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Cyber Essentials Plus: Going Beyond the Basics of Cybersecurity

In today’s digitally driven world, cybersecurity is no longer a luxury but a necessity. As organizations increasingly rely on technology, they become more vulnerable to cyber threats, making robust security measures paramount. While basic cybersecurity practices are crucial, organizations need to go beyond the basics to truly protect themselves. This is where Cyber Essentials Plus (CE+) comes in, offering a comprehensive approach to bolstering an organization’s cyber resilience.

CE+ is an enhanced version of the widely recognized Cyber Essentials scheme. While Cyber Essentials focuses on providing a foundational level of security, CE+ takes things a step further by incorporating a rigorous technical assessment and vulnerability scanning. This deeper dive into an organization’s security posture allows for a more granular understanding of potential weaknesses and provides actionable insights for improvement.

A Deeper Dive into CE+:

The CE+ scheme is designed to ensure organizations have a robust cybersecurity foundation. It goes beyond the basic controls outlined in Cyber Essentials by incorporating the following key elements:

1. Technical Assessment: CE+ requires a thorough technical assessment conducted by an accredited certification body. This assessment evaluates an organization’s existing security controls and identifies any vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cyber attackers. The assessment delves into various aspects of the organization’s IT infrastructure.

2. Vulnerability Scanning: The technical assessment is complemented by a vulnerability scan, which uses specialized tools to identify potential security flaws in the organization’s systems and applications. This scan helps uncover hidden vulnerabilities that may not be apparent through traditional security assessments.

3. Remediation: Once vulnerabilities are identified, CE+ encourages organizations to prioritize their remediation. This involves addressing identified weaknesses by implementing appropriate security controls and configurations. The certification body may provide guidance and support during this process.

4. Continuous Monitoring: CE+ encourages organizations to adopt continuous monitoring practices to proactively identify and mitigate security threats. This involves regularly scanning for vulnerabilities, updating security software, and implementing security information and event management (SIEM) solutions.

Benefits of CE+:

The comprehensive nature of CE+ offers numerous benefits to organizations of all sizes, including:

  • Enhanced Security Posture: By identifying and addressing vulnerabilities, CE+ significantly strengthens an organization’s cybersecurity posture, making it less susceptible to cyberattacks.
  • Reduced Risk of Data Breaches: The rigorous assessment and vulnerability scanning processes help minimize the risk of data breaches, protecting sensitive information and maintaining customer trust.
  • Improved Compliance: CE+ demonstrates an organization’s commitment to cybersecurity best practices, enhancing its compliance with industry regulations such as GDPR and PCI DSS.
  • Increased Customer Confidence: Achieving CE+ certification provides a visible assurance to customers and business partners that an organization takes cybersecurity seriously, fostering trust and confidence.
  • Reduced Insurance Premiums: CE+ certification can often lead to reduced insurance premiums, as insurers recognize the value of a robust security posture.
  • Enhanced Reputation: Organizations that obtain CE+ certification demonstrate a commitment to cybersecurity, enhancing their reputation and brand image.

CE+ in Action:

The effectiveness of CE+ can be illustrated by the experiences of organizations that have successfully implemented the scheme. For example, a small manufacturing company faced several security vulnerabilities that put their data at risk. By adopting CE+ and working with an accredited certification body, they identified and addressed these vulnerabilities, strengthening their security posture and minimizing their risk of a data breach.

Beyond Compliance:

While CE+ provides valuable security benefits, it’s important to recognize that achieving certification alone is not a guarantee of complete security. Organizations must remain vigilant and continuously improve their cybersecurity practices.

  • Ongoing Monitoring: Organizations should not consider CE+ a one-time event. They must actively monitor their systems, software, and configurations to identify and address any emerging vulnerabilities.
  • Employee Training: CE+ focuses on technical security, but human error remains a significant vulnerability. Comprehensive employee training programs are essential to educate employees about cybersecurity best practices, phishing prevention, and password hygiene.
  • Cybersecurity Culture: Cultivating a strong cybersecurity culture within the organization is paramount. This involves fostering a sense of responsibility among all employees, encouraging reporting of suspicious activities, and promoting ongoing training and education.


CE+ offers organizations a robust and comprehensive approach to bolstering their cybersecurity posture. By going beyond the basic controls of Cyber Essentials, CE+ provides organizations with a deeper understanding of their security vulnerabilities and equips them with the tools and guidance to mitigate them. While certification alone is not a guarantee of absolute security, CE+ is a crucial step towards creating a more resilient and secure digital environment. As organizations increasingly rely on technology, CE+ serves as a valuable tool for safeguarding their digital assets and ensuring their ongoing security in a constantly evolving cyber landscape.