Take a walk down Main Street in Anytown, USA, and you’ll see a collection of buildings that house smaller businesses of the sort that represent a broad swath of industries, some easily identifiable and some not. Along that thoroughfare you are likely to find a local bank, dentist office, gas station, diner, and a variety of retailers dealing in goods like groceries, hardware, appliances, automobiles, clothing, and more. Then there are the businesses operating out of nondescript buildings, maybe a little further from the center of town. Body shops, trucking companies, cabinetmakers, construction contractors, machine shops, accountants, real estate agencies, and more. And, of course, school and town hall, reflecting the functions of local government.
While we may not think of these hometown organizations as big business, each of them contributes to the local economy in important ways. They provide jobs for our friends and neighbors, sponsor local endeavors like Little League teams and community fund-raisers, and provide the goods and services we all need each day. And although the money spent by large enterprises on marketing can skew our perceptions of smaller businesses, in the aggregate they are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy.
Measuring Your Business
According to the most recent census data, the majority of businesses in the U.S. employ fewer than five employees, but the definition of a small business is a little more complicated than that. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), a small business can be defined by the number of employees or annual revenue, and even those measurements depend on a number of variables. Rather than try to explain it here, you can visit the SBA’s Table of Size Standards and website and see for yourself, or measure your own fit with their handy online tool.
What smaller businesses and larger enterprises have in common is all the laws they have to follow. These include zoning laws, taxes, and a litany of regulations, including those associated with keeping data secure and private. The dentist on the corner of Main Street in your town has to follow the same rules as the big hospital network in the city. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has no exemptions for smaller healthcare organizations. The proprietor of the local hardware store has to follow the Payment Card Information Digital Security Standard (PCI DSS) just like the national chain.
Challenges Large or Small
One big difference between smaller businesses and large enterprises is the resources that one can bring to bear to tackle those complex rules and regulations. Large enterprises tend to have more money to spend and more people to pay attention to those issues. Smaller businesses have to rely on one person—usually the proprietor—to navigate the challenges. They may have a support network within their business community, like the local chamber of commerce, with lawyers, accountants, and tech support to help them, but it’s still a big challenge.
The cost of getting data security and management wrong can be disproportionately damaging to smaller businesses. Our Diplomat MFT secure, managed file transfer software excels at supporting businesses large and small at the task of moving sensitive data from one place to another. We’re proud to be able to say that we offer large enterprise-grade managed file transfer at small business prices.
Join Us on the Journey
Over the coming weeks and months, Coviant Software will take a walk down Main Street to look more closely at the businesses and organizations that can be found there and talk about some of these challenges and how we can help make the job of keeping data safe easier. We hope you’ll join us on our journey. And if you recognize yourself in any of the stories we encounter, we hope you’ll reach out to see how we can help you.