Cyber Essentials

What is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials is a globally recognised IT security standard, used to give comfort to wider industry that basic levels of IT related security are being met.

It covers five key control areas which can protect organisations from possible data breaches and leaks.

These are –

  • boundary firewall and internet gateways
  • secure configuration
  • access control
  • malware protection
  • patch management and software updates

five key security controls

Boundary Firewalls and Internet Gateways

You should protect your Internet connection with a firewall. This effectively creates a ‘buffer zone’ between your IT network and other, external networks. In the simplest case, this means between your computer (or computers) and ‘the Internet’. Within this buffer zone, incoming traffic can be analysed to find out whether or not it should be allowed onto your network.

Secure Configuration

Manufacturers often set the default configurations of new software and devices to be as open and multi-functional as possible. They come with ‘everything on’ to make them easily connectable and usable. Unfortunately, these settings can also provide cyber attackers with opportunities to gain unauthorised access to your data, often with ease.

Access Control

To minimise the potential damage that could be done if an account is misused or stolen, staff accounts should have just enough access to software, settings, online services and device connectivity functions for them to perform their role. Extra permissions should only be given to those who need them.

Malware & Virus Protection

Malware is short for ‘malicious software’. One specific example is ransomware, which you may have heard mentioned in the news. This form of malware makes data or systems it has infected unusable - until the victim makes a payment. Viruses are another well-known form of malware. These programs are designed to infect legitimate software, passing unnoticed between machines, whenever they can.

Patch Management and Software Updates

No matter which phones, tablets, laptops or computers your organisation is using, it’s important they are kept up to date at all times. This is true for both Operating Systems and installed apps or software. Happily, doing so is quick, easy, and free.

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