Thursday, September 19, 2019

IT firm secures national certification body status to support organisations combat cyber crime

Neil Christie, managing director, Converged Communication Solutions
Neil Christie, managing director, Converged Communication Solutions

As cyber security becomes an increasingly important issue facing organisations, a leading north-east IT company has become one of a handful of Scottish companies to be certified to help organisations guard against cyber threats as part of a UK government-backed scheme.

Converged Communication Solutions is the first IT firm with offices in Aberdeen and Inverness to gain Certification Body status under the UK-wide Cyber Essentials programme.  Operated by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ, Cyber Essentials is designed to protect organisations from a range of common online threats and illustrate their commitment to cyber security.

Achieving Certification Body status demonstrates that Converged, which provides Internet connectivity, telephony and IT support services across Scotland, has met a demanding level of IT competency as set out by the NCSC.  As a Certification Body, Converged evaluates organisations’ IT systems, equipment, software and information compliance processes against a set criteria to determine whether the organisation meets or exceeds the required principles as laid out across five key areas.

The areas – boundary firewalls and Internet gateways, secure configuration, access control, malware and patching – are considered to be the most important in helping to strengthen the digital resilience of UK-based organisations.  Converged can support organisations by identifying cyber security risks, before resolving them and putting in place steps to implement further improvements.

Businesses, charities and organisations that gain Cyber Essentials certification demonstrate that they have good digital security practices, operate secure IT systems and have resilience against a growing number of online threats.

This can offer reassurance to clients, supporters and supply chain partners – particularly if an organisation manages online transactions or holds large amounts of sensitive data.  Cyber Essentials certification can also provide organisations with a competitive advantage, as in order to bid for some government contracts organisations must hold the accreditation.

Converged, a trusted partner of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, is also a certifying assessor for the IASME (Informational Assurance for SMEs) Governance Standard.  This standard allows organisations to comply with data protection legislation such as GDPR.

As the economy continues to digitise and cloud computing use grows, cyber threats remain a major concern for businesses.  The Allianz Business Barometer 2019, which was released in January, revealed that cyber incidents were viewed for the first time as being the biggest global risk facing businesses today.  Cyber incidents held equal importance, 37%, to business interruption scenarios, such as property damage and product recalls, in a poll of 2,145 business experts in 86 countries, which included CEOs, risk managers and brokers.

Neil Christie, managing director of Converged, said: “Ensuring an organisation has good cyber security is more important than ever, particularly as cyber threats continue to evolve and become more sophisticated.  Everybody can be impacted by cyber security breaches and there are steps we can all take as individuals and as a community to protect ourselves.

“As a business, Converged takes cyber security very seriously.  Becoming a Cyber Essentials Certification Body underlines that and we will continue to use our knowledge and experience to support organisations of all sizes and types to guard against digital threats to the highest possible level.

“Whether it is an oil and gas service company in Aberdeen, an Aberdeenshire-based charity, a Moray food producer or a hospitality business in the Highlands, each can be a target for cyber crime.  Cyber Essentials certification can ensure organisations are prepared, have limited the potential impacts by identifying weak points in systems and are effectively protecting the confidentiality and integrity of the data they hold.  Being prepared is crucial if we are to beat the cyber threat.”

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