The Government will require all of its contractors that handle sensitive data to hold a Cyber Essentials certificate to prove that they are secure.
The announcement was made by Matt Hancock, the minister for digital and culture, speaking at the Institute of Directors, added that a number of the country’s biggest firms have also agreed to encourage their suppliers to adopt Cyber Essentials. These include Barclays, BT, Vodafone, Astra Zeneca and Airbus.
“On Cyber Essentials, we’ll be launching a new push later this week to encourage all UK businesses to adopt the scheme,” Hancock said. “Numbers are really starting to grow. Already, we’ve awarded more than 6,000 certificates to date, with the numbers more than tripling in the past year. We’ll be publishing the figures on take-up each month from now on.
“I mentioned the Government already requires many of its suppliers to hold a Cyber Essentials certificate. We’ll be strengthening this requirement to ensure even more of our contractors take up the scheme.
“It’s simple, low cost and specifically designed for SMEs. All firms which rely on the internet should have Cyber Essentials – as a minimum.”
Hancock went on to reinforce the point that government is getting serious about cyber security: “My message today is clear: if you’re not concentrating on cyber, you are courting chaos and catering to criminals.”
He also highlighted the 10 Steps to Cyber Security guidance, saying it is something with which board members should familiarise themselves.
To complement these new measures, the government has published updated Cyber Essentials requirements, to make the scheme easier to use.
It will also be starting a marketing campaign on Friday to raise awareness and drive adoption of the scheme.
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