Two Cybersecurity Bills Introduced

July 20, 2021

Small businesses rely on information technology more than ever, yet the very tools that make small businesses competitive have also put them in the crosshairs of cyber attackers. The security of our online data and finances is a huge concern for America’s small businesses, both in terms of being targeted by a cyber-attack as well as the potential for unnecessary regulatory burdens that could accompany efforts to stem online attacks.

NSBA was pleased to see two bills introduced this week that aim to equip small businesses with the necessary resources to prevent a cyber-attack. Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee’s cyber subcommittee, Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.) introduced the bipartisan Small Business Cyber Security Training Act. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to give Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) across the country up to $350,000 each year to create a cyber training program for their counselors to better assist small businesses. The bill aims to establish a cyber counseling certification program at SBDCs to become better trained to assist small businesses with their cybersecurity and cyber strategy needs. Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) and Dwight Evans (D-Pa.) are co-sponsors of the bill.

“As both a member of the House Small Business Committee and Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Cybersecurity Subcommittee, I have seen how difficult it is for small businesses to arm themselves against these kinds of attacks due to resource constraints. It is my hope that this bipartisan legislation will be an impactful first step to getting small businesses the training they need to protect themselves from cybercriminals,” Rep. Garbarino said.

Next, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fl.) and House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) introduced the bipartisan Small Business Advanced Cybersecurity Enhancements Act of 2021. The act aims to create proactive partnerships between small businesses and the government to help protect small businesses from criminal cyber-attacks. To reduce the number of small businesses that are reluctant to report cases of cyber-fraud and hacks, the legislation also expands liability protections for participating small businesses that engage with the federal government in good faith. Co-Sponsors of this legislation include Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.).

“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.

The security of our online data and finances is a huge concern for America’s small businesses, both in terms of being targeted by a cyber-attack as well as the potential for unnecessary regulatory burdens that could accompany efforts to stem online attacks.

NSBA believes that establishing streamlined guidelines and protocols to ensure the protection and security of online data and financials is crucial, but lawmakers also need to avoid a knee-jerk reaction that would place a disproportionate burden on America’s smallest firms.

Read the NSBA Issue Brief on Cybersecurity and Financial Protection here.