Hackers Beware: Small Businesses Are Beefing Up Their Cybersecurity

Date: September 23, 2016 Last Edit: September 26, 2016

The House passed cybersecurity legislation that could offer new protection to small businesses.

Watch out, hackers: small businesses may soon have more protection against cyber threats.

On Wednesday, the House passed the Improving Small Business Cyber Security Act, which aims to provide small businesses with cybersecurity awareness and training programs through the Small Business Administration’s small business development centers. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) sponsored the bill, with Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) co-sponsoring it.

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“There are 28 million small businesses in the United States, and in recent years, they are increasingly becoming the victims of cyberattacks,” said Hanna. “The reason for this is clear: Small businesses too often lack the resources or experience required to make prudent investments in cybersecurity.”

These cybersecurity programs the SBA develops would be in accordance with a small business security strategy developed with the Department of Homeland Security. The bill would target concerns small businesses have expressed that recent cybersecurity laws seem to only be beneficial to larger corporations, as well as address the expertise gap for small businesses.

In addition, the Government Accountability Office would issue a report reviewing current federal cybersecurity resources aimed at small businesses, which would include:

  1. an accounting, description, and assessment of the utilization of federal programs that provide cybersecurity assistance to small businesses

  1. an assessment of whether the resources are duplicative of other programs or accessible to small businesses.

But this cybersecurity bill isn’t the only one being discussed. Also in talks at the House is the Cyber Preparedness Act, which will bolster federal government resources dedicated to guarding against cyber breaches. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) is sponsoring that bill, and it could still be voted on this week.

This is all good news for small businesses, who are increasingly at risk against cybersecurity threats and hacks. According to Hanna and Kilmer, small businesses “are the target of three out of every five cyberattacks” because hackers often view small businesses “as easier targets” due to their “lack [of] adequate protections to avoid intrusions.”

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