Ensure your IT meets the required security controls with a Cyber Essentials certification
Anthony Roberts, Infrastructure Manager, Fabric IT
Cyber Essentials is a scheme backed by the government. It aims to help businesses protect themselves against online threats and also demonstrates their commitment to cybersecurity.
Attaining Cyber Essentials gives customers the reassurance that their security will be a high priority against a cyber-attack.
The process of certification
- Select a certification body
- Ensure your IT estate meets the required security controls
- Complete the Cyber Essentials questionnaire
Cyber Essentials focus on the following technical controls:
Securing the internet connection
The internet connection should be protected with a firewall device that will monitor all incoming and outgoing network traffic. It also needs to block any malicious traffic. This is based on a set of security rules and access control lists.
Firewalls are the first line of defence between the internet (untrusted network) and the internal network (trusted network).
Securing devices and software
Manufactures will set default configurations of their software and hardware to be as open as possible to improve functionality. These settings can, unfortunately, be used by cyber attackers.
Standard settings within hardware should be checked and removed.
Controlling access to data and services
Giving staff members limited access to the system to perform their role will help prevent/minimize the damage which would be caused if the account becomes compromised.
Administrative account access should be reviewed often and should only be used to perform administrative functions. Standard user accounts should be used for general work.
All software installed on the system should be from approved manufacturers or official stores; this will ensure the software is malware-free.
Protecting from viruses and other malware
There are numerous ways that a computer or system can become infected with malware; this may be through an email, a malicious website or a USB memory stick.
All computers should have anti-virus/malware software configured; I would recommend Microsoft Intune along with Windows Defender.
Advanced Threat Protection can also be used to stop malware arriving by either an email link or an attachment. It achieves this by opening the link or attachment in a “detonation chamber” or sandboxed environment to analyze the results to determine if it is malicious.
Keep your devices and software up to date
Malicious attackers always find software vulnerabilities and flaws within operating systems and other software on the network. Applying these fixes and patches should happen every 30 days and is a crucial way of protecting the internal systems.
All applications have a supported lifespan. When this is reached, manufacturers will no longer support the software or hardware. In some cases, planning is required to replace an alternative.
Want to read more? Discover what Microsoft Secure Score is and how to analyse the configuration of your Microsoft Cloud and on-premise solutions.