U.S. Houses Passes Two Small Business Cybersecurity Bills
In recent years small businesses have proven a popular target for cybercriminals and hackers. Not only do many small businesses lack the technical resources larger operations have to protect themselves but a staggering number of owners also mistakenly believe they are too small for hackers to concern themselves with. Now, in response to the growing threat, the United States House of Representatives has approved two bills related to improving small business cybersecurity.
According to The Hill, this week the House passed both the SBA Cyber Awareness Act and the Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act. The former is sponsored by Democratic Reprentive Jason Crow of Colorado. It calls for the Small Business Administration to compile a report about the Administration’s IT equipment and detail any cybersecurity risks they face. As Representative Crow said in a statement regarding the legislation, “Cybersecurity is one of the biggest threats to our economy and small businesses. Our small businesses are the backbone of our economy but are increasingly the target of cyber attacks and theft of small business data and intellectual property.”
Meanwhile the Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act — sponsored by Republican Representative Steve Chabot of Ohio — would ensure that small business development center counselors were certified in cybersecurity. This would help business owners better understand how to prevent attacks as well as what steps to take should a breach occur. Speaking to the need for the bill, Representative Chabot said on the House floor, “There is no question that improving the cybersecurity for small businesses should be an urgent priority.”
Previously both of these bills were approved by the House Small Business Committee. Additionally Senators Gary Peters and Marco Rubio introduced a bill similar to Representative Chabot’s titled The Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act. In a statement Senator Peters said of the bill, “This commonsense legislation will help ensure small businesses can access much needed information and training to secure their systems from malicious cyber-attacks,” while Senator Rubio added, “as technology continues to play an integral role in the way business is conducted in the 21st century economy, we must equip our small businesses with the tools they need to combat cyber criminals and protect their networks.” The bill along with a companion bill to the SBA Cyber Awareness Act is awaiting a vote in the chamber.
As these two Congressional bills make clear, cybersecurity should be a concern for business owners of all sizes. While top technological precautions may be cost-prohibitive, there are several commonsense measures that can be taken. Hopefully laws like these — and the coverage surrounding them — will help entrepreneurs take the threat of cybersecurity more seriously.