(Washington, DC)—The Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship today voted unanimously to approve the SBA Cyber Awareness Act—legislation introduced by Chairman Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) to ensure that the information technology (IT) systems at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are protected from cyber criminals. Cardin issued the following statement applauding the unanimous passage of the bill:

“Thousands of borrowers, lenders and small businesses share confidential and personally identifiable information with the SBA every year and we must do all we can to keep their data out of the hands of cybercriminals. While the SBA has been making progress on improving its internal cybersecurity capabilities, this legislation will help the SBA meet its cyber goals faster and provide important congressional oversight.”

The bill addresses an October 2018 SBA Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, which found in a 12-month review that the SBA had made “substantial progress” toward modernizing its IT capabilities, but still required action. The SBA’s 2018 “IT leadership” score was a noted improvement from years prior, when the OIG found that the agency had made “limited progress” or “no progress” toward improving it’s IT infrastructure.

Specifically, the bill would require the SBA to:

  • assess its internal cybersecurity, including determining the countries-of-origin for its IT products;
  • develop an agency cyber strategy and report the strategy to the Senate and House Small Business Committees after the bill is enacted and annually thereafter; and
  • report to the Senate and House small Business committees on actions taken to secure agency data and systems, newly identified threats and breaches, and any actions taken to mitigate breaches and threats.

In addition to passing the Cardin-Rubio bill, the Committee affirmed the following bills and nomination:

  • The Small Business Cyber Training Act, which was introduced by Rubio and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to create a program to train the counselors at Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) across the country in cyber strategy assistance.
  • The Rebuilding Small Businesses After Disasters Act—legislation to allow SBA to permanently increase the unsecured loan limit from $14,000 to $25,000 for physical damage loans under an SBA disaster declaration. The bill is sponsored by Senators John Kennedy (R-La.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rubio.
  • The nomination of David C. Tryon to be Chief Counsel for the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Video of the entire hearing is available here.