The federal government is trying to make its CyberSecure Canada business certification program easier to access by launching a new web portal in hopes of encouraging more small and medium-sized businesses to apply to be accredited.

The portal was announced Friday by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) to help SMBs on their path. Organizations can log in with either the digital GCKey or SecureKey they have for accessing federal services.

An ISED spokesperson said the new portal is an automated enrollment tool that provides an easy and secure means for organizations seeking certification to connect with one of the four independent accreditation bodies, conduct a readiness survey and get started on the path to certification.

So far, SMBs have been shy about applying to the program, which was announced just over a year ago. On the anniversary, IT World Canada found that only three organizations had passed the certification test. A few others were preparing for certification. To put that in perspective, there are 1.15 million small businesses in the country and about 21,000 medium-sized firms.

There are two goals of being certified: To help organizations boost their cybersecurity maturity through implementing baseline security requirements and to let them use certification as a competitive advantage. Displaying the CyberSecure logo hopefully will assure customers that the firm is safer to buy from than from one that isn’t certified.

“By obtaining Cybersecure Canada certification, organizations demonstrate to partners, customers, their supply chain and investors that they are a trusted partner because they have undertaken and implemented the steps necessary to mitigate cyber threats,” the ISED spokesperson said. “In doing so, they enhance their reputation reliability and competitiveness in today’s digital world.”

Friday’s announcement was timed for the start of the annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

In a statement, ISED Minister Navdeep Bains said that “with the current COVID-19 crisis, Canadian businesses are relying on technology more than ever. Many businesses had to quickly pivot to remote work and online operations while dealing with a spike in the number of cyberattacks, phishing scams and other security-related issues during the pandemic. The new CyberSecure Canada certification program will help businesses protect themselves from these threats, give Canadians confidence in continuing to work and grow in the digital economy, and reduce the costs of cybercrime.”

(Correction: The original story wrongly said the program is overseen by the Communications Security Establishment (CSE). )



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