Can You Go Global With Online Sales? 

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Have you ever bought something on Amazon.com? Of course you have. You probably know that Amazon.com is the largest retail website in the world. But did you know that over 40% of all physical products sold through the site are sold by independent third party sellers? That’s right, large and small retailers, manufacturers and home-based operations all use this multi-billion dollar platform to reach over 50,000 shoppers all over the world! Is there any reason why YOU can’t reach them from your laptop or shop?

There’s one way to find out. Attend the SCORE/BIC workshop, Taking Your Sales Online on Amazon: Internet Sales Demystified, this Wednesday, September 2, from 9-11am at the Advanced Technology Center on Collegiate Drive side of the Gulf Coast State College campus. This $20 workshop will explain how you can profitably sell on Amazon, whether you can only afford a few hundred dollars or have several million dollars in inventory.

What you will learn:

  • How to identify if you can profitably sell your products on Amazon

  • How to open your account, the costs involved, and how to list your products

  • How to review Amazon listings to see how fast you can expect to sell your products and how the competitive landscape may impact your potential sales

  • How Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon service can help you manage shipping your products in a simple and scalable way

  • Which tools to use to make managing your Amazon business easier


Our SCORE presenter, Orr Ben-Zvy, from Simple Compounding Goods in Los Angeles, has profited handsomely selling clearance, overstock merchandise and liquidated inventory on the Amazon.com’s third party sales platform. As a matter of fact, his company has grown to reach the top 1% in sales out of all Amazon sellers worldwide! He also works with dozens of individuals and US companion how to follow his lead. He will be here in Panama City to tell you how to employ this remarkable sales-logistics system to enable over 50,000 customers worldwide to purchase merchandise from YOU.

Take advantage of this singular opportunity to learn how to exponentially expand your customer and sales base with Amazon.com.  Registration is $20 in advance or at the door. Students with a valid school ID may attend free. Register online today. For more information, contact the Business Innovation Center at (850) 770-2451 or email us at admin@businessinnovationcenter.com


Cloud Security: Data-Centric Protection Increases Security

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There’s a lot to love about the cloud. Cost savings from the economies of scale and shared resources, anytime access from multiple mobile devices, high availability for large backup data storage, and ease-of-use. But the cloud introduces a layer of abstraction between the original owner of the data and the on-going stewardship of that data. This is especially true in the public cloud where cloud services providers manage both the cloud infrastructure and the personnel that run it.

Data is at the core of IT security concerns for any organization, whatever the form of infrastructure (cloud or local) that is used. Cloud computing does not change this, but cloud computing does bring an added focus because of the distributed nature of the cloud computing infrastructure and the shared responsibilities that it involves. Security considerations apply both to data at rest (held on some form of storage system) and also to data in motion (being transferred over some form of communication link), both of which may need particular consideration when using cloud computing services.

The type of cloud service also affects the key question of who is responsible for handling particular security controls. For IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), more responsibility is likely to be with the consumer (e.g. for encrypting data stored on a cloud storage device); for SaaS (Software as a Service), more responsibility is likely to be with the provider, since both the stored data and the application code is not directly visible or controllable by the consumer. Essentially, the questions relating to data risk for cloud computing are about: theft or unauthorized disclosure of data (confidentiality), tampering or unauthorized modification of data (integrity), loss or unavailability of data (availability).

Below are some key steps consumers should take to ensure that data involved in cloud computing activities is properly secure:

– Create a data asset catalog: A key aspect of data security is the creation of a data asset catalog, identifying all data assets, classifying those data assets in terms of criticality to the business (which can involve financial and legal considerations, including compliance requirements), specifying ownership and responsibility for the data and describing the location(s) and acceptable use of the assets.

Consider all forms of data: Organizations are increasing the amount of unstructured data held on IT systems, which can include items such as images of scanned documents and pictures of various kinds. Unstructured data can be sensitive and require specific treatment for example redaction or masking of personal information such as signatures, addresses, license plates.

Consider privacy requirements: Data privacy often involves laws and regulations (i.e, HIPAA) relating to the acquisition, storage and use of personally identifiable information (PII). This requires appropriate controls to be in place, particularly when the data is stored within a cloud provider’s infrastructure. These controls may restrict the geographical location in which the data is stored, for example, which runs counter to one aspect of cloud computing which is that cloud computing resources can be distributed in multiple locations.

– Apply the key security principles of confidentiality, integrity and availability to the handling of the data: Confidentiality of sensitive data can be achieved through encryption, both when it is stored on some medium and also when the data is in transit across a network for example, between storage and processing, or between the provider’s system and a consumer user’s system. Integrity of data can be validated using techniques such as secure hash algorithms. Availability can be addressed through backups and/or redundant storage, a failover strategy, resilient systems, and techniques related to the handling of denialofservice attacks.

– Apply identity and access management: A key requirement for moving a consumer application to the cloud is assessing the provider’s ability to allow the consumer to assign their user identities into access groups and roles that reflect their operational and business security policies. Cloud providers must allow the cloud consumer to assign and manage the roles and associated levels of authorization for each of their users in accordance with their security policies by providing a secure system for provisioning and managing unique identities for their users and services. Related to this, is the requirement for logging and security event management (e.g. the reporting of any security breaches) relating to the activities taking place in the cloud service provider environment. Note that the logs and reporting mechanisms are also in need of appropriate security treatment, to prevent a wrongdoer from being able to cover their tracks.

