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Is 2020 the year to get your firm Cyber Essentials certified?

15 June 2020
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With the world turning to remote working and using the virtual space for video meetings, the use of platforms such as Zoom, Skype and House Party has never been so high. But with stories of meeting bombing and the use of offensive content by hackers, it’s little wonder that Zoom is now reported to be bringing in more rigorous security measures to ensure its users are protected. This highlights once again the importance of cyber security for all organisations, large and small, across the globe. It has never been so important to put measures in place to minimise the threat and consequences of a cyber attack.

Cyber Essentials, which is a cyber security framework that has been created by the Government backed National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), is designed to do precisely that – help to protect your business against hackers and allow you to demonstrate that by adhering to five basic security controls, you have done all you can to mitigate the risks involved. It is widely promoted that any organisation with IT equipment should certify because it means they are ensuring they have a base level of IT security in place. Once certified, you will also be able to display their logo badge on your website to show that you take cyber security seriously and are putting measures in place to keep your clients and their data safe.

Cyber Essentials has gone through a significant change this year. Until recently, there were five certifying bodies that had the authority to grant Cyber Essential certification. As of 1st April 2020, the IASME Consortium (IASME) is now the only Cyber Essentials accreditation partner and will handle all applications for the next five years.

Completed by self-assessment questionnaire, it is a valid certification for all companies looking to improve their security measures, and a good starting place for cyber security. Whilst there has been criticism of the Cyber Essentials certification as a box ticking exercise, if your firm ensures compliance with the requirements you will be able to sleep at night knowing you are better prepared for the fight against Cyber Crime. Additionally, it will now also be necessary to recertify every year so if an organisation was certified as compliant over one year ago, they are essentially not certified anymore and will have to reapply this year because the validity of the certificate goes down over time as change may have been introduced to your systems.

There are two Cyber Essentials levels available, according to the needs of your business. They are effectively both the same with a self assessment questionnaire requiring completion for both and an additional assessment for the Plus scheme.

Standard Cyber Essentials

Standard CE is designed to be easily accessible and has simple to follow guidelines. It aims to provide protection against most eventualities associated with cyber attacks and is recommended for all companies looking to protect the integrity of the data that they handle.

Cyber Essentials Plus

CE Plus is a higher grade level where an external vulnerability scan is conducted and a consultant is sent onto the premises to carry out a technical audit and validate the machines. Of course, if there are greater risks in your organisation, you may need to go even further and put more security measures in place which will incur further cost.

Whichever level you choose, in order to become CE certified, you will need to ensure that you take measures to satisfy the five basic security controls:

  • Install a firewall to secure the internet connection at your office or premises
  • Configure secure settings on all of your machines and devices
  • Have strong measures in place for access control within your organisation
  • Install robust antivirus software on all machines and systems
  • Ensure software patches are regularly installed and up to date 

Once certified, the NCSC says that CE will protect against 80% of cyber attacks. Hackers are not specifically targeting businesses and don’t care if you’re a one man band or a large corporate. They are mostly automated bots searching for weaknesses and vulnerabilities and ways to access sensitive information. 

Security protocols for accountancy and legal firms will need to be especially robust and include CE certification due to the large amount of sensitive information handled on a daily basis which they can’t afford to be vulnerable and accessible to all. Additionally, any company tendering for government supplier status will need to be CE compliant as standard.

At Lumina Technologies, we encourage all businesses to undertake the Cyber Essentials assessment. Please contact us for more information on how to choose the correct level of certification for your company.

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Lumina Technologies have taken the time to understand the requirements of our business and work as our strategic IT partner, enabling us to concentrate on delivering a high quality service to our clients and focus on our growth strategy. They have delivered a 100% cloud solution to our business with no underlying infrastructure costs or maintenance, which gives us scalability for our planned growth. It also means our business critical applications and data are securely accessible from virtually all our user devices. Lumina’s professional approach and strategic expertise is highly valued and their management of our IT – based on their in-depth knowledge, leaves us confident that our systems are available 24×7.

