The expertise in cyber security of commercial IT experts Cornerstone Business Solutions has helped one of their key clients achieve a series of major contract wins.
Stockton-based Cornerstone are leading the field in the fight to protect Tees Valley businesses against the increasing threat of cyber-crime
They are accredited to market Cyber Essentials, a government-backed scheme designed to protect organisations against a wide range of the most common cyber-attacks.
And their advice and expertise enabled their Stockton neighbours, leading electrical contractors CD Engineering Services, to meet industry-leading security standards that has helped them win prestigious contracts with blue chip clients.
Cornerstone’s in-house IT experts guided CD Engineering Services through the cyber security minefield to become one of only a small number of firms within the Tees region to have achieved Cyber Essentials accreditation.
Electrical building services contractors, CDE have gone on to achieve substantial contract successes from national blue chip clients who demanded Cyber Essentials accreditation as a key part of any tenders.
It has allowed the firm to increase turnover from £4m to £8.5m over the past 12 months, with the figure set to leap to £12.5m in the year ahead on the back of an order book worth £20m.
Stakeholders Peter Cass, Julie Cass and Darren Charlton, together with an “exceptionally talented” Teesside workforce have led CDE’s impressive growth, with the directors quick to praise the part Cornerstone have played in their success.
Managing director Peter said: “With Cornerstone’s support, we’ve won contracts from some major blue chip companies, whilst we’re competing for more prestigious tenders that we couldn’t have realistically targeted without having Cyber Essentials in place.
“CDE has been operating successfully for more than 11 years but Cyber Essentials has helped open doors to much larger opportunities that might otherwise have been beyond our reach.
“We were already enjoying a significant expansion but to sustain our growth we needed to break into new markets. Cyber Essentials accreditation has allowed us to aim higher and win a number of larger, more complex contracts.
“These are clients with whom a simple anti-virus system doesn’t cut the mustard.
“There’s no doubt it has given us a significant advantage over our competitors.”
Cyber Essentials helps to guard against the most common cyber threats while allowing organisations to demonstrate their commitment to cyber security.
But gaining accreditation can be a complex and time-consuming process. That’s where Cornerstone stepped in.
“Cornerstone made it easy and seamless,” added Peter. “They understood our needs from the start and made the entire process relatively pain-free, thanks to their excellent client focus and commitment to professionalism.”
Cornerstone director Chris Bibby revealed the IT firm had previously installed a full network for CD Engineering Services including internet connectivity and phones following an office move.
But he explained: “Although we had installed initial security software for CDE, such as anti-virus systems, this was a huge step up and it was clear both firms needed to work together closely to ensure the necessary outcome.
“A key element of gaining Cyber Essentials involved us scanning their network to check for internal vulnerabilities. This scan generates a report that that we use to decide what actions are needed to secure the network.
“We also ran through the very detailed guidelines of the scheme, answering around 250 key questions on cyber security.
“Using the report and site survey guidelines, we produced proposals and carried out any necessary work to get CDE accredited with Cyber Essentials.”
The work included deploying an MDM (mobile device management) system, dual factor authentication, malware bytes, internal vulnerability scans and cyber policies.
Encryption was also rolled out to protect information stored on all company devices that are occasionally removed from the office, including mobile phones and tablets – particularly a batch of recently purchased iPads.
Chris added: “It involved a significant amount of work, of course, but the way we managed it ensured there was minimum disruption to the business.”