Then, throughout the year, we’re holding meetups with pitch-offs in Seattle, San Diego, and Boston.
Each meetup is traditionally a crowded mishmash of networking, hustling and, well, drinking, so 21 and older only, please. This year, after the roaring success of our first pitch-off, each meetup will feature a rapid fire pitch-off and a few brief on-stage discussions for TechCrunch TV.
The pitch-off is a way to get your startup in front of TC judges as well as a few local judges from the area. Our goal is to pick three winners. Third place gets one ticket to Disrupt SF, second place gets two tickets, and the winner gets a spot in Startup Alley. Everyone who pitches will be considered for the Startup Battlefield as well.
Participants interested in competing in the pitch-off will have 60 seconds to explain why their startup is awesome. PowerPoint presentations are not allowed. These products must currently be in stealth or private beta, and they must be ready to launch at Disrupt in September.
Our sponsors help make meetups happen. If you are interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact our sponsorship team here email@example.com.
To discuss specific findings from that report, Symantec recently sponsored a Twitter chat and made two experts available on Twitter to answer questions on the topic of SMB Internet security.
Kevin Haley, director, Symantec security response, Symantec – @kphaley, Jay Epton, Director SMB Sales for the EMEA Northern Region, Symantec – @Jay_Epton, and yours truly, Anita Campbell, Small Business Trends joined up with other members of the small business community for the discussion. Below are selected highlights of that chat.
Q1:We keep hearing that cybercriminals change their tactics.What is the big takeaway from the #ISTR18?#SMBChat
A1: Small businesses are now the target of 31% of all attacks, a threefold increase from 2011. #SMBchat — Kevin Haley (@KPHaley) April 25, 2013
And Web-based attacks increased by 30 percent in 2012, Haley added. Of course, attacks on websites and computers aren’t the only way cyber criminals gain access to your important business data. The mobile revolution has opened up a whole new frontier for cyber crime.
Small businesses recognize the benefits of mobility and employees often have key company data on their devices. #SMBchat — Jay Epton (@Jay_Epton) April 25, 2013
But Epton said businesses must also understand the risks. For example, Symantec has found that in 2012, mobile malware increased by 58 percent. Haley added that an important step is to train employees about privacy settings on mobile devices and about the dangers of downloading rogue applications.
A2: For company-provided devices, consider locking them down and preventing the installation of unapproved applications. #SMBChat — Kevin Haley (@KPHaley) April 25, 2013
A2 Also be cautious when downloading music on your phone or tablet. Many viruses can be disguised as music files. #SMBchat — Ti Roberts (@tiroberts) April 25, 2013
One of the most common attacks small businesses should be watching for is the so-called “watering hole” attack, Haley explained:
A3: With watering hole attacks, attackers profile victims and the kind of websites they go to. #SMBChat — Kevin Haley (@KPHaley) April 25, 2013
According to internet security report #ISTR18 via #SMBchat – hackers targeting “watering holes” places SMB owners go to frequently. — TJ McCue (@TJMcCue) April 25, 2013
For protection, Epton recommended deploying firewalls, gateway AV, intrusion detection and intrusion systems and Web security gateway solutions on your network. But he also said nothing can replace giving your employees the knowledge they need to counter the threat.
A3: Education is also important. Raise employee awareness about the risks of social engineering and good computing habits. #SMBchat — Jay Epton (@Jay_Epton) April 25, 2013
To this end, how can we help employees and become more aware ourselves of the threats out there?
Q4: Fake sites designed to infect computers have doubled in the past year.How can employees tell if a site is fake?#SMBChat — Anita Campbell (@smallbiztrends) April 25, 2013
Detecting compromised sites is not so easy, given that legitimate sites are often hijacked by hackers, Haley said.
A4: Business, technology, and shopping websites were among the top five types of websites hosting infections. #SMBChat — Kevin Haley (@KPHaley) April 25, 2013
Security concerns give small businesses a lot to think about. Experts acknowledge protecting your business from cyber attack can be a bit overwhelming. But they say that’s exactly what makes small businesses such prime targets.
