Cyber Essentials is a scheme backed by the government devised specifically to help businesses better defend themselves from cyber-attacks. It was introduced by the National Cyber Security Centre in 2014 and recently updated in 2022; it’s a simple but effective set of protocols to defend your organisation better. By gaining Cyber Essentials, businesses of any size will have the processes and procedures to offer protection from many of the most common cyber-attacks.
The word ‘essentials’ is key, as these are the absolute essential requirements ALL businesses should have to protect themselves from cyber attackers.
Cyber-attacks can vary, but the most common are generally very basic, devised by unsophisticated chancers. These basic cyber threats are like a cat-burglar peeking through your windows and checking your back door while you’re out for the evening. Cyber Essentials was specifically devised to thwart these opportunistic and often devastating cyber incidents.
Cyber Security for Accountants
Let’s look at some recent cyber-attacks and get into some more detail about why cyber security for accountancy firms is so important and why your firm should seriously consider undertaking Cyber Essentials.
On the 4th April 2022, IT Governance confirmed that:
“In March 2022, we found 88 publicly disclosed security incidents accounting for 3,987,593 breached records.”
According to Accounting Today – August 2020:
“Since the start of the covid-19 pandemic, accounting firms have seen a 300% increase in cyber attacks as an industry that is already vulnerable to cybercrime also deals with the challenges of remote working.”
“With the increase in the remote workforce and ongoing COVID pandemic, there has been a 300% increase in cyberattacks on accounting practices of all sizes.”
AAT Comment explained in their March 2021 article that:
“Cyber criminals are picking off accountants at year end.”
On May 17th 2022 Naq confirmed that
“Cyberattacks are on the rise for accountancy firms. With a 300% rise noted.”
You can read more about that here.
A cyber criminal’s job is to seek out vulnerable systems containing important data and information. Without the proper cyber security solutions, accountancy firms can be easy and highly lucrative targets. By investing in accounting cybersecurity solutions and practices, you can help ensure that your firm protects sensitive data for compliance reasons and for the safety of your clients who’ve entrusted you with their financial, personal, and professional information.
So how can you better protect your firm and how can Integral IT help?
The Cyber Essentials Scheme
There are two levels of Cyber Essentials delivering basic cyber security to businesses. The first is Cyber Essentials – the entry-level standard of security protocols and the second, Cyber Essentials Plus, the more detailed process, proving a better adherence to cyber security practices.
Cyber Essentials is a self-assessment option providing your business protection against a wide variety of the most common cyber-attacks. By gaining this certification, working alongside an IT company, such as Integral IT, provides your business with a foundation of critical cyber security solutions and protocols. It also confirms to clients, staff, investors, and cyber criminals that you take cyber security seriously and might be a more challenging target to breach. For example, an accountancy firm vulnerable to basic cyber-attacks can easily attract unwanted and ominous attention from cybercriminals.
Achieving your Cyber Essentials certification provides investors, employees, and clients peace of mind that you and your teams understand the importance of effective cyber defences and have a recognised set of protocols to better protect your business against common cyber-attacks. Cybercriminals seek targets that do not have basic cyber security measures and technical controls; by gaining Cyber Essentials, you better protect your business.
Undertaking the Cyber Essentials process will also help your business and teams understand how to address cyber security basics and help them spot and prevent the most common cyber-attacks.
Cyber Essentials Plus
Cyber Essentials Plus is a more detailed process and a higher grade of cyber security certification. The activity and processes are the same as the basic Cyber Essentials certification; they’re straightforward to implement, but your business needs to have a hands-on, technical verification carried out to gain Cyber Essentials Plus. This means a 3rd party attending to confirm that your cyber security measures are in place and meet the Cyber Essentials criteria. Integral IT encourages accountancy and finance businesses to undertake the Cyber Essentials Plus certification. However, your risk of being a target is greater as your data is of more value than many other businesses.
How can Integral IT help your accountancy firm gain Cyber Essentials?
At integral IT, we’ve worked with businesses and their cyber security since 2006 and with critical cyber security solution providers for many years. Our cyber experts pride themselves on their dedication to effective cyber security and delivering Cyber Essentials certifications to our clients.
As a starter for ten, here are the 5 areas that Cyber Essentials covers, and to pass, your business must be able to demonstrate that you have protection in place for all clearly:
- All devices and all software are secure
- Your internet connection is secure
- You have in place access controls to your data
- Your devices and software are patched regularly and up to date
- Your devices and software have up-to-date protection from viruses and malware
Should you want to know more about effective cyber security measures, we can help. We offer Cyber Essentials consultations and provide phishing training and testing for your employees, run cyber security audits for businesses, and deliver managed cyber security services.
Simply get in touch to learn more.
Learn more about Cyber Essentials and cyber security
You may also be interested in our blog Cyber Security Recommendations for Small Businesses, click through to read that now.
How does the Cyber Essentials scheme work?
Simple and effective, it enables businesses to protect themselves against cyber threats, showing that they are proactive when it comes to security. Choose from two levels:
We understand what it takes to develop your infrastructure as well as technical and organisational controls to make cyber security incidents a thing of the past.