Cyber-attacks are an all-to-real reality for UK businesses, yet many don’t take cybersecurity as seriously as they should. The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019 highlights this fact, with a third of businesses have experienced a cybersecurity breach in the last 12-months. Attacks include phishing attacks, malware, spyware, and viruses, costing the average business £4180. In reflection of this, a petition has been launched to persuade the government to enforce a minimum level of cybersecurity protection for medium and large-sized businesses. Backed by cybersecurity and IT professionals, the Make the NCSC’s Cyber Essentials scheme mandatory for all UK businesses with 50+ staff petition is starting to gain attention.
At the moment, the National Cyber Security Centre’s Cyber Essentials scheme is optional. The petition aims to get the government to make this cybersecurity protection scheme compulsory for organisations. Doing so will ensure that organisations can protect themselves if a cyber attack occurs. It will also reduce the costs associated with cybercrime and better protect the public.
What is the petition calling for?
The petition is asking the government to make it a legal requirement for:
- Medium-sized businesses (51-250 employees) to meet the certification criteria outlined in the Cyber Essentials Scheme
- Large-sized businesses (more than 250 employees) to meet the certification criteria for Cyber Essentials Plus Scheme
The petition is also asking for government assistance to help businesses achieve compliance. This assistance could be funding or exemption for businesses that would find it difficult to cover the certification costs.
What is Cyber Essentials?
Cyber Essentials is a government-backed scheme that launched on the 5th of June 2014. The scheme was created to help organisations protect themselves from common cyber-attacks. The Cyber Essentials scheme allows businesses to demonstrate their commitment to cybersecurity. Cyber Essentials certification allows businesses to reassure customers, attract new business, and have a clear picture of their cybersecurity level.
Through the Cyber Essentials scheme, your business will achieve five key security goals:
- Keep your software and devices up to date
- Secure your software and devices
- Secure your internet connection
- Protect from malware and viruses
- Control access to your services and data
For the full list of all requirements, check our Cyber Essentials checklist.