Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced bipartisan legislation today to provide additional cybersecurity resources to small businesses. S. 2735,  The Small Business Advanced Cybersecurity Enhancements Act of 2018, would create cybersecurity assistance units at Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) throughout the country. These new units will serve as a friendly point-of-contact for small businesses that suffer a cyber-attack. Giving small businesses somewhere to turn when they have been attacked will help them find a solution, and it will help prevent more attacks in the future. Similar legislation passed committee in the House of Representatives. 

“While the internet is a necessary tool for small businesses in the competitive marketplace, it also presents a real vulnerability to their information and operations,” said Senator Risch. “Cyber-attacks are increasingly aimed at small businesses, who are entrusted with the valuable personal and financial details of their clients. For the small mom-and-pops that don’t have the resources to invest in specialized equipment or employees, cyber-attacks can be an existential threat. This bill will offer small businesses a safe place nearby to turn to when a threat or attack happens.”

“In an increasingly interconnected society, it is critical that small businesses have the resources and support to protect against damaging cyber-attacks that often have devastating consequences,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan legislation will bolster cyber-resources and information sharing for small businesses in Michigan and across the country, while allowing small businesses to focus on doing what they do best: serve customers in their community.”

Cyber-attacks can have devastating effects on small businesses, which operate on narrow margins and with less capital. An unexpected breach can result in permanent loss of essential data, customers taking their business elsewhere, or the business shutting its doors. To combat this, the Small Business Advanced Cybersecurity Enhancements Act of 2018 would:

  • Establish SBDCs as the primary liaison for federal information sharing for small businesses;
  • Ensure that small businesses engaging with SBDCs receive the same protections provided for individuals who make disclosures under the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA); and
  • Coordinate expertise from several federal agencies to provide small businesses with the best resources to prevent and recover from cyber-attacks. 

This bill has received broad support from groups such as ACT |The App Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Realtors Association.