Luke Harrison, Keidan Harrison LLP

Lumina have supported us so well through the difficult circumstances of 2020.  They worked extremely hard to ensure we were able to work remotely and continue to operate our business successfully.The support team are very friendly and knowledgeable, and have excellent response times.

The team have also enhanced our cyber security which is so important in the legal sector, and they continue to provide high quality advice to help us move forward with our IT goals.

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Martin David
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Richard and his team are a real inspiration to anyone who meets them and I have watched Lumina’s growth over the last few years with interest and admiration. Richard has been an amazing supporter of the Hospice of St Francis, being a Gold member of the Corporate Partner Network for almost two years. He takes an active interest in the community and is passionate about his company and his town: nothing is too much trouble, he is always willing to help, to give up his time and to provide business advice when asked. Lumina is an inspiration to any company wanting to set up business in Hertfordshire.

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Lumina Technologies Prism Hosted Desktop has allowed our business to centralise our global corporate data, allowing much faster access for all our staff – regardless of their location. We have also been able to simplify and reduce our infrastructure and management overhead. With the new Prism Hosted Desktop solution all staff now have simple and secure access to corporate data using any device they choose. Prism Hosted Desktop has increased the productivity of our staff and given us a single, consistent and familiar experience for all users from any device, in any location, 24/7.

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It has been a great pleasure working with Lumina Technologies over the past two years. They have fully committed to being involved in the local community with volunteering and with professional advice and commitment, helping many local charities along the way. As a growing company it proves that being involved in the local community is helping them attract and retain a talented workforce and I look forward to working with them well into the future.

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Charles Douglas Solicitors LLP have been using Lumina Technologies for a number of years now and continue to be impressed by the technical know-how and contemporary knowledge of their senior management, who provide a timely, efficient and friendly service. Whether it is a small issue with one computer, or a strategic IT decision, they maintain a current knowledge of available technologies. Lumina are always at the other end of the phone to help resolve issues and minimise business interference. The technical knowledge of Richard and his senior team means that there has not been a problem that they can’t solve to date. I am sure we will continue to use them in the years to come.

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The team at Lumina Technologies have made the Amoun Travel & Tours office IT transition seamless and problem free. The office set-up has been vastly improved and the IT Support services are flawless. No issue goes unresolved, which is extremely reassuring.

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Amoun Travel & Tours Ltd

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Richard and his team at Lumina have provided Perrett Laver Limited with high quality strategic and practical IT Services for over ten years. During this period, Perrett Laver has grown from 10+ colleagues based in London to nearly 100 colleagues located in six offices across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. Richard and the Lumina team have not just been responsive to our ‘everyday’ IT needs, but have proactively sought to work with us on developing an infrastructure suitable for the type of operation we are today, and are planning to be months and years down the line. I would not hesitate to recommend Richard, especially for small to medium size business with growth in mind.

Clementine McKinley
COO, Perrett Laver Limited

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Society Limited has been supported by Lumina Technologies since our earliest start-up phase. From large logistical challenges like an office move, through to smaller fiddly issues like fixing a faulty e-template, we know we can count on their support and advice. They’ve also been able to engage with us strategically on the challenge of scaling-up our infrastructure as the firm continues to grow and evolve. We always feel confident going to Lumina with a problem, since we know they genuinely care about sorting things out and helping us to get on with our core business.

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The Vita Group HQ staff have worked with Richard McBarnet and Lumina Technologies for over 9 years, with Lumina providing all our PC, server, phone, and software support. The services have included C-level executives based in London, Manchester, the US, as well as supporting home office IT as well. The service provided and intellectual capabilities are outstanding and we would highly recommend Richard and his Lumina team.

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We worked with Lumina on a GDPR Audit. Richard was knowledgeable and professional throughout, and did the best he could to bring a dry topic to life through lots of real life examples and analogies. We were so impressed with the service Lumina provided and the value we got from partnering with them on this project – we couldn’t recommend them enough.

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