Cyber Essentials Certification 101 and How it Could Benefit Your Online Retail Enterprise
Have you applied for Cyber Essentials accreditation for your online retail enterprise?
If you haven’t, you’re missing out on a lot.
The advantages of Cyber Essentials for your business are far-reaching. It can help put your prospective customers at ease with transacting with you (making it easier for them to push through with their purchase), it also helps improve your brand image, etc.
TL: DR; The benefits of obtaining a Cyber Essentials certificate can do wonders for your business.
To help you understand what the Cyber Essentials is all about, allow me to share with you an overview.
Cyber Essentials: An Overview
Cyber Essentials is a certification scheme supported by the UK government to help industries, including businesses, thwart prominent cyber threats and attacks.
The program encourages adopters to apply best security practices in their operations. It highlights five of these:
- Malware protection
- Security configuration
- Patch management, and
- Access control
If your online retail store can meet these five technical controls satisfactorily, you can apply to get certified.
You will then undergo these tests: a shared service assessment, a vulnerability scan, and a questionnaire about the technical controls.
Once you can verify the security of your IT ecosystem, you garner the accreditation and a badge you can feature on your website, app, and other marketing materials.
So then, if you’re looking to sign up for a Cyber Essentials certification, you can experience these five benefits:
1. It shields your site from most Cyber Threats.
The Cyber Essentials technical controls serve as a robust foundation shielding your site from 80 percent of the common cyber threats.
For instance, malware protection includes installing and updating your antivirus software and educating your staff about anti-phishing techniques.
Updating the software takes only a few clicks, but defends you from numerous kinds of malware, both old and new.
Educating your staff goes a long way, too.
Employees can click seemingly legit links and unknowingly install malware (a common cybersecurity mistake, by the way) that destroys your files, permits hackers to access your data, and more.
To prevent that from happening, educate them to use free tools like GetLinkInfo.com.
I typed in bulletproof.co.uk as an example to show you how it works:
After you enter the URL of a site, GetLinkInfo provides you relevant details like description and redirections, so you can study if the site is legitimate or not.
These Cyber Essentials measures may sound elementary but are proven to help fortify your IT networks and prevent massive data breaches and loss of thousands or millions of dollars.
2. It’s a chance to conduct an internal Security Audit.
Cyber Essentials gives you the chance to audit or inspect your internal IT security more closely.
Going through the program requirements and assessments prompts you to look at and contemplate on your policies and protocols, systems, security tools, and others.
It makes you recheck if you’ve updated your firewalls and antivirus software across all devices, ensured your account passwords and usernames are strong, and more.
If most of your business operations and data are online, then those measures are a must.
If you want to test the strength of your password, you can use tools like howsecureismypassword.net.
As an example, I typed a sample access code, 314*saMplepass^Word. Here’s what the tool came up with:
The time it takes to crack your passcode indicates its robustness. You can infer that the higher the figure is, the stronger your password is.
Cyber Essentials even lets you examine your internal IT security as you perceive it, and then according to the questionnaire it provides.
With this internal audit, your staff and executives take cybersecurity more seriously as they learn of your company’s cyber health and the right policies to enforce.
3. It reveals your commitment to Cybersecurity.
As mentioned earlier, Cyber Essentials gives you a badge you can display on your online store site, app, and marketing materials once you get accredited.
This badge tells people that you not only passed the test but that you’re also committed to keeping your business secure from cyberattacks and keeping your customers’ data private.
You may not think of this, but shoppers today have become mindful of transacting safely with merchants online.
If they find your site credibility questionable, they may not decide to continue with their desired purchase.
To remove any apprehension your customer may have about their cyber safety, you can display your Cyber Essentials badge, like this:
When you showcase your Cyber Essentials badge, you make them feel safe and confident in purchasing and processing payments on your site.
They’re then likely to patronize your business, which helps boost your eCommerce sales, traffic, conversions, and even customer trust and patronage.
4. It qualifies you for government bids and partnerships.
Partnering with government agencies opens the door to many profitable business opportunities for networking, marketing, and others. Doing so will, thus, be advantageous for your store.
However, UK government offices are mandated now to transact only with merchants who hold Cyber Essentials certifications.
That’s because you’ll be handling confidential information, and they need to ensure that this will remain safe as they engage in various kinds of partnerships.
If you’re not Cyber Essentials accredited, you lose the chance to participate in and win UK government bids and, therefore, substantial income.
Invest in and reap the Cyber Essentials benefits.
Applying for a Cyber Essentials certification is not going to be a cost on your end — it’s an investment.
By doing so, you reap several benefits that not only protect your business, but also expand your partnership opportunities, gain customer trust and loyalty, increase your revenue, and more.
Cyber Essentials can spell a game-changing advantage for your online retail enterprise that you surely wouldn’t want to miss. Was this post insight insightful? Please take up a minute to share it with your colleagues. Cheers!
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