Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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New award scheme to boost cyber security for UK businesses

Details of a new government scheme to help businesses stay safe online was announced yesterday (7 April 2014). 

he Cyber Essentials scheme provides clarity to organisations on what good cyber security practice is and sets out the steps they need to follow to manage cyber risks.

Once organisations have been independently assessed against the best practice recommendations they can apply for the Cyber Essentials award. This will demonstrate to potential customers that businesses have achieved a certain level of cyber security and take it seriously.

The new scheme is also applicable to other organisations including universities, charities and public bodies.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

Cyber Essentials is an easy to use cost effective way to help businesses and the public sector protect themselves against the risks of operating online.

Organisations will now be able to easily demonstrate they are cyber safe - reassuring their clients, boosting confidence and profitability. I encourage all organisations to adopt it.

David Booth, Managing Director of Information Assurance for SMEsConsortium Ltd (IASME), said:

We welcome this initiative, which fills an important gap in enabling organisations, particularly SMEs, to understand the most important technical aspects of cyber security protection. It fits nicely into IASME’s wider governance approach to information assurance for small companies.

The scheme is funded by the government through the National Cyber Security Programme. By making UK businesses safer in cyberspace, as well as enabling businesses to benefit from demonstrating their effectiveness in managing cyber threats, it helps to meet a key element of the UK Cyber Security Strategy.

The Cyber Essentials profile is now available to download. Organisations can self-assess themselves straightaway and from this summer will also be able to apply to be assessed and gain formal certification, leading to award of a Cyber Essentials badge.

The scheme has been developed following consultation with the British Standards Institution (BSI), IASME and the Information Security Forum (ISF) as well as businesses and professional bodies.

Notes to editors:

  1. Details of the scheme can be found at ew.

  2. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

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