How much does Cyber Essentials Certification Cost?

Payal Wadhwa

Payal Wadhwa

May 06, 2024

How much does cyber essential certification cost

As a digital business, if you are looking to start implementing baseline cyber security measures and embark on a compliance journey, Cyber Essentials is a good starting point. It can substantially bolster your protection against most attacks and is relatively simple to achieve. Thereafter, you can move towards frameworks like ISO 27001 and GDPR with a strong foundation and achieve those quicker.

According to the National Cyber Security Centre, over 28000 certificates have already been issued. If the certification is on your radar, this blow will help you understand the requirements of Cyber Essentials so you can plan and budget your certification exercise better. 

What is Cyber Essentials certification?

Cyber Essentials is a baseline security certification scheme that is backed by the UK government to ensure businesses have taken the foundational measures to protect against threats and attacks. Organizations need to complete a self-assessment questionnaire demonstrating essential controls, which are then verified by the certification body to issue the certification.

  • The Cyber Essentials Certification scheme is supported and overseen by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
  • The basic certification focuses on 5 basic pillars or technical controls that can minimize 80% of cyber risks. These are boundary firewalls and internet gateways, secure configurations, access controls, malware protection, and secure configurations.
  • Cyber Essentials Certification underwent an update in 2022 in response to new threats and emerging technologies. The updated version includes cloud services and covers multi-factor authentication, remote devices, and more.
  • IASME (Information Assurance for Small and Medium Enterprises) and other accredited certification bodies are allowed to issue the Cyber Essentials Certification.

Summary of Cyber Essentials Certification cost

The Cyber Essentials Certification was launched in 2014, and for 8 years, the costs were the same for every assessment, irrespective of the organization’s size. It was priced at £300 plus taxes. 

In 2022, when the changes were released, a tiered pricing structure was also introduced for the assessment. The new system kept the pricing the same for micro-organizations with less than 10 employees but enhanced the costs for bigger businesses because of the rising complexity.

The Cyber Essentials accreditation cost as per tiered pricing varies from £300 plus VAT to £600 plus VAT based on organization size. However, this is the cost of assessment and certification. The overall costs depend on several other factors, such as control implementation and consultation.

How much does Cyber Essentials certification cost for small and large businesses?

Cyber Essentials certification costs between £300-£600+ VAT as per the new tiered structure based on organization size. Here is the breakdown of costs:

  • Micro-organizations (0-9 employees): £300-£350+ VAT
  • Small businesses(10-49 employees): £400-£450+VAT
  • Medium businesses(50-249 employees): £450-£500+ VAT
  • Large enterprises(250+ employees): £550-£600+VAT

These costs are only for the application and certification process. If you need additional guidance and support, such as pre-assessments or testing, it will cost you a ballpark estimate of £200. The amount can vary based on the organization’s size and other factors.

What are the factors influencing Cyber Essentials certification cost?

A lot of work goes on before and after the certification, which impacts the organization’s overall spending when obtaining the accreditation.

Some factors that influence the cost are:

Business size

With tiered pricing, organization size is the primary factor directly impacting the cost of Cyber Essentials Certification. However, increased size also means greater complexity and higher training costs, further increasing overall expenses.

Hardware and software requirements

The CE certification requires the implementation of basic security controls such as firewalls and access controls. The costs can be impacted by the organization’s current technological infrastructure and security maturity. Any new hardware and software requirements will add to the costs. These costs can range anywhere from £500-£5000+

External support fee

Businesses, especially small ones seek help for such certifications because of a lack of expertise and internal resources. Next, large organizations that look forward to getting the PLUS certification after the basic one, get internal scans and external vulnerability assessments done before the technical audit for better preparation. This external support can come from consultants and security tools and costs extra.

The guidance fee for Cyber Essentials certification generally starts from £200.

According to government research and analysis published in 2023, the mean costs of getting the certification, including consultancy, hardware and software changes, policy updates, etc. were £4941.

Training and awareness

Most organizations invest in training and cybersecurity awareness programs to properly implement and maintain measures. Training costs are usually charged per employee (£1-£3), and the costs can increase based on the company size.

Renewal costs

Cyber Essentials certification is valid for a period of one year, and you need to renew it. The renewal costs must also be factored in when calculating the costs of getting certified. Additionally, there will be an indirect cost attached to it: the cost of ongoing monitoring of cyber security controls and policy updates to stay compliant.

Costs of not having Cyber Essentials certification

A single breach can cause the business to shut down because the impacts can have massive repercussions. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Costs of data breaches

The average cost of data breaches in the UK is £3.2 million. The CE certification requires you to implement robust cybersecurity measures, failing which your organization is prone to security risks and cyber-attacks. The costs of mitigating the damage can also be humongous.

Operational disruption costs

A cyber threat or attack can lead to operational disruptions and downtime and this is another cost of not having the Cyber Essentials certification. According to the Dell Technologies Report 2023, cyber incidents led to 26 hours of planned downtime per organization.

Reputational damage

Cyber Essentials certification reflects a proactive approach towards cybersecurity and enhances customer confidence. The basic and Cyber Essentials Plus certifications are specifically required for government contracts and public-facing companies. Not having accreditation can cost you reputational damage and loss of business opportunities.

Regulatory fines

If you are in a highly regulated industry and fail on cybersecurity measures, especially the basic ones mentioned in Cyber Essentials, there can be violation fines and regulatory penalties. It can also lead to lawsuits and costs of enhanced scrutiny.

Get compliant faster with automation

Enhanced insurance premiums

Organizations that do not have the Cyber Essentials certification pay higher premiums than those with the certification. You can lose out on the benefit of £25000 indemnity coverage for the organization, which is the cost of not having the CE certification.

Sprinto enables your Cyber Essentials journey

The Cyber Essentials certification, like any compliance framework, helps you strengthen your cyber defenses and unlock better public perception and deals. As more and more founders and CISOs worldwide see it as a business imperative rather than a tool for prevention, they have started turning to tools that make their lives easier to get these certifications fast. 

Sprinto is one such tool. As a compliance automation tool, it streamlines the workflows and helps you build a solid pipeline of controls. Bring any custom framework to the platform and manage it seamlessly. Sprinto also helps with the mapping of common controls making it easier to prepare for multiple frameworks such as ISO 27001 after Cyber Essentials.

Sprinto has in-built policy templates, training modules, automated evidence collection, and compliance dashboards, making it easier to gain and maintain compliance certifications in record time. See Sprinto in action. Speak to our compliance experts


What is the Cyber Essentials Self-Assessment Questionnaire?

The Cyber Essentials Self-Assessment Questionnaire is a tool to evaluate an organization’s commitment to cyber security and its fulfillment of Cyber Essentials requirements.

How are Cyber Essentials assessments verified?

Once the organization completes the assessment, a senior executive or board member signs a declaration to confirm that the answers are the best to their knowledge. These answers are then evaluated by a qualified assessor from the certification body and the certificate is issued if you pass.

How much time does it take to get certified?

The preparation for the assessment can take from a few days to a few weeks. Once you submit the SAQ, it takes only 1-3 days to get certified.

Payal Wadhwa

Payal Wadhwa

Payal is your friendly neighborhood compliance whiz! She turns perplexing compliance lingo into actionable advice about keeping your digital business safe and savvy. When she isn’t saving virtual worlds, she’s penning down poetic musings or lighting up local open mics. Cyber savvy by day, poet by night!

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