Windows 11 and Cyber Essentials

Microsoft Windows 11 is the new up and coming version of the Microsoft Windows Operating System. Companies, if signed up to the Insiders preview update channel, can download and install Windows 11 right now. So, this brings up a new question, can you still achieve Cyber Essentials with Windows 11? Is Windows 11 supported and can it be put in scope for the Cyber Essentials certification process.

Now under the Cyber Essentials scheme you must be running an up-to-date Operating System, which can be provided by the supplier to keep you up and running.

For Example, if you are still running Windows 7 or Windows 8, or even Windows Server 2008 R2, these are all now unsupported by Microsoft and you would fail Cyber Essentials. Unless you have purchased the additional support packages from Microsoft at additional cost.

With the introduction of the insider release of Windows 11, comes a tricky situation. it’s really the first time Cyber Essentials has been around and that Microsoft have released a major new Operating System that applies updates as time goes on, whereas in the past, new Operating Systems were beta and not supported.

So, does this make Windows 11 supported when it comes to implementing and continuing with your Cyber Essentials certification? At the time of writing this article, this is a hard fat NO, I’m afraid. However, this does not mean that this won’t change in the coming days, weeks and months.

So, what should you do, if your business has Windows 11 installed on your systems and are either applying for Cyber Essentials or are going for your renewal shortly? There’s no nice way to do it at the moment, ideally you will either have to postpone your certification until Windows 11 has been released, which at the moment looks to be around October/November time, or take the more drastic approach of removing Windows 11 from all your machines.

On the plus side however, when it comes to supporting Windows 11, when its generally available, Microsoft say that they will support most Windows 11 versions for up to 24 months from the general availability date of that version.  However, for Enterprise and Education versions, they will support up to 36 months, which is good news.

More information about Windows 11 and their support can be found here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/whats-new/windows-11-plan

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