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(© Pedro Nunes/© PEDRO NUNES, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any form of reproduction, is strictly prohibited without written permission of the author.)
(© Pedro Nunes/© PEDRO NUNES, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any form of reproduction, is strictly prohibited without written permission of the author.)

Small Business Briefing

Hackers increasingly target smaller firms Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz

Beware of a hack attack

Hackers are increasingly targeting the small-business community, Calgary Herald posted on its WhatsYourTech.ca hub. Citing a report from the U.S. Secret Service, produced in conjuction with Verizon, it pointed out that 63 per cent of data attacks in the United States in 2010 targeted companies with 100 employees or less. In Canada, a recent Ipsos Reid poll warned only about half of respondents from smaller firms are taking preventative action.

"Of course, small business has fewer resources (security budgets; technical expertise) to fight off sophisticated data attacks from the outside world," writer Lee Rickwood says. "Yet, even without being a target, nearly half of all small businesses have reported some data loss as a result of internal issues, like computer viruses or accidental deletion."

Small businesses are being increasingly encouraged to embrace technology to help streamline operations, cut costs and increase market share. At the same time, IT departments that would help prevent hack attacks are becoming less common as cloud-based services theoretically reduce their need.

Thomas Raef, founder of e-Based Security, told Small Business Trends Radio why criminals target small companies and the signs of whether your system has been hacked.

In December, 2009, Businessweek wrote a piece on how small business can fight back.

Rising Star develops innovative diagnostic tool

A little late to the party on this one, but better late than never. Last month Jin Zhang, an assistant professor at The University of Western Ontario, was named a Canadian Rising Star for her work toward developing a non-invasive diagnostic tool for diabetes, Western News reports. Non-profit Grand Challenges Canada announced 19 grants to Canadian innovators, each of whom produced a video presenting their ideas. Winning proposals received a grant of $100,000.

The concepts are wide ranging and include a plan to address barriers to implementation such as community values and ethics, the health systems required to deliver the discoveries, and cost-effective commercialization of their solutions. Grand Challenges Canada calls this "integrated innovation," and Western News describes it as "an approach (that) improves the success rate of discoveries."

If their ideas are robust, effective, and proven," it adds, "the innovators will be eligible for an additional scale-up grant of up to $1 million for each proposal."

Grand Challenges Canada is an independent organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of people in developing countries by integrating scientific, technological, business and social innovation. On Thursday it announced $20 million in funding for "bold, transformational proposals to tackle the issue of mental health in developing countries."

Sage advice from a venture capitalist

Mark Suster, venture capitalist at GRP Partners, in a video at businessinsider.com, shares his advice for startup founders on how to bring in capital and the common mistakes entrepreneurs make. "Don't overoptimize," he suggests. "The money's available, raise it."


Free seminar on taxes in B.C.

The Canada Revenue Agency is offering a pair of free seminars on July 26, on income tax and GST/HST. To register online, fill in the form on the CRA's website. Be sure to submit a separate one for each participant. It takes place on the main floor of the Vancouver Tax Services Office, 1166 West Pender Street, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., respectively.

Seventh annual eBay Canada awards

On Friday eBay Canada put out a call out for entries for its seventh annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. This year a Service-preneur of the Year prize will also be awarded to "someone who provides unique, personalized or extraordinary services to eBay buyers." Another new one, Newcomer of the Year, will be given to "a seller who is either new to Canada, new to e-commerce or selling a new product." At stake is a cash prize worth up to $3,000.


This month's installment of Success Stories

James C. Temerty, founder and chairman of Northland Power, participates in a Q&A with Diane Jermyn: "I had this idea that I could do anything. I'd been lucky and done well. I'm an avid reader of business publications and saw that people were running all kinds of things - conglomerates with different businesses. So I thought, 'why can't I build a power company?'"


Put it on lockdown

In a four-part series on Internet Security from our Web Strategy section, we examined how to monitor and prevent threats to the computers and networks of a small business, and how to combat breaches when they occur.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at yourbusiness@globeandmail.com

Join The Globe's Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT

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