Sales on Small Business Saturday

The Great Recession of the 2000s and early 2010 took a major toll on small businesses in the United States. Post-recession and small businesses are still struggling to support themselves. In response, American Express launched Small Business Saturday in the early 2010s. This special event takes place in between the Black Friday/ Cyber Monday rush. The event encourages Americans to shop at local retailers. As a benefit, American Express cardholders can get double credit points as an incentive. To aid and organize the local communities, American Express created a concept called Neighborhood Champions. These are “business associations, state and local chambers of commerce, small businesses, and other community organizers” who are tasked with rallying the community during that day. According to data from American Express, the number of Neighborhood Champions has grown from 1,400 to 7,200 (from 2013-2017). In support for this event, the US government passed a resolution supporting the event influencing businesses across the country to join the movement. Participating businesses are eligible to receive materials and resources free of charge from American Express to help drive business on the day and year-round. American Express also included participating businesses in shopping recommendations which are emailed to American Express cardholders. They estimated that Americans have spent $85 billion at independent retailers and restaurants since Small Business Saturday was released.

Small Business Saturday benefits small local businesses by encouraging consumers to support their local businesses through deals and perks. Businesses are able to receive benefits and customers from American Express. For the rest of that weekend, these businesses are able to make a profit due to the increase in consumers. In addition, this event allows communities to support their local businesses in a more tangible and meaningful way. Hopefully, for future Small Business Saturdays, the number of consumer and business participants will increase.

http://fortune.com/2018/11/23/small-business-saturday-2018-american-express/

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/small-business-saturday-on-track-to-reach-3-billion-in-online-sales-for-the-first-time-2018-11-24

Federal Government: Amazon’s Possible Biggest Customer

Cloud hosting is the procurement of computing resources from a cloud computing provider or facility to host data, services and/or solutions. Amazon’s cloud hosting business, is preparing to secure a lucrative federal contract. Amazon holds a number of federal contracts however their most important opportunity is valued at 10 billion. Interestingly, the company is also trying to serve as the portal for all government purchases. As result Amazon would be able to charge fees while serving as a government portal. The issue with this potential contract award is that Amazon could easily push out competition with their dominance in both the government and civilian sectors. The opposing argument is that Amazon would also increase efficiency and save taxpayers money.

Founder Jeff Bezos realized that housing data in a physical warehouse was less efficient than storing it on the internet. It took a while for Amazon to get federal contracts. In 2010, the Obama administration began urging federal agencies to put their data in the cloud to reduce government spending on data centers. Since other tech companies were still providing the government with software and data centers, Amazon had the advantage. The other tech companies would have to overhaul their processes to move into the cloud business. Amazon was able to assist the Obama administration in moving the website of “The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board” to AWS cloud. In 2013, Amazon won a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency which solidified Amazon’s expertise and security.

By now you’ve probably heard of the Defense Department’s massive winner-take-all $10 billion contract dubbed the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (or JEDI for short). Oracle had challenged the Pentagon’s “single-cloud” strategy for the contract in early August, long before contractors had submitted bids. The protest argued that the Pentagon’s initial contract for JEDI should have more than one winner. Oracle and others have said that Amazon Web Services has an inside track to the contract. The online retail giant’s cloud computing unit is largely viewed as a front-runner because of its experience handling classified data for the CIA, part of an earlier $600 million contract. IBM submitted its own bid protest just days before bids were due Oct. 12. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is reviewing that protest with a decision expected by Jan 18, 2019.

In summary, the JEDI contract can result into a big break for Amazon. It would provide them with the experience and trust needed to maintain a strong relationship with government agencies. However, their expertise could potentially bring about a monopoly that could push out their competitors. If Amazon became the primary procurement portal, it could not only charge fees to suppliers, but also compete against them with its own generic or branded products, as it does currently in its consumer retail business.

Sources:

www.cnn.com/2018/11/15/business/amazon-government/index.html

www.techopedia.com/definition/29018/cloud-hosting

fox2now.com/2018/11/15/amazons-biggest-customer-may-soon-be-the-us-government

 

Ransomware attacks hit Small Businesses the Hardest

Datto Incorporated, an American cybersecurity and data backup company, has announced new findings from their third annual Global State of the Channel Ransomware Report, which found that ransomware continues to be the leading cyber-attack experienced by small-to-medium sized businesses. Ransomware is a kind of malware that threatens to make businesses data inaccessible until the ransom is paid. This report surveyed 2,400 managed service providers that provide IT support for nearly half a million small-to-medium businesses. The survey listed many negative impacts these attacks can have on a business. The lists included

  • The average ransomware attack is about 10 times costlier to a business than the ransom itself. On average these attacks can cost a business’s $46,800 and the ransoms averaging to $4,300 per attack.
  • 92 % or managed service providers predict that the number of attacks will continue at current rates or increase. More than 55% of managed service providers stated that their clients experience a ransomware attack in the first six months of 2018, and 35% said that their clients were attacked multiple times a day.
  • MSPs reported that about 85% or ransomware victims had anti-virus software installed. 65% of reported victims had email/spam filters installed and 29% had pop-up blockers.
  • Ransomware attacks on macOS and iOS platforms have increased five-fold.

One of the biggest reasons for ransomware attacks is CEO’s who are not willing to invest in protection. Michael Drake the CEO of masterIT, an MSP in Memphis Tennessee, says that many CEO’s think that they don’t have anything the hackers want so to them it isn’t worth the price. The report also stated that many attacks are unreported, the survey found that 25% of ransomware attacks are reported to authorities. Companies can take to strengthen their IT protection and prevent future attacks. Two of the most prominent ways for businesses to protect themselves is:

  • BCDR or business continuity and disaster recovery technology is the most effective: the report stated that 90% of clients with BCDR fully recovered in 24 hours. Additionally, businesses should create a response plan that includes detection, communication, cause assessment, recovery, and prevention.
  • Additional training for employees can help employees stay vigilant. Many ransomware breaches are successful through phishing (fake emails), malicious websites, web ads, clickbait etc.

