With small businesses increasingly becoming targets for cyber attacks due to their valuable data and relatively weaker security measures compared with larger corporations, the importance of cyber security for SMEs is greater than ever.

Since 2020, IASMME has worked in partnership with the national cyber security centre (NCSC) to deliver their CyberEssentials scheme.

One of the most effective steps that a small business can take to protect themselves against cyber threats is to follow and implement the best practices in attaining CyberEssentials certification.

In this article, we will explore the top five benefits of achieving CyberEssentials compliance in 2023 and how this can safeguard your business.

  1. Enhanced Protection
  2. Increased Trust and Credibility
  3. Regulatory Compliance
  4. Competitive Advantage
  5. Cost-Effective Security


With the digital landscape constantly changing, so with it are cyber threats. Small businesses often underestimate the likelihood of being targeted but the reality is that cybercriminals are increasingly going after smaller targets. The framework that CyberEssentials is centred around focuses on building strong defenses and implementing five key security controls.

  1. Boundary Firewalls and Internet Gateways – Protect against unauthorised access and malicious activities.
  2. Security Configuration – Ensuring systems are configured securely to reduce vulnerabilities.
  3. Access Control – Limit access to sensitive information and restricting data to authorised
  4. Malware Protection – Implement effective anti-virus and anti-malware solutions to safeguard your systems.
  5. Patch Management – Ensure your software and apps are kept updated to address known vulnerabilities.


By adopting this strategy and implementing these security measures, your business significantly reduces the risk of falling victim to cyber-attacks and data breaches which have potentially devasting consequences in the form of reputational and financial damage.



We already live in an age where data breaches and cyber-attacks make regular headline news, companies are becoming increasingly cautious about who they do business with and who they partner with. CyberEssentials certification sends a clear message to your customers, partners, and investors that you take security seriously. It demonstrates your commitment to protecting sensitive information.

Businesses want to ensure that they protect their own personal and financial information from cyber-threats and are more likely to engage with your company if you can provide them with the trust in your credibility. Equally organisations that want to collaborate with you want to see your commitment to reducing the risks caused by data breaches and cyber incidents.



With cyber security requirements and compliance requirements becoming more stringent and continuously evolving, failure to comply with these regulations can result in large fines or legal consequences for your business. CyberEssentials is a positive step in helping protect your organisation from cyber-threats but to also assist in meeting regulatory requirements.

In the UK, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates that businesses implement appropriate security measures to protect personal data. CyberEssentials is aligned with GDPR in that is helps your business to demonstrate compliance with its cybersecurity requirements. Not only are you safeguarding sensitive data but avoiding costly penalties that can be levied for non-compliance.



With many of our businesses operating in highly competitive markets, having something which distinguishes you from your competitors can give you an edge. Although an increasing number of businesses are looking to CyberEssentials, there are still relatively few SMEs who are compliant today.

Government contracts and other tenders are beginning to insist that companies comply with CyberEssentials when awarding those contracts. Attaining certification may open doors to opportunities that might otherwise be inaccessible. It showcases your commitment to security and could be the competitive advantage you need to win business.



Whilst there is an inevitable initial investment to implement cyber security measures, one common misconception amongst SMEs is that it is expensive. Because CyberEssentials focuses on security controls that are practical and scalable they are tailored to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses and large corporations alike.

Implementing these controls can significantly reduce the risk of costly cyber incidents which financially, compared with legal fees, data recovery and reputational damage far outweigh the investment needed for CyberEssentials compliance.

We are already seeing more and more insurance companies asking for CyberEssentials certification when quoting for cyber insurance. You may reduce your annual premiums with some insurers offering discounts to customers that can demonstrate strong cyber security practices. This not only reduces overall cyber security costs but provides the added financial protection in the event of a cyber incident.

Final Thoughts

In 2023, small businesses in the UK face an ever-increasing threat from cybercrime. The benefits of obtaining CyberEssentials certification are clear; enhanced protection against cyber threats, increased trust and credibility, regulatory compliance, a competitive advantage and cost-effective security.

By prioritising cyber security and taking the necessary steps to achieve CyberEssentials compliance, you not only protect your own business, but also position yourself as a credible and trustworthy partner, supplier and member of the business community. The advice is clear, make cyber security a priority for your company in 2023 and beyond.

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