There’s an ever-increasing gap between the number of retailers who are concerned about cyber security, and the number who are actually doing something about it. Moda investigates the threat of hackers to online retailers.
It’s not uncommon to hear that so-called hackers have caused – or threatened to cause – devastation to companies and services through attacks on their systems. Following high-profile cases where organisations including the AA, Equifax and even the NHS have fallen victim to cyber attacks, retailers are increasingly concerned about the threat to their own websites. In fact, recent research carried out by KPMG indicated that 95 per cent of businesses considered cyber security to be important to their business – a figure that is at odds with the 45 per cent who do not have any strategy in place at all to protect their customers’ data.
“Most independent retailers are run by small teams without vast IT knowledge, and being more cyber-conscious can seem impossible,” says Robert Jarrett, membership and marketing Director at the British Independent Retailers Association (bira). “Yet a significant cyber attack could put an independent retailer out of business. The greatest asset independents have over the bigger retailers is their connection with their customers – lose this trust, and you lose your business. It’s vitally important to ensure that your business is protected as well as it can be.”
Working in conjunction with the government’s Cyber Aware Campaign, bira has released advice specifically for independents as to how to keep their online systems safe and secure.
• Install the latest software and app updates - they contain vital security upgrades which help protect your devices from viruses and hackers.
• Use a strong, separate password for your business’s email accounts - hackers can use your email to take control of many of your accounts. Use three random words or numbers to create a strong password.
• Always back-up your most important data, that way hackers cannot hold you to ransom over your business’s data.
• Provide staff with access to simple, freely-available cyber security training. This training can educate your staff in protective tactics such as identifying phishing emails and identity fraud, such as a hacker posing as a CEO and asking for payment details.
• Seek accreditation through the Government-endorsed ‘Cyber Essentials’ scheme – this is a Government-backed and industry-supported ‘standard’, which protects your business against the most common online threats.
Bira works with over 6,500 independent businesses of all sizes, and aims to make every member feel supported, informed and inspired. By joining bira, independent retailers receive access to a wealth of business benefits, from free legal advice to preferential card rates, business banking to specialist insurance, tax accountants to music. Find out more here.