic starting point for organisations who are unsure about where to start their preparation for Cyber Essentials certification.

“Not only does the tool highlight areas where more cyber security controls need to be put in place, it also provides guidance on how to implement them.

“From catering to construction, everyone should care about their businesses’ online security and I’d encourage people to take advantage of the new tool.”

How The IT Support Group Can Help

The IT Support Group can provide help and guidance on establishing protections related to all aspects in this article. We have had over 30 years’ experience successfully dealing with many security focused services. Therefore, if you require assistance with Cyber Essentials, we would be more than happy to help.

We would love to hear from you and are happy to answer any questions you have concerning cyber security. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 01223 901 900, or email us at

“The IT Support Group – A personal approach in everything we do”