Two bills have been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that will help small- and medium-sized businesses improve cybersecurity.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) Cyber Awareness Act of 2021 sailed through with a vote of 423/0, and the Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act of 2021 had strong support, being passed with a vote of 409/14.
The SBA Cyber Awareness Act of 2021 was introduced by Reps. Young Kim (R-CA) and Jason Crow (D-CO) and is intended to improve the capabilities of the SBA to handle and report cybersecurity threats that affect small- and medium-sized businesses. The SBA Cyber Awareness Act requires the SBA to prepare a report about its cybersecurity capabilities and inform Congress about its ability to tackle cyber threats. The report must include information about the infrastructure of the SBA, its strategy for improving cybersecurity, list any equipment used that was manufactured by Chinese companies, and the bill calls for the SBA to notify Congress of any security breach in which sensitive information was potentially compromised.
“This bill would ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the millions of small businesses that the SBA serves and prepare them for 21st-century threats,” said Rep Crow.
The Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act was introduced by Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) and had 5 Democrat and 3 Republican co-sponsors. The bill aims to provide small- and medium-sized businesses with the resources they need to fight cyber threats on their own.
The bill will establish a cyber counseling certification program at Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) to ensure their staff is able to help small businesses deal with cybersecurity issues and better meet their cyber strategy needs. The bill authorizes the SBA to reimburse SBDCs for employee certification costs up to $350,000 per year.
“Nearly 50% of cyberattacks are directed at small businesses, which can result in devastating financial, intellectual property, and reputational loss,” said Rep. Garbarino. “This bill provides much-needed resources to help small businesses improve their cyber preparedness in the face of rising threats.”