• Prove your IT is secure; it's a cyber-essential

A crucial aspect of any business planning now lies with IT. With little exception, organisations of all sizes use IT to 'run' their business in some form or other – whether that involves a few laptops, a complex data centre or cloud computing.

Given the extent that digital initiatives continue to transform the way companies operate, any business plan that fails to take into account how IT can impact their business will be fundamentally flawed. Just as you wouldn't put together a business plan and ignore HR or finances, it is no longer possible to leave out IT.

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Putting together your IT plan  

When working on an IT plan, you want to make sure that security is one of the core components. Especially as business assets are increasingly digital in nature – and have a clear value.

Many SME’s still consider themselves too small, or not enough of a ‘catch’, to appeal to cyber criminals. But if it’s worth something to you, then it’s worth something to them. It is worth exactly how much you would be prepared to pay to have your digital assets returned and your reputation left intact. So getting protected is crucial.

Here though, comes the problem. You're not an expert in IT so how on earth are you going to draw up a cyber-security policy? How do you even get started?

Whether you do it yourself or enlist third party experts, writing up a set of policies and procedures is going to take time and cost you money. Wouldn’t it be helpful if a lot of that groundwork was already done for you? Preferably without the complexity of highly detailed 'big standards', such as ISO27001, PCI, COBIT or the ISF Standard of Good Practice, which have traditionally targeted larger organisations.

Introducing Cyber Essentials

Thankfully, SMEs are now in reach of something much more attainable. Cyber Essentials is a set of IT security standards developed and backed by the government. Aimed at smaller businesses wanting to protect themselves against common cyber threats, the standards help firms put in place, test and attain security policies without having to incur huge costs. And crucially, without any disruption to the way you operate. 

Once you’ve completed the accreditation, you can proudly display the Cyber Essentials badge. This stamp of approval offers confidence to partners and customers alike – they can trust you with your data and know that you’ve done some due diligence in ensuring your IT systems are secure.

The stamp of approval  

You can expect the Cyber Essentials badge to become increasingly important over the next 12-18 months. It’s going to be something you’ll want, and ultimately need to look for when finding and working with business partners. This element of trust is not to be underestimated – after all, in today’s cyber-conscious market, it can be the difference between customers choosing you, versus another supplier.

We’ve seen this in larger business with standards like ISO27001. Given the choice, who are you going to trust? Who’s going to trust you? How do you prove ‘trustworthiness’? When it comes to taking the security of data for customers and partners seriously, showing that you are proactive is vital.

In a growing business, being able to move quickly and adapt is a key advantage. Sometimes, diverting resources to make way for a big IT security policy is hard. But there is help at hand, and an opportunity to take advantage of the groundwork that’s already been done. Get Cyber Essentials certified, protect yourself against potential threats and put yourself in a position of trust.

Claim your FREE Cyber Security assesment here