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Reflecting on the Cyber Advisor Scheme – One Year On

Article by Mike Robinson, Managing Director, and Head of Security at CyberCrowd

The Cyber Advisor Scheme: A Year of Remarkable Growth
Since its launch in April 2023, the Cyber Advisor scheme has seen remarkable growth and success. In just one year, we’ve witnessed the program flourish, with 90 Assured Service Providers and 94 Cyber Advisors spread across all regions of the UK. This initiative, spearheaded by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and delivered by The IASME Consortium, has filled a critical gap in the market, providing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with access to qualified and assured cyber security expertise.

As one of the first NCSC-assured Cyber Advisors in the UK, I can personally attest to the rigorous standards upheld by the scheme. Achieving this status was no small feat; the Cyber Advisor exam was notably challenging, ensuring that only highly skilled consultants were certified. This level of scrutiny is essential because SMEs deserve advisors who are both knowledgeable and capable of delivering practical, effective security solutions.

Over the past year, the feedback from customers has been overwhelmingly positive. According to the IASME Consortium, 100% of customers who filled out a satisfaction survey rated the overall service received by their Cyber Advisor as excellent or good. Furthermore, 98% rated their advisor’s courtesy and professionalism as excellent, and 100% felt their advisor fully understood their business requirements. These statistics highlight the scheme’s success in meeting the needs of SMEs across the country.

Empowering Small Businesses: The Role of Cyber Advisors

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a Cyber Advisor is the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the security posture of smaller organisations. I love sharing my technical knowledge and providing hands-on support to help these businesses implement basic cyber security measures. For example, assisting a small business in achieving Cyber Essentials certification not only enhances their security but also boosts their credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of customers and partners.

The importance of this work cannot be overstated. Before the creation of the Cyber Advisor scheme, there was no officially backed government stamp approving organisations or individuals to provide qualified cyber advice to small businesses. This lack of assurance often left SMEs vulnerable, relying on potentially unqualified advisors. Now, with the Cyber Advisor (Cyber Essentials) scheme, SMEs have a trusted resource to turn to for expert guidance and support.

Driving Resilience and Excellence: CyberCrowd’s Contribution

At CyberCrowd, we’ve delivered over 100 Cyber Essentials certifications in the last 12 months, demonstrating our commitment to helping businesses strengthen their cyber defences. Additionally, as an Assured Provider of Incident Exercising, we’ve conducted over 30 table-top incident response exercises, preparing organisations to handle potential cyber incidents effectively. Our efforts were further recognised when we were awarded the NCSC Assured Service Provider of Incident Response Level 2, underscoring our dedication to excellence in cyber security.

Conclusion
The benefits of the Cyber Advisor scheme extend beyond individual businesses to the broader community. By elevating the cyber security standards of SMEs, we contribute to a more resilient and secure digital economy. The success stories we’ve witnessed, from struggling businesses transforming their security practices to gaining Cyber Essentials certification, are testaments to the scheme’s impact.

In summary, the first year of the Cyber Advisor scheme has been a resounding success, benefiting both CyberCrowd and our clients. As an Assured Services Provider, we are proud to be part of this transformative initiative, helping to safeguard SMEs and ensure they receive the expert advice they need to thrive in today’s digital landscape. The journey has just begun, and I am excited to see the continued growth and positive impact of the Cyber Advisor scheme in the years to come.

How can we help?
CyberCrowd is ready to support your organisation’s cybersecurity needs with our tailored and comprehensive services. Our team is dedicated to understanding your unique business requirements and budget to provide the best solutions possible. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to start the conversation.