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Cyber Essentials Accreditation and Its Impact to Retail Stores

If you aren’t accredited for Cyber Essentials, then you’re missing out on A-L-O-T.

If you’re new to the term, Cyber Essentials is basically a government-supported certification class for UK-based industries, businesses, and websites.

Highlighting the benefits and value of cybersecurity, this program intends to spur you toward bolstering your efforts to shield your business and customers’ data privacy.

It does that by introducing fundamental defense schemes and its assessment framework, which you’ll have to go through to validate the solidness of your IT security and be certified.

Your Cyber Essentials accreditation can then bring a long-term, game-changing impact you’ll want to experience for your retail store.

Powerful Defense Framework

To receive your Cyber Essentials accreditation, one of the things you need to know and execute is the defense controls that form part of the program’s framework.

Cyber Essentials emphasizes these controls because they have a vital role in fortifying your IT defenses when adopted and applied regularly.

One defense scheme is your firewall.

Firewalls keep your internal IT network safe from the remaining facets on the Internet. 

They serve as your first defense layer from troublesome external elements or users, especially hijackers

Firewalls prevent malicious code, viruses, spam, and other activities and traffic designed to harm and steal your data.

Access control, on the other hand, refers to which people you allow to obtain particular kinds of files. 

This mechanism compels you to restrict data procurement only to the personnel with directly related assignments.

Data access governance and permissions should then be indicated in your retail store’s information security policies.

Access control, later on, helps you trace back and reinforce your company’s accountability for managing data acquisition, especially in times of breaches.

Malware protection is another security control in Cyber Essentials.

This tactic urges you to install and update anti-malware software to block different kinds of malware when it attempts to enter your systems and networks.

Malware now can come in the form of malicious online ads, bots, links, and files, ransomware, viruses, and others.

Malware protection also calls you to educate your employees to exercise vigilance, recognize phishing attacks, especially in emails, and act accordingly when they do come.

After all, statistics reveal that one in 323 emails delivered contains malicious intent behind them. If your staff can identify and stop phishing in its tracks, your assets can remain safe and intact.

Patch management is also imperative. It necessitates downloading and frequently updating your first lines of defense, that is, your anti-malware and anti-virus software and firewalls.

Doing so lets you obstruct both old, current, and emerging versions of viruses, malware, and other suspicious elements trying to permeate your network.

Updating your preventive programs is crucial because cyber threats are constantly evolving.

If your firewalls are unaware of the latest viruses and malware versions, they can permit these troublemakers to pass and wreak havoc into your systems.

Lastly, security configuration requires carrying out ideal defense actions such as identity verification, website and email encryption, stronger passcodes, and more.

These actions are critical because, according to statistics, more than half of the breaches are caused by human error. 

Over 60 percent of proven breaches have exploited weak, stolen, or default passcodes.

These compromises could have been prevented had the users implemented basic security practices, which is why security configuration is part of Cyber Essentials’ fundamental controls.

Sales and Marketing 

The defense framework of Cyber Essentials shows the impact of executing and adopting the security controls for your retail store.

Cyber Essentials understands that your data, assets, and customer protection is the prime and ultimate benefit your retail store can experience.

Getting accredited for the program, though, brings several more advantages and tremendous impact to other facets of your online enterprise.

In Cyber Essentials, once you pass the assessment, you can receive not only your certification but also a badge that you can display on your marketing materials.

Badges, after all, are among the essential ecommerce homepage design elements because they boost your brand trustworthiness, which makes customers want to transact with you.

For your retail store, you can showcase your Cyber Essentials badge on your website homepage, mobile app, email newsletters, printed collaterals, and many others.

With the trustworthiness your badge exudes, you foster customer patronage and loyalty, which can lead to selling more products, converting potential customers, and more.

Cyber Essentials accreditation also introduces myriad opportunities to bid successfully for government projects.

The UK government requires its agencies to engage only with Cyber Essentials certification holders for contracts involving technical services and confidential information.

Earning a Cyber Essentials accreditation can even entitle you to insurance coverage. 

Statistics show that more than 90 percent of small businesses don’t have cyber liability insurance.

Having one, though, is integral to your protection because successful cyberattacks can cost hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the damage inflicted.

With insurance, you can save up to 25,000 UK dollars or over 32,000 US dollars.

When you’re a Cyber Essentials accreditation holder, you can gain more favor in your insurance application.

That’s because they know you’re doing your best to establish robust defenses and prepare for recovery in case hijackers prevail in their cyberattacks against your store.

Accreditation

If you’re now ready to get your retail store accredited, the first thing you need to do is to perform an internal cybersecurity audit.

Evaluate your IT landscape, get a 30,000-feet view of your security standing, and record your relevant findings.

You must also hire a third-party service provider to conduct vulnerability assessments. These will unearth IT weaknesses, outdated components, misconfigurations, and other errors.

You will also receive recommendations on the patches and other corrective actions you should apply. Remember, eradicating any known IT weakness is integral in earning your accreditation.

Next, you can begin your application by filling out a 52-item questionnaire about how you manage the defense controls mentioned earlier.

Your certifying body will then assess your answers, verify your findings, and finally accredit you when you pass the evaluation. 

Get accredited and experience the impact.

The impact of being Cyber Essentials accredited goes beyond sturdy protection from hackers’ attacks through security mechanisms and insurance coverage.

It can catapult you to greater heights by expanding your partnership and customer base, boosting your sales and marketing campaigns and performance, and many others.

Until you get accredited, you may not realize how much competitive edge your retail store can experience and benefit from in the years to come.

The earlier you invest in Cyber Essentials accreditation, the sooner you can enjoy and witness its powerful impact on your retail store.

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