Bipartisan Hanna bill would make small businesses more secure from threat of cyber attacks

Bipartisan legislation recently introduced by U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) would give small business owners and entrepreneurs resources to protect against cyber attacks.

Hanna and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) introduced the Small Business Cyber Security Act, H.R. 5064, to support cyber security planning and infrastructure improvements though Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) located around the country.

“Many small business owners don’t have the time or resources to plan for a cyberattack or keep up to date with rapidly changing technology,” Hanna said. “While programs exist at the federal level to provide cyber assistance to small businesses, what we’ve found is that they are not always assessable or well-coordinated. This bill would streamline and improve these resources, providing critical assistance to American entrepreneurs to help them safeguard their business transactions and protect information from thieves who want to do them harm.” 

Under the bill, SBDCs would be authorized to support small businesses through the SBDC Cyber Strategy that is to be developed by the Department of Homeland Security and the Small Business Administration.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” Kilmer said. “As more and more local employers use technology and have online customer transactions, the federal government needs to make sure they’re able to combat cyber attacks. Our bill would give small businesses key tools so they can develop a comprehensive plan for tackling cyber threats and better protect their bottom lines.”

Rochelle Layman, the director of the SBDC at Binghamton University in New York, said that the domestic and international threats posed to small businesses are not frequently discussed.

“Congressman Hanna’s bill, the Improving Small Business Cyber Security Act of 2016, is the first bill that seeks to address the small business threat – a threat that can kill a small business as well as expose its business partners to cyber security threats,” Layman said. “Rather than wait until a crisis develops, which most feel is coming, Congressman Hanna has recommended through his bill that the nation act decisively to lessen or eliminate that threat by improving the security of small businesses across the nation through a combined effort of Small Business Development Centers and existing federal Agencies dealing with the small business cyber attacks.”

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