First seven SMEs bite on Government's flagship Cyber Essentials scheme

Early adopters complete pilot phase

The first batch of SMEs have been certified under the pilot phase of Government's flagship Cyber Essentials self-assessment programme, according to the IASME consortium.

Formally launched earlier this month, Cyber Essentials has two levels for SMEs starting with a basic and cheaper regime based on online self-assessment and sign-off from board-level management; the more advanced and pricier Cyber Essentials Plus involves independent accreditation of an SME's security.

Only weeks in, seven firms had now completed the self-assessment level, IASME said. All of these names are tech firms specialising in either infosec or software services, precisely the sorts of early adopters that might be expected to be keen on the scheme in order to be met requirements on public sector supply chains.

Despite the self-assessment aspect of certification, spirits remains high regarding participation.

TeraByte IT under took the Cyber Essentials certification though IASME and found that the process start to finish was simple and easy to follow" said the firm's managing director, Marcus Dempsey.

"This achievement benefits both our company and clients by showing that we keep our datasecure and provides that level of trust that this scheme provides."

Others quoted by IASME were keen to emphasis how Cyber Essentials could be used to complement existing security standards.

"Security is paramount to Nexor and as a holder of ISO27001 we initially questioned if Cyber Essentials would provide any additional benefit," admitted Nexor operations director, Andrew Keys.

"However, recognising the value of Cyber Essentials certification in the government supply chain, we committed to achieving certification at the earliest opportunity. During the review we identified several areas where there was scope for improvement in managing our existing security controls, which showed the value of the scheme," he said.

IASME charges £300 ($500) for Cyber Essentials with an assisted self-assessment on offer for £1,100.

The answers to each self-assessment questions were reviewed by security experts, IASME's CEODr Emma Philpott told Computerworld UK.

"We have seen companies put a great deal of work into preparing their company for this self assessment and not all companies pass even though they can download all the questions from our website for free in advance," she said.

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