– Always ensure you understand your data security risks by partnering with a go-to security partner who will help you keep updated on the latest security threats and vulnerabilities to protect your data on the local network and the cloud. From risk assessments to security testing, to policies to security reviews, a trusted company is important in increasing your understanding of your security risks.

Mr. Tomas Santos-Alejandro is Advent Service’s VP of Operations and he can be reached at info@adventsvcsllc.com. Advent Services (www.adventsvcsllc.com) specializes in Information Technology and Security services for government and private sector organizations. 


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Advent Services
Developing Trust, Exceeding Expectations! 
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LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

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The obvious priority when selecting a new business location is Accessibility or Visibility to/from clients, customers, suppliers and workforce.  Consider ancillary services and amenities such as restaurant choices, fitness/gym, banking, airport and mass transit.  Establishing the need for high, medium, low or even remote accessibility/visibility narrows the search considerably.

Look for entities that offer a long list of resources such as the EDA’s, TDC’s, Chambers of Commerce and industry specific organizations in your search region.  Learn about the areas and possibly take advantage of incentives while promoting your business at the same time.

Leased space will likely offer a wider variety of spaces and budgets, as well as less out‐of‐pocket first expense than buying or building.  Look for a space that is as closely configured to your needs as possible with room to grow.   Understand the leases and commitments associated with amortizing build‐out costs, shared operating expense, annual increases and other items that may be buried in the small print, such as responsible party for repairs, maintenance, cleaning, etc.

A new building tailored to your business and workforce is optimal.  Although this avoids dealing with existing problems, new construction generally costs more than remodeling/renovation.   In either case, due diligence for every aspect, inside, out and around is paramount.  Be prepared by familiarizing yourself with at least the basics of design, construction, permitting and all the costs associated with developing new property.  There are a lot of “surprises” that emerge once the process is started, including possible impact fees, DOT access, utility connections, engineering needs, stormwater management requirements and they myriad of associated costs with each to name a few.

A well planned, efficient space can save a significant amount of money over the life of the building.  In addition to the hard costs of first build‐out, utilities and furniture and fixtures, there are the soft costs intrinsic to design that affect the bottom line every day.  Building orientation, daylighting and appropriate room sizes and adjacencies and flexibility for use and expansion are a few design features that impact energy usage, security, staff and operations costs.  Along with compatible systems and materials selections, you can maximize the efficiencies while enhancing the aesthetic and well‐being value.   

Regardless of location, your budget should include furniture, equipment, printing and marketing collateral, signage expense and installations.  If relocating/moving an existing business, consider the logistics and costs of the actual move, occupancy overlap expense, loss of revenue from downtime while relocating or installing equipment and data networks.  Whatever that budget number is, add at least 20% as contingency for the unforeseen.  Underfunding a new location will force choices that end up costing so much more in the long run.

We know the value of “location, location, location”.  Don’t underestimate the ROI on good design for a physical space that is welcoming and environmentally healthy with a productive workforce.  Retaining a good architect is a great start to ensuring your new location maximizes its potential.

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Valli Sorci, LEED AP
CEO, Florida Architects, Inc.
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850-333-2615

Your Bay EDA Update

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Scarlett is back and is in full swing!!  Please see below for some exciting updates:

We currently have 13 active projects.  These include local expansions and new company projects.

  • Three of these projects are to proposal / negotiation phase – please keep your fingers crossed for us!


·         From a marketing standpoint, we have been very targeted and effective. 

  • We were part of “Team Florida” at the International Air Show in Paris where we had substantial exposure and very successful meetings.  This was one of the most productive air shows I have ever attended. We met with more than 20 companies and came back with 4 substantial project leads.

  • We traveled to southern California on an aviation related marketing tour where we met with three companies.  One of the meetings was with the President/CEO of the company.

  • This week, we will be part of “Team Florida” as we travel to NYC to meet with site selection consultants.

  • We will be part of a similar recruitment mission with Chicago Site Selection consultants in September.


·         Odds and Ends:

  • Our website is being re-designed and we are almost ready to launch.

  • We continue to work with officials to solidify funding for the Bay Tech Initiative.

  • We are tracking updates with the BP Restore funds and the Gulf Coast Triumph committee for future economic development funding opportunities.

  • We are beginning our 2016 budget and marketing planning.


SAVE THE DATE OPPORTUNITIES:  Please mark  your calendars for the following special events:

  • We have completed our move to the Gulf Coast State College Campus!  Partnering with GCSC and CareerSource, we will have the ribbon cutting ceremony to launch the Bay County Economic Development Center of Excellence:  August 12th at 10:00 a.m.  This ceremony will be immediately following our August investor’s meeting.

  • Our Annual meeting will be Wednesday, October 14th at 8:30 in the  ATC.  Please stayed tuned for more information about our exciting guest speaker.

As always, thanks for your continuous support of the Bay EDA!!  


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Becca Hardin
President, Bay Economic Development Alliance  
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