Webform security best practices for small businesses

As a small business owner or manager, you are responsible for your customers’ email addresses, phone numbers and billing addresses the second they type the information into a form on your website. This type of data — known as personally identifiable information (PII) — is in high demand among hackers, which is why it’s important to implement webform security best practices on your small business website.

What do hackers do with PII?

Hackers don’t usually have a direct interest in your customers’ PII. Instead, they profit when they sell the data on the dark web (also known as the online black market) for a median price of $21.35 per record.

For example, a hacker can tap into a rental property manager’s database to extract credit card information. The going rate to destroy someone’s credit or steal their identity is less than $25.

Cyber thieves then mine the information … Read the rest

CSAM: A good month to discuss website security with clients

Cybersecurity Awareness Month isn’t a marketing gambit. Now in its 17th year, CSAM is a collab between government agencies and industry leaders, created to raise awareness and provide resources to further a safer internet. People like web designers and developers should look at CSAM as an opportunity to discuss website security with clients.

It’s a conversation that many of us in this creative sphere aren’t keen on having.

Some might argue that, technically, website security isn’t their problem. (They already delivered the thing.) But it’s important to understand that low-hanging fruit supports an ecosystem where bad actors can thrive. We don’t need them trashing up the internet, a place where everyone is already hustling to make a living.

Web professionals should make sure clients understand what website security is, the risks that are out there, and who’s handling what.

Ready to rip off that Band-Aid? Don’t stress. Let’s walk through … Read the rest

How tiny Fairfield, Iowa, became a micro-business capital

When the COVID-19 crisis hit, Jim Masterson had to figure out how to massage a horse online.

For more than a decade, Masterson and his wife, Conley, have been the go-to experts for equine performance bodywork.

If your show horse got sore after a jumping competition, you could attend a workshop with a Masterson instructor to learn how to release the horse’s muscle tension through the unique Masterson Method.

The pandemic put a stop to the instructor visits and forced the Mastersons to think creatively about their business model and the horses they’ve dedicated their lives to helping.

Fortunately, they had access to an entire community of creative and like-minded entrepreneurs.

Based in the Corn Belt city of Fairfield, Iowa, the Mastersons are part of an entrepreneurial Shangri-La. The 10,425-person city, about 115 miles southeast of Des Moines, is home to a large number of small, internet-based micro-businesses that are … Read the rest

Four policy pillars that will encourage online micro-businesses

As the U.S. rides out the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic storm, one often overlooked group has emerged as critical ballast for local communities: online micro-businesses.

As stay-at-home orders crippled economies, 44% of these micro-businesses moved more of their business to the internet, ramping up their e-commerce efforts and other digital offerings. By the end of July, less than 2% of them had closed permanently. It’s little surprise then that communities with more micro-businesses lost fewer low-income jobs at the peak of the crisis

These results come from the Venture Forward initiative, a multiyear research project that looks at the economic impact of the 20 million websites with domain names registered with GoDaddy. Three-quarters of these ventures are commerce-driven micro-businesses. The rest are community, civic or hobby-based sites.

Working with academic partners, Venture Forward has found:

  • Micro-businesses create jobs. Economists at UCLA Anderson Forecast determined that there’s a causal impact between
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