Cyber Essentials vs IASME Governance – What is The Difference?

As a small business, it can be difficult to differentiate between different cyber security standards. This is especially true when different certification standards are packaged together — as is the case with IASME Governance and Cyber Essentials.

Here, we’ll help clarify the difference between IASME Governance and IASME Cyber Essentials. We’ll also look at what level of certification might be best for your business.


What is IASME Governance Certification?

IASME Governance is an Information Assurance standard that aims to be a low-cost, yet effective alternative to ISO 27001.



ISO 27001 itself is an International Organisation for Standardisation standard that outlines legal, technical, and physical controls necessary for business Information Security Management Systems.



The costs for small businesses to gain ISO 27001 can be very prohibitive. This is where the IASME Governance Standard comes into its own, it mirrors many of the key tenets of ISO 27001, however, the costs for IASME certification is much lower.

IASME Governance Basics

The IASME Governance Standard covers several key areas of contemporary data security.

IASME Governance was also recently updated to reflect new data protection regulations in the EU that fall under the banner of GDPR.

What is IASME Cyber Essentials?

IASME Governance and IASME Cyber Essentials might sound similar. However, Cyber Essentials outlines key controls for preventing cyber attacks on businesses arising from common cyber security threats. Cyber Essentials focuses heavily on Technical Controls and administrative policies.

IASME Cyber Essentials Basics

Cyber Essentials outlines best practices for preventing malware, viruses, and ransomware attacks.

To achieve Cyber Essentials Certification, businesses must be able to show that they use firewalls to secure their security perimeter.

Cyber Essentials outlines how businesses can stay secure using software patches and updates.

The Cyber Essentials scheme outlines how businesses can stay secure by properly configuring their IT system and network settings.

What is an IASME Governance Audit?

Both IASME Governance and IASME Cyber Essentials basic offer a basic level of certification through self-assessment. However, only an IASME Governance Audited certificate will let other businesses know that your organisation has comparable controls in place to those mandated by ISO 27001.


If your business is spread across several locations, our assessor may also visit several of these to ensure that you do satisfy all requirements for certification.

What are the Benefits of IASME Governance Certification?

Having IASME Governance Certification allows smaller UK businesses to demonstrate a high level of ISO 27001 comparable security awareness.

Overall, certification helps establish a higher degree of trust with other businesses, consumers, and potential supply chain partners. Added support for GDPR also helps your organisation stay complainant with the latest EU and UK data security standards.

During email threat assessments, our team at Defensity will test to see whether malicious files can penetrate your email defenses. To do this, we will send test files to different email accounts associated with your organisation.

How Can I Get IASME Governance Certification?

If you bid for government contracts or work with international suppliers and distributors, IASME Governance can help your business compete more effectively against others in your industry.

To gain IASME certification, reach out to our team at Defensity today. As soon as you do, we will talk you through the process and give you an estimate for fully audited certification.

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Most frequently asked questions and answers

Cyber Essentials can cost as little as £300 if you complete the assessement yourself. We offer consultancy hours to go with this.

IASME Governance includes Cyber Essentials and costs £400 +VAT. 

IASME Governance & Cyber Essentials Certification is valid for a 1 year period. Every year, your organisation will need to recertify.


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Defensity is an Authorised Cyber Essentials & IASME Certification Body, you will only consult with qualified (CISSP) Security Professionals.

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