Cyber Essentials Certified badgeYour business is probably involved in a very different field to our business. But one thing you, we and most other companies share is a use and reliance on digital technology. Unfortunately, cyber-attacks are on the rise – and the cost of recovery in time and money can be anywhere from painful to ruinous. So we’ve taken steps to protect ourselves, and recently gained the National Cyber Security Centre’s ‘Cyber Essentials’ certification.

About Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials is a government-backed scheme designed to help organisations of all sizes guard against a wide range of the most common cyber-attacks.

The cyber-attacks that make the headlines are often serious hardcore hacks against high-profile businesses or organisations. An example from the early days of cyber-attacks took place back in 2000. A DDoS cyber-attack against Amazon, CNN, eBay and Yahoo! by a 15-year-old hacker known as MafiaBoy caused over $1bn in damage. (He was caught, but due to his age was only sentenced to eight months in open custody.)

While cyber-attackers have grown in number and sophistication over the last 20 years, most cyber-attacks are actually very basic and are carried out by comparatively unskilled individuals. These are like the digital equivalent of an opportunist thief trying your door to see if it’s unlocked.

Of course, while the cyber-attacks most businesses are subject to may be unsophisticated, it doesn’t mean such attacks cannot cause damage and distress, or just be a downright distraction.

The many benefits of improved cyber security

By going through the process of Cyber Essentials certification, we are now in a better position to avoid phishing attacks, malware, ransomware, password guessing and network attacks.

And making Procol’s IT safer and data more secure shows our customers, colleagues and suppliers that we take cyber security seriously – which is of benefit to them as well as us.

For example, it gives customers the peace of mind that details of projects we undertake for them are well protected, and that our work for them is far less likely to be disrupted due to a cyber-attack.

We found the Cyber Essentials certification process to be a simple one, and accessible for all sizes of business. Among other things, Cyber Essentials sets out five key ways to improve your digital defences, including:

  1. Using a firewall to secure your internet connection
  2. Selecting the most secure settings for your devices and software
  3. Controlling who has access to your data and services
  4. Protecting yourself from viruses and other malware
  5. Keeping your devices and software up to date

While the process is straight forward and some of the checks and steps you need to make may seem basic, it all helps to divert unwelcome attention away from your business. (Having low-level vulnerabilities can flag your business up as a target for more heavy-duty attention.)

MafiaBoy has long since done his community service and is now on the digital straight-and-narrow as a security expert. But with hundreds of thousands of hackers and malicious computer programs out there, shoring up your cyber security – just as we have done – will be time very well spent.

Find out more about Cyber Essentials at the NSCS website. You can verify our certification and that of other companies there too.