BRC launches Cyber Resilience Toolkit for retailers to counter cyber attacks

BRC has launched a new cyber security toolkit for retailers to help them take steps to reduce the threat of a cyber attack.

The BRC worked alongside specialists at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of Government Communications Headquarters, to create the toolkit.

The Cyber Resilience Toolkit for Retail is an actionable guide dedicated for non-cyber experts across retail, such as board members, employees in senior strategic roles, and start-up businesses.

The toolkit highlights the threats faced by retailers, probes prime questions to consider when developing cyber resilience strategies, and provides guidelines on the types of protections retailers should implement.

The toolkit also recommends actions retailers can take to prevent breaches through stronger protections, preparation to tackle the impact of a successful cyber attack, recovering after a cyber attack, and developing and embedding a positive cyber resilience culture at board level.

The BRC said that British retail offers one of the most advanced digital offerings of any industry, making it one of the most targeted in cyber attacks.

In the past year, retailers also spent £186 million implementing cutting-edge systems to protect customers and prevent future cyber attacked.

Furthermore, supply chain process are being increasingly digitised and automated such as ecommerce, cloud systems as well as payroll and procurement. Increasing reliance on these technologies has doubled cyber risk.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “In recent months, the use of technology in the retail industry has evolved as retailers adapt to new consumer habits and the challenges of the pandemic.”

Last year, retailers spent over £186 million on cyber security, but the growth in online selling means there is an increasing threat of new cyber breaches and sophisticated hacking techniques.”

“As a result, retailers need to ensure their systems are watertight and up to date.”

“This toolkit, developed with the input of the National Cyber Security Centre, will ensure all retailers, no matter their size or level of cyber expertise, are well-equipped to face the challenge of cyber security.”

“This is yet another example of the BRC supporting retailers through the ongoing digital transformation.”

“Furthermore, consumers must also play their part, and more must be done to educate the public on basic cyber hygiene so that they are able to browse and shop safely.”

National Cyber Security Centre technical director Dr Ian Levy said: “We want to keep shoppers’ data, identity and privacy safe, and to ensure that the retail sector is well equipped to face the cyber challenges associated with an ever-more digital world.”

“The new BRC toolkit has been written in a way that is clear and concise so that it can be understood by retailers and those with a cyber specialism.”

“I urge all key-decision makers in the industry to familiarise themselves with the toolkit and act on it.”

The BRC said it was vital that retailers remain vigilant and take security protocols to tackle these emerging threats due to the accelerated shift to online shopping.

In May 2020, online retail sales counted for almost a third of all retail sales (32.8%), an increase from 18.8% a year earlier.