Join us, along with Symantec SMB security experts, on Twitter on Thursday, April 25, at 9 am Pacific (12 noon Eastern) for a discussion about how cyber criminals are targeting small businesses.
You’ll get a chance to discuss the findings in Symantec’s recently-released report on Internet Security Threats. The Report covers the major threat trends observed by Symantec in 2012. It reveals that cybercriminals view SMBs as a prime target. In fact, the largest growth area for targeted attacks in 2012 was businesses with fewer than 250 employees. Thirty-one percent (31%) of all attacks targeted them, almost tripling over 2011.
To know how to protect your business nad improve security, the first step is to get a clear understanding of the dangers. This year’s report is a wake-up call that SMBs are now being specifically targeted by cybercriminals.
Mark your calendars to join #SMBchat and learn how to protect your small business from attackers.
Topic: ISTR 18: SMB Wake-up Call – you’re a prime target for cybercriminals
Date: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Time: Starts at 9:00 a.m. PT / 12:00 noon ET
Length: 1 hour
Where: On Twitter.com; follow the hashtag #SMBchat
We’re delighted to announce another Twitter chat this week. The topic is “working smarter, especially with your mobile devices.” Scroll down below for details.
Some of the topics we will cover include:
tips for how other entrepreneurs use mobile devices, including tablets
mobile etiquette, including do’s and dont’s
tips for holding conference calls outside the office
mobile productivity tips
Add to your calendar now, with the following details:
WHAT: Working Smarter With Your Mobile Devices
WHEN: Thursday, April 18, 2013. At 8 pm Eastern time (New York time zone). That’s 5 pm Pacific time
WHERE: It’s a one-hour chat that takes place on Twitter.
WHO: Judi Hembrough (@JudiHembrough), small business marketing director of Plantronics, is our special guest expert. Yours truly (Anita Campbell – @Smallbiztrends) will also be there. All are welcome to join in! Network with other members of the Small Business Trends community who I know also plan to be there – @TJMcCue, @Lyceum, @eggmarketing and @Sannwood have all said they will be joining us, and possibly some other “regulars.” It’s a great way to make connections.
HOW: Just search for the hashtag #SmarterWorking over at Twitter.com to see who is participating. When you participate, include that same hashtag in your tweets. That way, other participants will see your tweets and know you are part of the chat.
WHY: Because it’s informative and fun. And it’s a terrific icebreaker to meet other entrepreneurs. Oh, and we have a giveaway, too!
GIVEAWAY GOODIES: Thanks to @Plantronics, which is sponsoring this week’s chat, we’ll be giving away 3 of the awesome Plantronics Voyager Legend UC headsets. I will give them away to participants who share helpful tips during the one hour chat. Headsets provided by Plantronics. Details about the Voyager Legend UC Headset here.
Big thanks to Plantronics for sponsoring, to make this chat possible – and for providing promotional prizes.
An event meant to focus the nation’s attention on the importance of the small business community will focus events in five cities across the country this year. The U.S. Small Business Administration is holding its annual National Small Business Week from June 17-21, 2013.
This will be the 50th anniversary of the event, which the government organization uses as a chance to highlight the impact small businesses have in the U.S.
More than half of all Americans work for or own a small business in the U.S., according to the SBA. As a result, small businesses are responsible for about two in every three new jobs created in the U.S. on an annual basis.
This year’s National Small Business Week will feature events coast-to-coast, on each weekday, starting in Seattle on June 17, Dallas on the 18th, St. Louis on the 19th, Pittsburgh, on the 20th and finally in Washington, D.C., for the final day.
Each city will host forums for small business owners to discuss the small business landscape, business coaching services, networking events, and various awards ceremonies. The 2013 National Small Business Person of the Year will be announced at the end of the week in the nation’s capital.
Event details for each of those host cities have not yet been announced through SBA.
National Small Business Week will also feature daily online forums on topics important to small business owners and entrepreneurs including access to capital and and exporting. The SBA will also be live streaming events throughout the week at SBA.gov.