09.22.16

House Approves Hanna Cyber Bill to Protect Small Businesses

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives last night passed U.S. Representative Richard Hanna’s bill, the Improving Small Business Cyber Security Act of 2016, to help small businesses protect themselves from cyberattacks.

American small businesses are under cyberattack like never before. By one estimate, 71 percent of cyberattacks occurred in businesses with fewer than 100 employees. With America’s 28 million small businesses making up 54 percent of annual sales in the U.S., the frequency of such attacks and the high costs they create for small businesses could have ripple effects throughout our economy.

Small businesses are often not prepared to prevent cyberattacks or easily recover from the damages of successful intrusions. A report by Internet security firm McAfee found that 90 percent of small businesses do not use updated protocols for protecting sensitive consumer information and a separate study determined that 83 percent of small businesses do not have a cybersecurity plan. Statistics show that nearly 60 percent of small businesses will close within six months after a cyberattack. 

That is why Rep. Hanna (R-NY) introduced this legislation in April with original co-sponsor, Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA). Since then, the bill has continued to gain bipartisan support and Wednesday evening was approved by voice vote.

“This bipartisan measure makes sense and helps our small businesses protect themselves like never before,” Rep. Hanna said. “A cyberattack can destroy a business and most mom-and-pop shops do not have the technical expertise to protect against an attack. This bill eases the burden on small businesses by providing access to tools, resources and expertise through Small Business Development Centers.”

“I’m proud the House passed our bipartisan bill to help small businesses," Rep. Kilmer said. “Increasingly, local employers are utilizing technology and online sales to grow their businesses. That makes it all the more important that the federal government gives them the tools they need to combat cyberattacks and protect their bottom lines.”

The Improving Small Business Cyber Security Act of 2016 will help entrepreneurs take steps to protect themselves and their business from cybercrimes by providing them with the resources and support they need. To do this, the bill streamlines cyber support for small businesses by leveraging existing Federal programs and ensuring that the more than 900 Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) across the country have the tools, resources, and expert guidance to better meet the 21st century needs of small businesses in their communities.

The bill updates the Small Business Act and Homeland Security Act to authorize SBDCs to offer cyber support to small businesses in accordance with an SBDC Cyber Strategy, which is to be developed by the Department of Homeland Security in collaboration with the Small Business Administration. This strategy will provide guidance to SBDCs on how they can best leverage existing Federal resources to provide better access to much-needed cyber support services.

SUPPORT FOR THE BILL

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council):

“SBE Council and its 100,000 members nationwide strongly support H.R. 5064,”said Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO. “The bad guys don’t discriminate when it comes to cyberattacks, and unsuspecting small businesses are their perfect targets. We know these attacks are quite costly for small businesses, both in terms of real dollars and reputational loss. Many small businesses do not survive a cyberattack.”

National Small Business Association (NSBA):
“Keeping in mind the infrastructural limitation of small businesses, NSBA has long called for Congress to find ways to keep them abreast of these threats by providing clear, simple steps companies can follow when their data is breached while balancing the need for greater information sharing with privacy rights,” said Tom McCracken, President & CEO. “NSBA supports H.R. 5064 since it seeks to ensure the protection and security of online data and financials of small businesses across the nation through a combined effort of SBDCs and existing federal agencies dealing with small business cyberattacks.”

America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC):
“The threat of cyberattack faces every small business every day and has the potential to cost them not just money but their livelihoods,” said C. E. "Tee" Rowe, President and CEO. “This legislation will enable the Department of Homeland Security, SBA and the nationwide network of SBDCs to collaborate to provide small businesses with up-to-date commonsense responses to the threat of cybercrime.”