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How Could the New Small Business Cyber Security Act Affect Your Small Biz?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on September 21, 2016 12:00 PM

The Improving Small Business Cyber Security Act of 2016 is aimed at getting aid and resources to small businesses to improve their cybersecurity, and the bill is scheduled to come up for a vote in the House of Representatives today. While its passage is not guaranteed, the bill could have a huge impact on the tools and data available to your small business to keep it safe from hackers, data breaches, and other cybersecurity threats.

Here's a look at the Small Business Cyber Security Act and what it could mean for your company.

Acts and Amendments

The bill itself contains two edits to the Small Business Act and the Homeland Security Act. First, the Small Business Act would be amended to authorize the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make grants to small business development centers in furtherance of cybersecurity strategies to be developed by the SBA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). At the same time, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the Small Business Act would be amended to allow DHS to disseminate cybersecurity risk information and other homeland security information via small business development centers.

The overall goal is to help small businesses in developing cybersecurity infrastructure, threat awareness, and employee training programs to prevent future attacks. Small business development centers would also have access to cybersecurity specialists to counsel their small business clients. This could mean more information and more training for you and your staff.

Resources and Reports

Along with cooperation between the Department of Homeland Security and the Small Business Administration, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) would also issue a report reviewing current federal cybersecurity resources aimed at assisting small businesses. The report would include:

  1. an accounting, description, and assessment of the utilization of federal programs that provide cybersecurity assistance to small businesses; and
  2. an assessment of whether the resources are duplicative of other programs or accessible to small businesses.

The report would also include a strategy with plans for folding small business development centers into existing federal cyber programs to assist small businesses, and methods to improve small businesses' cyber security infrastructure, threat awareness, and training programs for employees. The strategy would then be vetted by Congress before implementation.

Getting these kinds of resources from federal cybersecurity authorities could be a boon for small businesses, who are more at risk of cyberattacks than ever before. Small business owners should keep an eye on Washington, D.C. in the coming weeks, and be ready to take advantage of the Cyber Security Act if it passes.

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