Review indicates need for changes to Cyber Essentials scheme

23/06/2023 | UK Government

The UK Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) has published a review of the government-owned Cyber Essentials scheme. 

In the nine since it was introduced, the Cyber Essentials scheme developed by DSIT along with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and delivered through the IASME Consortium has only certified 35,000 organisations across the country. The figure represents a tiny percentage of the estimated 5.5 million private sector businesses in the UK. 

While the number of certifications has grown from fewer than 500 per month in January 2017 to just under 3500 in January 2023, several concerns have been raised about the scheme. Some users have expressed that the controls are not relevant to their organisation, and there are challenges to implementing cyber security measures by organisations of different types, sizes and sectors. Strategic stakeholders have advocated for more in-built flexibilities where possible.

The review made several recommendations:

  • Increase awareness of security threats and offer users informed choices concerning solutions
  • Improve information, tools and guidance
  • Offer more tailored information 
  • Consider making Cyber Essentials more responsive to current user needs
  • Strengthen robustness and transparency
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