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The Importance of Cybersecurity Standards and Certifications for SMBs

With cyber attacks making the news every day, cybersecurity is on the top of business managers’ minds. However, adopting the right security options and knowing the best you need to do to mitigate the risk to your business is a major problem for those within these organizations. It is even more difficult for smaller-to-medium-sized companies (SMB) which typically not have the resources and budgets required to implement the most reliable and advanced cybersecurity tools available.

U.S. and UK authorities are well-aware of the cybersecurity issues facing every business of the present and the way contrary to popular opinion they affect businesses that span all sizes and industries. Smaller businesses are not insignificant for cyber criminals and often are targeted for attack, even if only to gain access into the supply chain to gain access to larger companies.

These cyberattacks can be catastrophic for SMBs and studies have shown the majority of smaller companies fail within six months after successful cyber breaches. That means that SMBs should begin making cybersecurity a top priority and conducting the proper type of risk analysis to make sure they’re making the best investment in cost-effective options that will benefit their business.

What are Cybersecurity Standards?

The cyber industry is packed with numerous requirements and certifications for cybersecurity businesses need to attain in terms of cyber security and cybersecurity. These standards are created to provide businesses with a range of tools, controls and procedures that they could use to reach the desired degree of security.

In stating that they comply with the security standards they have chosen business can establish more credibility when dealing with insurance companies, stakeholders prospective clients, and even potential partners. This is only one of the many advantages that come with having met the standards.

There are many standards and frameworks to pick from, with some that are more appropriate to corporate-level use, while others are an excellent base for SMBs who are just starting their journey into cybersecurity.

GDPR defines the European Union’s security of personal data. Since the year 2018, it’s been obligatory for all European enterprises that process or manage data. There isn’t any obligatory certification required for GDPR, but it is a fact that compliance is possible.

Companies can prove their compliance with GDPR by recording the entire process of processing data and implementing measures to protect data like policies or training, as well as audits and training and, if it is feasible, appointing a Data Protection Officer (DPO). It is the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will be looking into these. If a GDPR violation is suspected , and if there’s a failure to adhere businesses could be subject to heavy penalties of up to 4 percent of their annual turnover.

It is important to note that, following the Brexit vote that the UK cannot be governed in the domestic context by GDPR. Instead the UK has its own GDPR known as the UK-GDPR that is a part of an updated Data Protection Act 2018.

Cyber Essentials

The government of the United Kingdom’s Cyber Essentials scheme was developed in 2014 in order to offer small- and medium-sized enterprises an easy and cost-effective method to achieve a high standard of security. It consists of five crucial technological controls, Cyber Essentials can help businesses defend against the 80percent of the most common cyber-attacks.

The two certification levels are basic, which permits an organization to take an online self-assessment in order to examine and verify their compliance. There is also a Plus, which entails an experienced assessor performing an audit of your systems in order to confirm their alignment with the standard’s control requirements.

ISO 27000 Series

ISO standards are internationally recognized. ISO (International Organisation to Standardization) standardization is globally recognizedand cover a wide range of cybersecurity methods as well as best practice. The most sought-after and sought-after standard for firms, ISO 27001, lists the requirements for a comprehensive Information Security Management System.

The development of a well-established Information Security Management System helps companies across all sectors limit privacy and information security threats by implementing efficient risk management procedures and policies. This certification can help companies demonstrate their that they are in compliance with the data protection laws such as the UK-GDPR and DPA2018.


The Cybersecurity Framework developed by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides direction to all businesses, helping to attain a higher security and resilience. The framework of NIST is easily classified into five main branches that are Identify, Protect Respond, Detect, and Recover. By aligning the policies and procedures in these roles, organizations are able to demonstrate their expertise in identifying and dealing with cyber-related threats.


Certain standards are specifically targeted at specific industries. For instance for instance, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is the norm for security of data within healthcare institutions specifically within the USA.

In 1996, as a United States legislation, HIPAA demands all companies in the field to adhere to the security and physical guidelines laid out by the standard, and failure to comply result in fines that could be extremely costly for the organizations. According to HIPAA enforcers, in the year 2019 the financial penalty average exceeded $1.2m.

What is the significance of these Standards Important?

There are clear benefits for companies that adhere to these requirements. To do it requires proactively implementing the required measures, processes and policies to ensure an enhanced security posture. This reduces the likelihood of a company being breached and, if it happens it will ensure that the company is fully equipped with incident responses and business continuity plans that minimize the damage.

Standards and certifications can also be means of communicating directly with stakeholders, clients as well as suppliers, partners and all other organizations you have a relationship with or are planning to collaborate with, that your company is taking cybersecurity and data security extremely seriously and has taken the necessary measures to prove this. Businesses that have achieved certification or conform to these frameworks have seen an increase in opportunities for business or certain contracts that require these standards be fulfilled. It is also helpful to apply for insurance against cyberattacks since it shows evidence of cybersecurity initiatives, and could result in a reduction in insurance costs.

Conforming to formal security standards is an excellent method for companies to organize their cybersecurity strategy and frequently get recognition for their efforts through an accreditation. For SMB who are more stretched with respect to budgets and resources, meeting these standards can be a reasonable option to improve security without the need to invest in high-end security products and services.

The use of standards to build the foundations for your company’s cybersecurity plan will allow you to be aware of what your business requirements are and use the most appropriate solutions to defend against the risks you have identified. This not only saves money by reducing the need to purchase of unnecessary or ineffective solutions and products, it also gives you an understanding of the framework you can base future security decisions on and also ensures that any investment will result in the desired results.