Let’s face it, the Cyber Essentials scheme needs a bit of work if it’s going to keep up with changing business practices. Built for traditional infrastructure with on-site employees, self-managed software and identifiable assets, Cyber Essentials can be relatively effective for SMEs with a well-defined perimeter. However, when you bring cloud computing, remote working and use of Bring Your Our Device schemes into the equation, it doesn’t meet the mark.

More flexible working practices, and therefore the digitally resilient technology to support it, is essential for growth in the UK economy. As a report by UK MP Maria Miller highlights, a lack of flexible working opportunities is one of the main roadblocks to creating an inclusive culture and working environment. Flexible working can also be critical for those with extra responsibilities outside work, as well as making it easier to be productive whilst travelling on business.

In addition to this, more than 80 per cent of workers in the UK would actively choose a job with flexible working over one without and 73 percent of workers believe that it’s the ‘new normal’ (IWG’s Global Workplace Survey). There’s no doubt that the incentives for businesses to adopt these more attractive working practices is growing, and so Cyber Essentials needs to be better equipped to help businesses deliver them, without compromising resilience against the evolving cyber threat.

The good news is that we’re working on it. The NCSC and academia are aware of the limitations of Cyber Essentials and are working with industry and the University of Southampton to enhance the scheme and make it more fit for purpose in the modern economy.

Head to the Spotlight Stage at CyberUK for 1pm on Thursday 25th April to hear me talk more about our research and how you can help out as part of the process.