The Cyber Essentials Scheme

What is the Cyber Essentials scheme?

The Cyber Essentials scheme is a UK government-backed framework supported by the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre). It sets out five basic security controls that can protect organisations against 80% of common cyber attacks.

The scheme is designed to help organisations of any size demonstrate their commitment to cyber security – while keeping the approach simple and the costs low.

The Cyber Essentials certification process is managed by the IASME Consortium (IASME), which licenses certification bodies to carry out Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus certifications.

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IT Governance makes certification easy. View our range of affordable certification options for Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus.

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Why do I need Cyber Essentials? 

Prevent around 80% of cyber attacks

By correctly implementing the five basic security controls, the Cyber Essentials scheme will help you reduce the impact of such threats as:

  • Phishing attacks
  • Malware
  • Ransomware
  • Password-guessing attacks
  • Network attacks

Demonstrate supply chain security

Achieving Cyber Essentials certification will help you demonstrate your commitment to data protection and cyber security.

Win new business

Boost your reputation and attract new business by assuring customers you take cyber security seriously and have cyber security measures in place.

Work with the UK government and MOD

Cyber Essentials will permit you to work with the UK government and Cyber Essentials Plus will allow you to work with the MOD.

Be listed on the NCSC’s database

Cyber Essentials certificates issued in the previous 12 months will be displayed on the NCSC website, showing suppliers your commitment to protecting your and your customers’ data.

The NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) has reviewed what influence Cyber Essentials has on cyber security attitudes and behaviours. It found:

  • 93% of certified organisations are confident that they are protected against common, Internet-based cyber attacks;
  • 61% of certified organisations say they are more likely to choose suppliers with Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus certification; and
  • Certified organisations are more likely to implement cyber security controls beyond the scheme’s five controls, and are more aware of the risks posed by cyber attacks.

Learn more about the benefits of Cyber Essentials certification

What does Cyber Essentials cover?

Firewalls and routers

Create a ‘buffer zone’ between your IT network and other, external networks so that incoming traffic can be analysed to find out whether it should be allowed onto your network.

Learn more about firewalls

Software updates

Protect against vulnerabilities by keeping your devices and applications up to date.

 Learn more about patch management

Malware protection

Protect against viruses and other malware by using properly configured anti-malware software and only allowing trusted applications.

Learn more about malware protection

Access control

Manage access to administrator accounts to control who has access to your data and services.

Learn more about access controls

Secure configuration

Choose the most secure settings for your devices and software by changing passwords and removing unused accounts and software.

Learn more about secure configuration

Cyber Essentials – A guide to the scheme

Free green paper: Cyber Essentials – A guide to the scheme

Download this free paper, updated for v3.0/Evendine, to discover what Cyber Essentials is, the benefits of certification, what you need to do to implement the scheme’s five controls and how the certification process works.

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What’s the difference between Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus?

Cyber Essentials Certification

Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials includes an SAQ (self-assessment


Cyber Essentials is right for you if:

You want a base-level security certification to demonstrate that you have key controls in place.

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Cyber Essentials Plus Certification

Cyber Essentials Plus

Cyber Essentials Plus includes a technical audit of the systems that are in scope for Cyber Essentials. It consists of an external vulnerability assessment, an internal scan and an on-site assessment.

Cyber Essentials Plus is right for you if:

You are required to have a more in-depth audit of the key controls you have in place, your employees work from remote locations, or third parties have access to your premises or IT.

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How to achieve Cyber Essentials certification

Our simple five-step methodology:



Define the scope

Certification can apply to an organisation’s full enterprise IT or just to a subset. Either way, the scope needs to be clearly defined before the certification process can get underway.



The next step is to complete the questionnaire. We review the completed SAQ before submission to check it meets the scheme’s requirements. Successful applications are issued a Cyber Essentials certificate.


On-site assessment

Organisations seeking certification to Cyber Essentials Plus will be required to go through a technical audit, including a series of internal vulnerability scans and tests of the in-scope system(s) and the SAQ.


External scan

An external vulnerability scan of your Internet-facing networks and applications is used to verify that there are no obvious vulnerabilities. As the tests are external, they are performed off-site.


Certification (Plus)

Once the on-site assessment, internal vulnerability scan and external vulnerability scan have been completed and approved, you will be issued your Cyber Essentials Plus certificate.

Why choose IT Governance as your Cyber Essentials partner?

  • Founder – IT Governance is one of the founding Cyber Essentials certification bodies and remains one of the largest in the UK, issuing more than 6,000 certificates.
  • Our Cyber Essentials services have received an excellent NPS (Net Promoter Score) of +75.
  • One-stop shop – we provide all the tools and resources needed to achieve certification at both levels of the Cyber Essentials scheme, including pre-written documentation, vulnerability scanning and technical assessments.
  • End-to-end support – we deliver all the technical tests and assessments, conducted by our experienced technical testers.
  • Tailored solutions – our unique fixed-price bundles provide expert support and compliance tools at affordable rates.
  • Credentials – our consultants are qualified, cyber security practitioners.
  • Unrivalled expertise – we have the knowledge and insight to help you take the next steps beyond Cyber Essentials.

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We’ve helped thousands of organisations like yours achieve Cyber Essentials certification

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