From the Director’s Desk – December 2017

From the Director’s Desk – December 2017

Hello, this is Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority.  Leading up to the holiday season, I’m sure most of us were busy finding that perfect gift.  Many consumer’s buying habits include purchasing from online retailers and taking advantage of Cyber-Monday and other web-based deals. However, if you are like me, you may have found yourself making more of your purchases at hometown stores and participating in opportunities such as Shop Local Saturday and other regional shopping events.

Regardless your purchasing habits, at this busy time of year, businesses and retailers especially, rely on these sales to help offset the quieter shopping months.  Can you imagine then, the devastation that could result from a business becoming the victim of a cyber-attack?  If not prepared, all transactions could virtually come to a halt resulting in hours, days, even weeks of lost sales.

Most small businesses think they’re too small to be a target, but that assumption is not accurate.  Research conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance has found that almost 50% of small businesses have experienced a cyber-attack, and as much as 60% of hacked small and medium-sized firms go out of business after six months.

That’s why today I’m pleased to share some important information with you on a new cyber security resource available from America’s Small Business Development Centers, of which the Iowa SBDC is a participating partner.  Small Business, Big Threat is an online cyber security training resource that provides valuable information to small businesses on the ever-changing risks of cloud computing.

The program can be accessed at, and includes online training, risk assessment reports and access to a variety of other resources designed to help businesses stay safe and in business.  You can read more about this resource in the following article, and as Resource Partners across the state, I encourage you to share this vital information with the businesses within your region.

On a lighter note, as 2017 winds down and a New Year begins, I want to thank you again for the effort you put forth to help Iowa’s businesses succeed.  Our state has over 266,000 small businesses employing over 630,000 workers.  We embrace and celebrate our entrepreneur’s grit, vision and willingness to take risks, and the exact same can be said about the dedicated Resource Providers like yourself, who take the journey with them.

Cheers for a happy, healthy and safe holiday season, and best wishes for an amazing year ahead!

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