Senators Introduce Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act

The Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act proposed by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) on July 8, 2019 may provide business owners with access to government-level tools to secure small business against cyberattacks. At a time when cybersecurity emerges as a towering concern for every business with digitalized infrastructure, the new bill, if passed, may offer additional protection– but only to those entrepreneurs who are willing to give the matter their undivided attention.

Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act in action

The proposed Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act would give Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) the “all-clear” to work in close relation with the Department of Homeland Security. SBDCs may have access to Federal Government training programs, defense and response strategies regarding cybersecurity.

According to the Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act, this implies training sessions, webinars, online and offline events:

“The Secretary [of Homeland Security] shall provide periodic training sessions, online or in-person, to employees of small business development centers, and other federally affiliated small business-focused entities.”

The bill offered by Senators Peters and Rubio comes as a response to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report. Small business is one of the most vulnerable targets for cyberattacks: in 2018, small business data breaches accounted for 43% of cyberattacks, according to the Verizon report.


Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act gaps

One of the gaps in the Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act is the necessary partnership between small businesses and Small Business Development Centers that would serve as the link to Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity protection materials.

Presently, most U.S. small businesses do not use the resources provided by their local SBDCs and do not even know how to benefit from existing small business development programs. Further, a great percentage of business owners don’t even know about the existence of Small Business Development Centers or have no idea where the nearest one is located. As a result, SBDCs close down due to a paradoxical lack of interest on the behalf of small business owners.

Experts say the Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act may fall into the same pit as other Small Business Development Center programs unless no extra measures are taken to educate small business owners. This includes encouraging entrepreneurs to find SBDCs in their locale, gain deeper understanding of Small Business Administration training programs, and learn how to individually protect themselves against cyberattacks.


Don’t wait for the Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act to protect yourself

The new bill may or may not find itself approved by Congress in its existing form, but the danger of cyberattacks remains hanging over every single small business and online business out there. Here are two simple ways to protect yourself here and now:

Use Cloud tools to outsource data– By using Cloud tools, or Software as a Service (SaaS) tools instead of storing your private data on company servers, you’re cutting the chance of cyberattack on your servers. These days you can get fantastic accounting, communications, customer relationship management, and lots of other low-cost SaaS tools without waiting for the Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act or other legislature to protect your data.

Get cyber liability insurance – if you’re in the process of migrating into the Cloud or still have valuable business or customer data stored on your servers that may be prone to cyberattacks, consider cyber liability insurance for small business. This may be a more costly alternative than migrating your infrastructure to the Cloud,  but it may save you thousands of dollars in case of a single data breach of sensitive customer information.

Learn more

No one likes to imagine “worst-case scenarios” but cyberattacks are a real deal for small business and online business. The Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act is an important reminder to both take advantage of federal programs and learn to take personal responsibility for your business data.

For an in-depth view, read the proposed Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act. Complement the theory with 2019’s list of 12 best freemium SaaS tools for business to learn how to upgrade your protection with low-cost Cloud tools.



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