Cyber Essentials : Building confidence through security

“We’re happy to say that our efforts to become Cyber Essentials accredited have been successful showing that the design and implementation of our service to date and the procedures and processes we operate meet the security standards required.” Chris Johnson, IT Development Manager, May 2017

Today (May 17th 2017) Welfare Call has received the results of the security assessment carried out by CREST Accredited IT security company NCC Group. The tests were carried out last week along with an assessment of our working practices and procedures. As a result Welfare Call Ltd has been awarded Cyber Essentials accreditation.

This means that we meet (or exceed) the security measures that are required for suppliers of Government contracts that involve handling personal information.

What has been really pleasing for our Internal IT teams and reassuring for clients and the company as a whole is that the security practices Welfare Call was already using and the security processes we had in place already met these guidelines.

What is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials is a government-backed certification scheme that sets out a good baseline of cyber security.
The assessment covers :

server configuration
boundary firewall and internet gateways
access control and privilege management
malware protection
updates and patch management
Having Cyber Essentials builds on the confidence given by the results of our existing penetration tests and adds a standard to measure these results against, demonstrating our approach to security. This can be used as a benchmark when comparing our services.

Why have Cyber Essentials?

Having a Cyber Essentials badge shows

We have the correct security, policies and procedures in place to protect our organisation and your data against common cyber threats
That we take security seriously
That we are able to bid for government contracts*
*Since October 2014 Cyber Essentials has been mandatory for suppliers of Government contracts which involve handling personal information and providing some ICT products and services. Holding a Cyber Essentials badge enables you to bid for these contracts. Find out more here.

“Cyber Essentials helps prevent the vast majority of cyber attacks. Even a simple virus or piece of malware could result in loss of company and client data, disrupt your cashflow and take up staff time. An attack could also put off your customers, stop you trading and damage your hard-earned reputation. It could also be reported in the local media. Loss of data could breach the Data Protection Act and lead to fines or prosecution.” Source : https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk/cyberessentials/

Although we started this process some months ago recent events in the news (May 2017 Cyber Attack on organisations including the NHS) showed the value of having established and robust procedures in place to prevent disruption caused by malware. A combination of using up to date software, having the latest security updates installed and having malware protection in place goes a long way to minimising the risk of this sort of disruption and preventing data loss. Welfare Call has built a strong and skilled team to make sure we can deliver a secure service.

The people fulfilling the role of Data Controller for our clients are under pressure to ensure that their data is as secure as possible. Choosing Welfare Call Ltd as the Data Processor in the partnership to deliver ePEP and attendance related services is now that much easier with the knowledge that security benchmarks have been met.

A Cyber Essentials certificate provides independent assurance that Welfare Call Ltd have the protections correctly in place to handle the sensitive data that is the deliverable element of our services.

What next?

“We’re not ones to sit on our laurels. Security is something that is always on our mind and we have already been holding discussions on how we can improve security beyond that required by Cyber Essentials. Be reassured that we will continue to have security as the top priority in any development of existing services and any new services we deliver.” Stuart Henderson, Director

  • “The introduction of the electronic personal education plans (EPEPs) system is improving information-sharing, with an increased oversight from the virtual school, although the impact on improving the quality of PEPs is not yet evident. Inspectors found that the pupil premium grant was used well to support after-school activities, including access to a nurture group, extra mathematics and English tuition, and the provision mentors.”

    Haringey – Children’s Services Inspection October 2018 (commenced with ePEP April 2018)
  • “The strong emphasis on ensuring that PEPs are of good quality and completed in a timely way is contributing well to children’s progress.”

    Enfield Children’s Services Inspection March 2019
  • “Education is actively promoted for children in care and the virtual school is increasingly effective in ensuring that children make good progress and reach their potential. The quality and timeliness of personal education plans have improved significantly. Children benefit from regular reviews of their progress.”

    London Borough of Waltham Forest – Children’s Services Inspection – Jan 2019
  • “Personal education plans are timely, set clear targets and are written in the first person. They effectively capture the voice of the child.”

    Manchester Children’s Services Focused visit – 17/09/2018
  • “The majority of personal education placed include a clear picture of the child’s progress, emotional and well-being and behaviour.”

    London Borough of Tower Hamlets Ofsted Inspection (published 07/04/2017)
  • “The quality of personal education plans is much improved.”

    Darlington Borough Council Ofsted Inspection (published 21/05/2018)
  • “The large majority of children and young people have an up-to-date, good quality personal education plan.”

    London Borough of Lambeth Ofsted Inspection (published 09/05/2018)
  • “Personal education plans are good and are regularly reviewed. They provide a vivid picture of individual children’s progress, including their social and emotional well-being, academic abilities and attitude to learning. The plans show how the pupil premium is being used to improve progress. When children are not making expected levels of progress, LACE staff identify and agree support strategies with the school, foster parents and carers to promote improvement.”

    North Lincolnshire Council Ofsted Inspection (published 25/09/17)
  • “Education planning for children looked after has historically been poor. However, teachers and the local authority are now taking full ownership of a recently introduced electronic system, and the quality of personal education plans is improving.”

    Barnet Council Ofsted Inspection (published 07/07/2017)
  • “The large majority of personal education plans (PEPs) are now of good quality. Managers have successfully introduced e-PEPs for all children looked after up to the age of 16. Appropriate training is provided for social workers and designated teachers, which is improving the quality of plans and the impact of PEP meetings.”

    Bedford Borough Council Inspection (published 07/04/2017)