Small Business MSSPs, Get Your Free Data, Tools
Finding useful data and data tools if you’re a small MSSP or just starting out can be challenging. The U.S. Census Bureau aims to help small businesses by providing free, open data and tools. The suite of free services, called the Census Business Builder (CBB), provide demographic and economic data tailored to specific users in two basic groups: small businesses and those who serve small businesses.
There are two versions: the Small Business Edition and the Regional Analyst edition. If you are a small business MSSP, you can benefit from either edition.
The small business edition can be helpful in making plans internally on growing your own business.
Even though the Regional Analyst edition is primarily for Chambers of Commerce and regional planners, the sweeping data on all sectors of the economy in any user-defined region can help MSSPs find potential customers whether they specialize in serving a specific industry or serve a broader segment such as small businesses in any industry.
Key features of this suite of services include: interactive and downloadable reports, customizable dashboards (visualizations), interactive maps for browsing and downloading data by type or area, easy-to-use menus and search tools. There’s also improved access to labor force data and use of Esri’s ArcGIS platform.
Indeed, there are more tools available through the Census Bureau than just those in the Census Business Builder. For example, there are interesting (and free) interactive mapping tools in the Census Bureau’s Geography Program.
There’s also an extensive library of infographics and visualizations, plus widgets to embed data on websites. But, if you still don’t see what you need in the way of data or visualizations, then you can request the features and data you need directly from the Census Bureau. Or, look for what you need in new dataset rollouts using the Census Data API Discovery Tool.
In short, this is not the Census Bureau of years past. This is a treasure trove of data and tools that can help MSSPs develop their own business plans, create innovative approaches to security, and design new revenue streams.
If you would like to also browse open data and tools from other government agencies, go to Data.gov. If you’d like to consider international and global open data as well, either for your own business or for your clients, you might want to start by visiting The Open Data Charter, which is a collaboration between 69 governments and 51 organizations working to open up data around the world based on a shared set of principles.