Cyber Essentials now required for ESFA funding

The ESFA just announced that any organisation that receives funding from them is going to need to meet Cyber Essentials requirements if they want their application to be successful.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency is likely to be just the first of many organisations making announcements like this.

This is important news for tech start-ups in particular:

As one of the types of organisations that benefits the most from funding opportunities like this, being able to put your best foot forward in the application process is vital.

In future, this is going to mean being Cyber Essentials certified.

What is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials is a UK government-backed scheme that is designed to make sure that your organisation is protected against the overwhelming majority of cyber threats.

Of course, there is a huge range of threats out there. But most of them are fairly unsophisticated. Unfortunately, unsophisticated works just fine if – to borrow an analogy from the Cyber Essentials website – you haven’t even bothered to lock your front door.

That’s what the Cyber Essentials scheme is designed to do. A successful assessment gives you, your partners and clients peace of mind that you have got all of your cyber security bases covered.

Beyond Cyber Essentials, there is also Cyber Essentials Plus. This requires a hands-on inspection from a Cyber Essentials accreditor.

What does Cyber Essentials certification mean for my business?

Once you are Cyber Essentials certified, you can:

  • Advertise your cyber security credentials to clients and partners
  • Use those credentials to find new clients and work with larger organisations
  • Bid for the many government contracts that require Cyber Essentials certification
  • Rest easy knowing you’ve taken the necessary cyber security precautions

Dial A Geek already works with green tech start-ups like Lettus Grow, Matter (Inheriting Earth) and nearly a thousand other businesses in and around Bristol, so we know what this certification can do for all types of businesses in general – and start-ups in particular.

What do the ESFA (and other funding sources) now require?

After reviewing their data security requirements, the ESFA concluded that more “robust” cyber security controls were necessary in the modern world. They decided that:

  • From the 2020-2021 funding year onwards, applicants must meet the requirements for Cyber Essentials.
  • From 2021-2022, it’s expected that organisations will work towards Cyber Essentials Plus.

As the ESFA controls funding for all of the education and skills once administered by the Skills Funding Agency and the Education Funding Agency, that’s a whole lot of potential funding opportunities you’re missing out on if you don’t have the right certification in place.

Cyber Essentials and the future of funding

Again, this is likely to be a requirement that’s more and more common moving forwards. Cyber threats are on the rise and the number of businesses – even start-ups that are otherwise very tech-savvy – who fail to take them seriously is still worryingly high.

With any government contract that requires handling data and many major organisations demanding it from prospective partners, Cyber Essentials certification is going to be a must-have for start-ups and companies of all sizes in future.

Need to boost your business’s cyber security to apply for funding or contracts?

Dial A Geek works with over nine hundred companies in Bristol and beyond to help them get what they need from their IT.

Set up a commitment-free chat with Chief Geek Gildas Jones today to discuss what your business needs to secure its future. Click here to open Gildas’s booking calendar.