Can you cheat Cyber Essentials?
We asked a Bulletproof expert ‘Can you cheat Cyber Essentials?’ along with other hotly debated compliance questions, to see what he really thinks. Read what he has to say or watch the video. This is part of our Candid Chats series, where we ask the awkward questions. For more videos like this, check out Bulletproof’s YouTube channel.
- What's the bare minimum I need to do for Cyber Essentials?
- What do people say after achieving their Cyber Essentials certification?
- What happens if someone tries to cheat their Cyber Essentials?
- What is the most common reason for failure in Cyber Essentials?
- Are there any quick hacks for Cyber Essentials?
- How does Cyber Essentials deal with remote workers?
- Can you shortcut the scope on Cyber Essentials?
What's the bare minimum I need to do for Cyber Essentials?
“Technically there is a pass/fail threshold, so to achieve a pass mark you are allowed a certain amount of major non-compliances. However, you should be aiming to get as much as you can out of the certificate, achieving as close to 100% as possible. If you're only ever aiming for the bare minimum or treating Cyber Essentials as a 'tick box exercise' then inevitably there are going to be some security holes that you may regret later down the line as you grow as a business.”
What do people say after achieving their Cyber Essentials certification?
“People working in IT tend to be more used to doing Cyber Essentials as an annual compliance objective that they are confident they can achieve. It is usually people who don’t regularly work in IT or compliance, and who have been given the task of helping the company achieve CE who are over the moon when they get the certificate!
It is rewarding for us as auditors to see that that Cyber Essentials not only helps the company become more secure, but it also helps the people involved in the process to be more cyber aware as well.”
What happens if someone tries to cheat their Cyber Essentials?
“Our assessors are trained to notice discrepancies in the answers, and some questions are designed with this in mind. One question might be ‘How many remote workers do you have?’ And if you say you have two, but later claim in your scope that you have offices based in Europe, then you’re likely to have more than two employees working remotely and we would need to double check that.
Because you get cyber insurance for certifying a whole organisation against Cyber Essentials, cheating on CE could put your insurance at risk. If a data breach occurs and your insurance paperwork reveals a discrepancy on your certificate, this will invalidate your insurance.
Many organisations also get Cyber Essentials because they want to apply for contracts with other providers, who ‘spot check’ companies they work with through random auditing. If they find a discrepancy on your Cyber Essentials certificate, then this could break down the relationship.”
What is the most common reason for failure in Cyber Essentials?
“The number one reason for failing is not answering a question properly because of not fully reading and understanding what is being asked. For example, if one of the questions asks you to confirm the operating system of all your devices, then you must include BYOD devices such as mobile phones and tablets to fully answer the question. “
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Are there any quick hacks for Cyber Essentials?
“The good news is Yes! You can download the Cyber Essentials questionnaire as far in advance as you like, giving you plenty of time to prepare. You can also get in touch with an organisation that offers Cyber Essentials, for advice and guidance, so that you’re ready when the actual assessment comes along.
There's also no rule that says you can't do Cyber Essentials multiple times in a year. It is relatively affordable for companies to do, so if you want to make sure you're on track or want to keep on pushing back your renewal date, do it every six months or even every quarter. It’s also worth noting that if you do upgrade it to Cyber Essentials Plus, you will see more security benefits than just doing the basic CE assessment.”
How does Cyber Essentials deal with remote workers?
How does Cyber Essentials deal with remote workers?
What we tend to do is focus on the device itself. So, we look at the device’s security that's on the home network making sure that firewalls are enabled and that they react properly to viruses that are being downloaded etc. We also encourage mobile device management and VPNs because if you have those then you can benefit from your company security rather than relying on your home network.”
Can you shortcut the scope on Cyber Essentials?
“If you want cyber insurance, you must certify your whole organisation against Cyber Essentials so every department within your business needs to be included to qualify for the insurance. You can ‘out of scope’ a certain department or office, however you would need to make sure those areas of your organisation are completely segregated from the main network that's in scope. As this is impractical for most companies its best to your whole organisation within the scope unless you have a unique circumstance or a specific reason for not doing so. “
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