After the turkey dinner and Black Friday madness comes one of the most unique shopping days of the year – Small Business Saturday. Going into its tenth year, Small Business Saturday takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and was started by American Express as a way to jumpstart small business shopping, with The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) joining as a co-sponsor in 2015.
This special shopping day continues to grow, reaching a record high of $17.8 billion in spend in 2018.
“Small Business Saturday is a great chance to drive awareness and keep small businesses top of mind,” said Raina Moskowitz, Etsy’s SVP of people, strategy and services. “Mass retailers play a great role in convenience and price, but when you shop from a small business, there is a story behind what you are buying. So it’s more personal and thoughtful, especially for the holiday season.”
The Importance of Small Business Saturday
According to the Small Business Administration, there are 28 million small business in the United States, accounting for 54% of all sales and 66% of new jobs. Making a purchase from a small business:
- Helps stimulate the local economy. Money spent in the community creates new jobs.
- Local money stays local. When a customer spends a $100 in a small business, $68 of it stays in the community compared to $43 spent at national and franchise businesses.
- Independent businesses give back to the community. A small business is more likely to support local causes.
- Shopping at one local business helps other local businesses. Many independent retailers purchase their merchandise from local vendors, causing a ripple effect.
- Keeps taxes local, and goes towards public services, better schools, and libraries.
- Diversifies the neighborhood, and creates unique offerings that are not found at major retailers.
Breaches Mean Holiday Blues
Unfortunately, small businesses have not only attracted the attention of their local communities. SMB’s are considered one of the easiest targets for hackers because they often don’t have preventive measures in place to keep their business safe from hackers. According to the Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses, and the cybersecurity firm 4iQ reported in its 2019 Identity Breach Report that cyberattacks on small business were up nearly 425% over the previous year.
Stephen Cobb, a senior security researcher at antivirus software company ESET, said that SMBs fall into hackers’ cybersecurity sweet spot since they “have more digital assets to target than an individual consumer has but less security than a larger enterprise.”
Keep the Holidays Joyful with Cybersecurity Basics
There are several simple preventive measures that small businesses can take to protect their systems, networks and shoppers.
- Secure Wifi networks – Secure, hide, and encrypt the workplace WiFi network.
- Update passwords – Passwords should be updated every three months and should be strong, using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
- Train employees – Hackers will use employee vulnerabilities to gain access to sensitive systems. Yet a GetApp survey found that 43% of employees do not receive regular data security training, and 8% have never received any training at all. For example, an unsuspecting employee could be sent a phishing email or be tricked into providing a scammer sensitive company information that could give the hacker access to the companies’ system.
- Control physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee – Company computers should be locked when not in use, and an account should be created for each member of the staff. Trusted IT members and key personnel should be given administrative privileges.
- Protect computers, networks, and information – Download suggested security patches and programs, keep the machines clean, and run anti-virus software daily.
- Practice your incident response plan – Even with the best efforts, companies might still suffer a data breach; knowing how to handle the fall-out is key to surviving a breach.
Bluefin offers a complete suite of security products for today’s omni-channel SMB, including mobile, retail, unattended, and call center solutions backed by our PCI-validated Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) and ShieldConex technologies – helping to protect all store and online transactions this holiday season.
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