The lessons that can be taken from this report is that the long-term investments will pay out in the future. If business owners only see from a short-term perspective i.e. cost of protection, the consequences will be catastrophic and damaging. Stealing has evolved over the years to become sophisticated and instantaneous. In the same vein much like how a business would lock up their building to prevent theft, a business needs to have proper IT protection to lock up their information.

Source:

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181113005016/en/Datto-Global-Survey-Reveals-Ransomware-Significant-Cyber

Sabre88 Salutes their Service and Sacrifice

On July 28th 1914, one shot became a catalyst for one the largest and bloodiest conflicts the world has ever seen. For four long years stretching from Europe to the Middle East young men fought in the worst conditions imaginable and against deadly new weapons. From machine guns to poison gas young men sacrificed their lives and bodies in service of their country. However, on November 11th 1918 the last shot was fired and the front became quiet. An armistice was signed that day ceasing all military operations on the frontline. This Armistice marked the end of hostilities and lead to the end of the Great War. On November 1919 about a year after the armistice President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice Day in order to remember the men who sacrificed their lives fighting in World War 1. Fast forward to 1954 and Armistice Day was officially changed to Veterans Day by President Eisenhower. Today American citizens regard Veterans Day as a time to reflect and remember those who have lost their lives in past and present military operations. As citizens we are indebted to our veterans knowing that they have volunteered to risk their lives and wellbeing for the sake of their country. However, in addition, our veterans have made personal sacrifices for the betterment of the United States. For some they may have sacrificed opportunities or family obligations in order to commit themselves to their duty. For many they have sacrificed their youth and education in order to serve their country.

Veterans come from all over the country from all walks of life. Yet the common binding fact is that these people were willing to make the sacrifices necessary. Here at Sabre88 we acknowledge and honor the sacrifices our veterans have made past and present. Sabre 88 takes pride in having veterans be a part of the corporate structure of our company. Their discipline and experience allow us to only provide the best service. Our own Business Development Manager Jim Hansel uses his experience in the United States Navy to not only provide advantages in our efforts but provide wisdom and knowledge necessary to improve ourselves not only as a company but as people. The veterans of Sabre88 have made many sacrifices and provided insights that allow us as a company to grow. Whether it be through advice, business negotiations, or reports the veterans at Sabre88 continue to inspire us every day.  We would like to thank veterans like Jim Hansel, Ron Oliver, Howard Johnston, Jerome Gummin, Taylor Collins, Brian J. Schweikert, Bruce Conte, Robert Lightfoot, Scott Roe, and Nelson Cardone for being not only great role models for use to follow but also being dependable coworkers and great friends. From the bottom of our hearts here at Sabre 88 we thank you all for your efforts and sacrifices that you’ve made for your country.

Source: https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp

Why Mental Health is Important for Businesses

When, it comes to the well-being of an individual people will immediately think of a physically fit person. This makes sense since one’s physicality indicates how healthy a person’s body is and how the look on the outside. Yet recently there are more studies indicating that a person’s physical health can attribute to a person’s mental health. In article for Forbes Magazine titled “How to Prioritize Mental Health at Your Business”, it details the methods that employers can use to produce an environment that is beneficial for their employees mentally. The article details a survey made by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans which states that “two-thirds of employers said mental health and substance abuse issues have contributed to absenteeism and tardiness at their organizations” (Forbes). Additionally, the survey also states that more than 60% percent of the survey’s respondents say that these issues can also affect physical health, job performance, focus, and productivity.

The next part of the article describes six business owners who have dealt with mental health and implemented policy to combat mental health within their businesses. Three of the examples is r Elizabeth Falconer, Joe Burton, and Samia Reichel who detailed her experience dealing with mental health issues. After experiencing the death of her father, mother, and two grandmothers all in the span of 14 months she found herself unable to work and made the decision to take time off. What she discovered was that her time off allowed herself to decompress and come to terms with the passing of her family members. That experience translated into her business practices where she tries to provide more flexible with work times and provide “downtime” for those experiencing personal crisis. Joe Burton founder and CEO of Whil explained that his time as a COO for another company was extremely stressful with 14-hour days and constant travel. Unfortunately, he herniated his back and lost two siblings to drug and suicide. This caused him to reach a crisis point and he decided to always prioritize stress management. Now he tells his employees to take 5-10-minute mental breaks every 50 minutes and has his employees hold mindfulness meditation at 3 pm each day. Samia Reichel the VP Escrow of Fidelity National Financial prioritizes self-management through promoting good physical health. Additionally, through meetings they discuss what tasks needed to be completed and what deadlines needed to be. The meetings allow employees to redistribute work if an individual is struggling in to keep the individual on track.

The commonality between all of these business owners is a willingness to put in the time and effort to organize and provide resources for their employees. Each business owner committed themselves into providing spaces where their employees can either take a break or discuss issues that they are facing. For business owners that are noticing mental health issues among their employees is worth the time and effort to provide the outlets and services needed for their employees to be productive and healthy. In the short term it definitely will require time to formulate and enact new policies geared towards positive mental health but in the long term it will ensure the longevity and productivity of their company. Employees to a business owner is their most important asset and if the owners do not care for their employee’s well-being it can only get worse from there.

Source:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rhettpower/2018/10/28/how-to-prioritize-mental-health-at-your-business/#61c488b649a7