Are you concerned about the security of your organisation’s digital assets? In an increasingly interconnected world, cyber security is of paramount importance. One way to ensure that your business is on the right track when it comes to cyber security is to undergo Cyber Essentials Plus. In this blog, we explain what goes into a Cyber Essentials Plus audit so you can better understand the process and its significance.
Understanding Cyber Essentials Plus
Before we dive into the specifics of the audit, let’s briefly clarify what Cyber Essentials Plus is. Cyber Essentials Plus is a certification scheme developed by the UK government to help organisations of all sizes demonstrate their commitment to cyber security. It is an extension of the Cyber Essentials certification and offers a higher level of assurance through a more rigorous assessment process.
The components of a Cyber Essentials Plus audit are as follows:
The Cyber Essentials Plus audit typically kicks off with an initial assessment. During this phase, a Cyber Essentials assessor evaluates your organisation’s IT infrastructure and existing security policies. This assessment provides a foundational understanding of your current security posture and sets the stage for the more in-depth evaluation to follow.
Vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure act like open doors inviting cyber threats. To identify these potential weaknesses, auditors conduct a vulnerability assessment. This involves using specialised tools to scan your network and systems for vulnerabilities. Any issues discovered in this part of the Cyber Essentials Plus audit are documented for further analysis and action.
One of the most critical aspects of the Cyber Essentials Plus audit is penetration testing. Cyber security experts can run a simulated real-world cyber attack on your systems. Their goal is to exploit vulnerabilities and assess your system’s resilience to intrusions. This part of the audit is a hands-on evaluation of your defences and helps identify potential entry points for cybercriminals.
Firewall And Network Security
Firewalls and network security are the first line of defence against external threats. During the audit, the configuration and effectiveness of your firewall and network security measures are closely examined. Ensuring that they are correctly configured and up to date is crucial in protecting your digital assets from unauthorised access.
User Access Controls
Getting user access controls right is vital. The Cyber Essentials Plus audit assesses how well you manage user accounts, passwords, and permissions. It ensures that only authorised individuals have access to sensitive data and critical systems. This is a crucial step in preventing insider threats and unauthorised access.
Malware can wreak havoc on your systems and data. The audit verifies the presence and effectiveness of antivirus and anti-malware solutions on all devices and endpoints within your organisation. This layer of defence is essential in detecting and mitigating malware threats.
Software vulnerabilities are a common target for cybercriminals. To thwart their efforts, the audit checks your patch management practices. This involves ensuring that security patches and updates are regularly applied to all software, operating systems, and devices. Keeping your systems up to date is key to mitigating known vulnerabilities.
Data Backup And Recovery
The audit assesses your data backup and recovery procedures to ensure that critical data can be restored in the event of a cyber incident. This safeguards your business continuity and minimises data loss.
Incident Response Plan
No organisation is immune to cyber incidents. The audit reviews your incident response plan to determine its effectiveness in addressing and mitigating cyber security incidents. A well-defined plan can significantly reduce the impact of a security breach.
Physical security is often overlooked but is equally important. The Cyber Essentials Plus audit evaluates physical security measures in place, such as access controls to server rooms and data centres. Protecting physical access to your critical infrastructure is a fundamental part of cyber security.
Documentation And Compliance
To maintain a robust cyber security posture, it’s essential to document your cyber security policies and procedures. The audit ensures that your organisation maintains adequate documentation of its cyber security practices and compliance with Cyber Essentials Plus requirements. Documentation provides transparency and accountability.
Employee Training And Awareness
Your employees are both your greatest strength and biggest potential vulnerability. The audit verifies that employees receive training in cyber security best practices and are aware of their roles in maintaining security. Educated and vigilant employees are a crucial part of your defence strategy.
Third-Party Vendor Assessment
If your organisation relies on third-party vendors or service providers who have access to your systems or data, their cyber security practices are also evaluated. It’s essential to ensure that your partners meet the same cyber security standards to avoid potential vulnerabilities through external connections.
After a thorough examination, the results of the audit are compiled into a comprehensive report. This report includes identified vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and recommendations for remediation. It provides a roadmap for improving your cyber security posture.
Once the audit is complete, the organisation must take action to address any identified vulnerabilities and weaknesses. This involves implementing the recommended changes and improvements to meet the Cyber Essentials Plus requirements fully.
By undergoing a Cyber Essentials Plus audit, organisations demonstrate their commitment to cyber security and gain a higher level of assurance in their defence mechanisms. It’s a proactive step towards safeguarding your digital assets and maintaining trust with your stakeholders.
The Cyber Essentials Plus Audit: Explained
A Cyber Essentials Plus audit is a comprehensive assessment of your organisation’s cyber security practices. It covers everything from vulnerability assessments and penetration testing to user access controls and incident response planning. By meeting the requirements of this certification, you can enhance your cyber security posture and better protect your business from cyber threats.
Akita is a Cyber Essentials Plus accredited organisation and a certified Cyber Essentials assessment body. Find out more about our services:View More