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Small Business Cybersecurity: House Passes Key Bill

The House passed by voice vote the bipartisan Small Business Administration (SBA) Cyber Awareness Act (H.R. 2331) that will require the agency to expand its ability to combat cyber threats.

The bill now heads to the Senate where it joins a growing number of stalled cybersecurity-related legislation waiting for a floor vote. The SBA act was sponsored by Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), who introduced it in April with co-sponsors Reps Troy Balderson (R-OH), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Steve Chabot (R-OH).

Crow’s bill would expand cybersecurity operations at the SBA by requiring the SBA to supply a report assessing its ability to combat cyber threats. Specifically, the report would disclose:

  • SBA’s cybersecurity infrastructure.
  • SBA’s strategy to improve cybersecurity protections.
  • Any equipment used by the SBA and manufactured by a company based in China.
  • Any incident of cyber risk at the SBA and the agency’s actions to confront it.

The bill would also require the SBA to notify Congress of future breaches with information on those affected and how the breach occurred.

“Cyber attacks have the ability to shut down small businesses and destabilize our economy. This bill helps protect millions of small businesses served by the SBA and puts them on the best footing possible to deal with our 21st century threats,” said Crow. “I’m proud to have such strong bipartisan support for this bill and to deliver for the millions of small businesses that are the backbone of our economy.”

The bill is Crow’s first standalone measure to get a vote in the House. You can see his remarks on the House floor here.

Separately, the House also passed by voice vote the Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act sponsored by Chabot that would require counselors at small business development centers to be certified in cybersecurity to assist small businesses in preventing and responding to cyber attacks.

Both bills have companion legislature sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) who chairs the Senate Small Business Committee. Both are in line for votes on the Senate floor. Rubio last week introduced the Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), that would authorize Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) to work with the Department of Homeland Security to advise small businesses on how to strengthen their cybersecurity protocols.

Specifically, the bill directs the SBA to become a cybersecurity clearinghouse by consolidating and managing federal government cybersecurity materials so small businesses can access information in one place. Last March, Rubio introduced the Small Business Cyber Training Act that would certify SBDC counselors to provide cyber planning assistance to small businesses.

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