What is Cyber Essentials?

The Cyber Essentials scheme is a government-introduced cyber security accreditation that enables organisations to showcase their credentials as a trustworthy and secure organisation when it comes to cyber security. Cyber Essentials is the minimum certification an organisation needs to implement in order to bid for new MOD defence contracts which include the transfer of ‘MOD identifiable information’.

The MOD has had this made this requirement mandatory since January 2016 for suppliers looking to do business in the defence sector.

As the risk level goes up, some additional controls are required that can be evaluated through Cyber Essentials Plus vulnerability tests.

A full overview of Cyber Essentials is available for free in the scheme summary document.

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What are the benefits of having Cyber Essentials?


  • Win more contracts with the MOD*
  • Demonstrates control of your business network security
  • Helps prevent against 80% of common cyber attacks
  • Protects your business from data theft
  • Helps drive business efficiency and cost saving

*Cyber Essentials is mandated by the MOD in order to bid for MOD tenders. Without this certification, suppliers are less likely to win defence procurement opportunities through the MOD.

Whats the difference between Cyber Essentials & Cyber Essentials Plus?

The complete Cyber Essentials scheme is made up of two progressive stages – Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus.

Cyber Essentials is the first stage and is a foundation level certification that provides a clear statement of the basic controls your organisation should have in place to mitigate the risk from common cyber threats.

Cyber Essentials plus is the second stage, and is a more rigorous test of your organisation’s cyber security systems where our cyber security experts carry out on-site vulnerability tests to ensure that your organisation is protected against basic hacking and phishing attacks.

The difference between the two is the on-site vulnerability tests that are carried out for Cyber Essentials Plus certification. All organisations seeking certification must complete the first stage (Cyber Essentials), but some organisations, depending on their structure and the severity of the risks they face, will need to complete Cyber Essentials Plus.

Cyber Essentials Plus is commonly seen as the demonstration of an organisation’s IT maturity. We would recommend Cyber Essentials Plus if your organisation has over 250 members of staff, each with one or more connected devices.

How do I get Cyber Essentials?


Obtaining Cyber Essentials certification through DCI is very straightforward. It takes just three simple steps:

  • Purchase your chosen level of certification – Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus
  • Complete your Cyber Essentials questionnaire in full and upload for review by ID Cyber Solutions.
  • Once your self-certified questionnaire submission is approved, the awarding body, QG Business Solutions Ltd Business Solutions Ltd, will post out your certificate

When you receive your Cyber Essentials certificate you will also receive the relevant Cyber Essentials branding to use on collateral such as tender bids for one of the many defence contracts available through DCI.

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How long does it take to obtain Cyber Essentials certification?

The process to become Cyber Essentials certified is straightforward and only takes a few days to complete.

After ordering Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus, you will receive login details for the members’ area of the site where you will find the self-assessment form. Filling out this form is relatively straightforward and will only take a couple of hours to complete. You are also supported throughout the process, either via the help buttons on the questionnaire or via the contact form.

Once the self-assessment form has been completed, you submit it electronically through the members’ area and will receive confirmation of receipt. After submission, it will take our team a few days to assess your answers. Once we have reviewed your application, you will be contacted by a member of our team to discuss the next steps in the process.

If you require Cyber Essentials urgently, you can opt for our Fast Track service for only £600 ex VAT. With Fast Track, our team will get you through certification within 24hours, ensuring you can be fully certified before submitting a bid for a defence tender.