Congress

New bill would expand SBA cyber training

Shutterstock image: examining a line of code. 

Legislators from both chambers both parties have introduced legislation aimed at boosting cybersecurity training to help protect small businesses from digital threats.

Sens. Jim Risch (R-Ind.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) introduced the Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act, which would expand cybersecurity training programs sponsored by the Small Business Administration.

On the House side, Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Dwight Evans (D-Pa.) introduced companion legislation.

Specifically, the bills would expand existing SBA cyber education programs to train small business development center employees, and require at least one in 10 to become certified in cyber strategy counseling. The measures also would allow SBA to create new cybersecurity training programs, and to certify existing education programs at small business development centers.

"Entrepreneurs – particularly in rural areas – depend on online sales and marketing to commercialize their businesses, leaving them incredibly vulnerable to cyber risks," said Ritsch, who chairs the Senate Small Business Committee, in a statement. "With more than half of small businesses going out of business within six months of suffering a cyber-attack, it is incredibly important that we address this threat head on."

Peters, a member of the Senate Cybersecurity caucus, said, "Small businesses create two out of every three new jobs in our country each year, and they need the right tools and skills to identify cyber threats and protect their customers and their livelihoods."

Last Congress, Peters introduced a bill, which was signed into law, that allowed small business development centers to work with DHS to aide small businesses in preparing for and defending against cyberattacks.

"Many small business owners lack the capital and expertise they need to prevent a cybersecurity attack," Chabot said in a statement. "Unfortunately, one simple hit can destroy everything a small business owner has created. That's why we need to ensure small businesses have access to the best cybersecurity resources and information possible."

A press release accompanying the bill's introduction states that it will not entail any new costs and "will be a priority" in both the House and Senate Small Business Committees.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a former FCW staff writer.

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