Senate Commerce Committee Approves Cybersecurity Bill

July 31, 2013

pic-techOn July 25, 2013 the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing titled “The Partnership Between NIST and the Private Sector: Improving Cybersecurity.”  The purpose of this hearing was to discuss the recently introduced bipartisan Cybersecurity Act of 2013 (S. 1353), specifically the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) role in facilitating and supporting the development of a voluntary, flexible and cost-effective set of standards, guidelines and best practices to reduce cyber threats and attacks on our critical infrastructure. Senators and witnesses also addressed other provisions included in the bill such as a federal cybersecurity research and development plan and cybersecurity education, awareness and preparedness, all of which are of particular interest to small businesses.

According to a recent report from Symantec, 31 percent of all cyber-attacks discovered in 2012 were targeted at small firms. This is nearly double the number of attacks from the previous year.  A cyber-attack jeopardizes a small businesses information systems and communications networks and can potentially result in millions of dollars of direct financial costs, stolen intellectual property and a complete disruption of business operations.  Cybersecurity has become one of the most important issues for the nation’s small-business community.  In fact, 52 percent of small-business respondents to NSBA’s 2010 Technology Survey listed security issues as the number one challenge they faced with their company’s use of technology.

On July 30, the Senate Commerce Committee approved S. 1353. NSBA was pleased to see the introduction of the Cybersecurity Act of 2013 and firmly believes that this bill, as amended, is an important first step to addressing our cyber vulnerabilities.  NSBA supports the Committee’s approach to cybersecurity legislation and would like to thank Chairman Rockefeller, Ranking Member Thune and their staffs for introducing the bill and for their tireless and indispensable efforts to safeguard our critical infrastructure.