If there's one fear that universally keeps business owners up at night, it the fear of being hacked.
There's no argument that cybercrime is a serious global problem, and it's the one global problem that's also at the forefront of Main Street businesses, according to online payroll services provider SurePayroll.
News bytes• What's a great Christmas gift for the entrepreneur who has everything?
How about the rights to Santa.com.
Northbrook-based intellectual property disposition firm Hilco Streambank has been retained to sell the Santa.com trademarks and domain name. Santa.com, first registered in 1994, is owned by Santa Holdings LLC. The domain has a history of use as an online gift and holiday shopping portal.
The current owners decided to sell the domain name and have engaged Hilco Streambank to run the sales process. Hilco Streambank is currently soliciting offers and has not yet scheduled an auction date. Interested parties will be invited to submit their bids privately prior to the 2015 holiday season, Hilco said in a news release.
• Welcome to Robert J. Fleming, who was recently appointed vice president of cyber, unattended systems and division strategy for Northrop Grumman Corp. at its Rolling Meadows land and self protection systems.
Fleming will be responsible for the development, production and support of the division's unmanned aircraft systems sensor and electronic attack programs.
Fleming joined Northrop Grumman in 2005 as an engineering technical director on the E-2D Integrated Cockpit program and has held a number of technical, program and functional leadership positions.
He has a master's degree in business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in electronic engineering from the University of Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa).
• Arlington Heights-based Paylocity Holding Corp. said fourth quarter revenues for fiscal years 2015 were up 40 percent over the previous year as sales by the cloud-based payroll and human resources management company continued to increase.
Revenues for the quarter were $40 million, up from $28.6 million from the same period in 2014. For the fiscal year 2015, the company's total revenues were $152.7 million, up 40 percent from $109 million in fiscal year 2014.
Paylocity President and CEO Steve Beauchamp said the increases were driven by strong sales and operations.
"We continue to realize the benefits of R&D investment in our leading HCM platform, " Beauchamp said.
• Magenium Solutions in Glen Ellyn recently earned the Silver Partner Level with ClickDimensions.
ClickDimensions provides email marketing, nurture campaigns, lead scoring, campaign tracking, social discovery, forms, surveys and landing pages. A user-friendly application that resides within Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables sales departments immediate access to the information they need from marketing. Efficiencies among internal departments ultimately provides better overall customer satisfaction.
To reach the Silver Partner level, Magenium CRM consultants passed certification exams demonstrating their knowledge of the tool as well as implementing ClickDimensions at several of its Microsoft Dynamics CRM clients. Magenium Solutions is also a Gold Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner.
The Glenview-based company's monthly Small Business Scorecard optimism survey recently found 60 percent of small business owners are concerned enough about cybercrime to take extra precautions assuring their data is secure. That number is up from 56 percent a year ago.
"It tells you just how serious this issue has become for business owners, regardless of size," said SurePayroll General Manager Andy Roe.
"It's not just the big chains that are focused on security right now. Small business owners understand that any sort of breach or lack of confidence when it comes to online security could have a big impact," he added.
SurePayroll surveys 5,000 small businesses nationwide for its monthly Scorecard. A total of 325 responded to this survey, Roe said, with the average business size of 10 or fewer employees.
Among the types of measures small companies are using to protect their information are firewalls, off-site protected servers, multi-factor authentication, encrypted emails and multiple layers of password protection, Roe said.
An overwhelming majority of respondents -- 85 percent -- said they would be willing to inconvenience customers if it meant better protecting their online security when using the company's products, services or websites.
Roe points out that while those security measures may be considered an "inconvenience," most customers likely wouldn't notice it.
"Often customers are not even aware of the cyber security measures in place," he said.
"However, I think what the survey showed us is just how seriously small business owners are taking online security," he added. "So if they have to make customers spend some extra time on a more complex password, or a multi-factor authentication to log in to a web service, they're willing to do so."
Roe notes that while small business owners do not have the resources to develop their own secure systems or run their own IT department, many are more comfortable with using secure online third-party services to maintain security and improve the way they do business.
"According to our data, 50 percent are using online services to streamline business," he said. "So for instance, when it comes to payroll and employee data, small businesses using a payroll service are paying a very reasonable subscription cost to help keep their data protected and backed up by the service.
"By using an outside service, they're taking advantage of that sophistication and capability, while paying a modest price for it."