DfE launches Cyber Risk Pilot involving Cyber Essentials certification. Here’s what to expect.

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What is the Cyber Risk Pilot?

The Department for Education announced in January that it will be launching a free 1-year Cyber Risk Pilot, available only to Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) members. Invitations to register interest for the programme were sent to existing RPA members, encouraging schools that are willing to commit the time to complete the Cyber Essentials process and have an annual funding income of below £20m. Registration for consideration closed on 5th February 2021 and 500 schools will be notified if they are selected to take part.

The Department intends to use this pilot programme to ‘develop and establish a school-specific package of the Cyber Essentials accreditation and offers in return for involvement 1 year of free cyber risk cover to the value of £250,000, access to a 24-hour helpline, and support from technical experts should an incident occur, and the opportunity to achieve Cyber Essentials certification for the school.

There will be no cost to the schools taking part in the pilot, but those selected will be asked to provide updates and feedback. The Department plans to launch the programme on 15th March 2021.

Choosing a Cyber Essentials Certifying Body

The Cyber Essentials scheme is delivered by IASME Consortium as the sole accreditation body on behalf of the National Cyber Security Centre. IASME Consortium maintains a network of companies, called Certifying Bodies, that are licensed to certify organisations to Cyber Essentials. Having a network of Certifying Bodies creates distributed capacity within the scheme whilst allowing organisations the freedom to select a Certifying Body that they feel best fits them.

As stated by IASME Consortium on the Certification Bodies page of their website, many Certification Bodies have wide geographical coverage, so organisations should not feel constrained to choosing the one geographically closest to them.

Although all Certification Bodies must assess organisations to the Cyber Essentials standard, in the same way, their approach to supporting applicants with their assessments can be very different. For this reason, it is important to choose a provider carefully and similarly to procuring any other service, choosing a provider that is attuned to educational establishments can offer a much greater experience.

There are more than 250 Certification Body companies listed on IASME Consortium’s website. Juniper Education partnered with the team at Secure Schools, who work solely with educational establishments – they understand the unique challenges facing schools and trusts and have tailored their approach to fit seamlessly with existing school and trust governance.

Has your school been selected?

If your school has been selected for a place on the Cyber Risk Pilot and you would like to know more about how the education-led approach from Secure could maximise your school’s chances of successful certification, get in touch below.

Didn’t get selected or weren’t aware of this opportunity?

If your school hasn’t been selected as one of the 500 pilot schools, Cyber Essentials is still an effective way of mitigating cybersecurity risk. Certification starts from £300 and can include cyber risk cover to the value of £25,000. If you would like to know more about an alternative programme to the Cyber Risk Pilot, get in touch below.

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