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  • Writer's pictureRic Armstrong

What’s Happening in Small Business Cybersecurity

The House passed legislation by voice vote on July 15, 2019 intended to increase cybersecurity at the Small Business Administration (SBA), then separately approved a bill designed to help small businesses defend against cyber-attacks. Our curiosity piqued, because this is right up the alley of the business clients we represent.

The SBA Cyber Awareness Act, sponsored primarily by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), would require the SBA to produce an annual report to Congress that assesses the quality of its information technology, and that details any equipment used by the SBA that was manufactured in China. The report would also be required to include details of all cyber risks or incidents faced by the agency since the previous report was submitted. This is, we think, a common sense approach our clients should get behind.

If the bill became law, it would also require the SBA to notify Congress within seven days of a suspected cyber incident or attack on the agency and also notify individuals and small businesses impacted by such incident within 30 days.

Said Crow in a statement when introducing the bill in April: “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.”

On the same day, the House passed the Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act by voice vote. This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), would require counselors at small business development centers to be certified in cybersecurity to assist small businesses in preventing and responding to cyber attacks.

“There is no question that improving the cybersecurity for small businesses should be an urgent priority,” Chabot said on the House floor prior to the bill’s passage.

The bills have a good chance to become law in our view because bills were previously approved by the House Small Business Committee in June, and both bills have companion measures sponsored by Senate Small Business Committee Chairman Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) that are awaiting votes in the upper chamber. We will keep you and our clients posted.


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