11/18/2014 05:57 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Small Business Poised to Receive a Big Holiday Gift This Year

Online Security Concerns to Drive Consumers to Small Retailers

With high-profile security breaches continuing to hit major national retailers, affecting tens of millions of shoppers since the 2013 holiday season, it's no surprise to see the that these events are influencing consumers to shop small businesses this year.

As part of's second national survey of consumers about small business, we asked people if online security concerns from last year would affect their holiday shopping behaviors and found they are more worried than ever that their personal and/or financial data will be compromised when they shop online. In fact, 69 percent said they are concerned about security, privacy and fraud while shopping online this holiday season, and 25 percent of consumers will likely change their online shopping behavior.

Perhaps the most surprising finding was that twice as many people are worried about online shopping with large retailers than they are small ones, and therein lies a big holiday opportunity for small retailers. In fact, 65 percent of consumers are motivated to shop even more on small business websites.

How can small retailers make sure they are ready for this holiday gift?

Small business owners can greatly reduce the threat of a security breach by deploying a mix of techniques and processes:

Multi-layer architecture. Like a safe with multiple locks, using a system of different types of locks on the same domain greatly reduces the potential of a complete hijack.
Encryption. Use the highest level of encryption to protect not only authorized domain credentials, but also the processes and systems supporting the domain.
Multi-factor authentication. Use a mix of online and offline authentication methods to ensure that no unauthorized person with stolen credentials is able to unlock the domain control for transfer, deletion or name server redirection.

I believe in order to gain consumer confidence, small business owners have a lot to gain from more professionally managing their online presence and not only making the necessary security measures to keep their customers' data safe but clearly communicating their actions to the customers and communities they serve.