Washington, D.C.— Today, House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) introduced legislation to encourage cooperation between small businesses and the federal government to protect against cyber threats. The Small Business Advanced Cybersecurity Enhancements Act would boost collaboration between the government and small businesses by utilizing Small Business Administration (SBA) resource partners to share information.
“With the risk of cyber-attacks rising every day, proactive collaboration and information sharing between the federal government and business is critical to protecting against malicious cyber actors,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “Unfortunately, small businesses often lack the resources needed to develop adequate cybersecurity strategies and are reluctant to report cyber threats to the federal government. This bill will encourage collaboration and information sharing between small businesses and the federal government, helping to protect small firms that are vulnerable to cyber-attacks.”
“The rise in criminal cyber-attacks occurring across the country is deeply concerning. A partnership between the federal government and American’s small businesses based upon information sharing is critical to ensure the data protection of consumers, while also providing the necessary resources for these small firms to compete in a multi-faceted global economy,” said Congressman Donalds. “This bill encourages small businesses to engage and interact with the federal government to increase transparency, establish collaborative partnerships, and to ultimately provide additional security measures to potentially vulnerable small businesses.”
In a recent survey, the Connected Commerce Council found that 72 percent of small businesses increased their use of digital tools during the COVID-19 crisis, and 48 percent utilized a new digital tool. This digital adoption can increase the risk of cyber threats to small businesses. Many small businesses are already more vulnerable to malicious cyber actors due to the cost and complexity of necessary cyber defenses. With small firms accounting for over 99% of all businesses, attacks on small businesses can significantly impact the national economy and the global supply chain.
Information sharing between the government and small businesses is a vital defense mechanism in the fight against cyber-attacks. The bill would foster collaboration by designating Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) as the primary interface for sharing federal cybersecurity information to help overcome small businesses' reluctance to engage with the government. The bill would also ensure that any business that shares information with an SBDC is entitled to the same protection as other entities under the law. Finally, the bill provides liability protections for small businesses that engage in information sharing.