The SBA Cyber Awareness Act: What you need to know

No business — whether large or small — is completely immune from cyberattacks. The unfortunate truth is that small businesses are especially vulnerable — but that doesn't mean they're helpless. By choosing savvy leaders and dependable tech experts for your team, you can build a solid approach and take full advantage of goverment support.

On November 2, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two pieces of legislation with the goal of protecting and empowering small businesses against cybersecurity threats. Here's what you need to know to empower your teams:

Why cybersecurity legislation is important

Small businesses are often a cybercriminal's first target. This can be based on a variety of elements, including:

  • Insufficient resources.
  • Failure to remain vigilant.
  • Minimal dedication to digital literacy.
  • Lack of technical expertise.
  • Poorly utilized cybersecurity solutions.
  • Improperly managed remote workforces.

Even something as benign as an unprotected network printer can quickly become a doorway for cybercriminals. When small businesses are unaware of the dangers they face, they're more likely to allow their cybersecurity protocols to become compromised or stagnant, leading to an increased risk of attack.

"Cyberattacks are on the rise and small businesses are increasingly vulnerable," said Rep. Andrew Garbarino according to The Hill. "Nearly 50% of cyberattacks are directed at small businesses, which can result in devastating financial, intellectual property and reputational loss."

So what can small businesses do to protect themselves, their clients and their employees? The first step is to hire the right people. From IT experts to leaders with experience spearheading effective cybersecurity strategies, it makes sense to outfit your company with the best and brightest in tech. Having smart, reliable people on the inside helps defend against threats on the outside.

As you build up your tech-savvy teams, the U.S. government continues to create new avenues for support — as is made clear by recent legislation.

Cybersecurity is especially critical for small businesses.Cybersecurity is especially critical for small businesses.

What to expect

The House passed two bills related to small business cybersecurity. Those bills are:

The SBA Cyber Awareness Act
According to the U.S. Congress website, "This bill requires the Small Business Administration (SBA) to annually report specified information related to cybersecurity awareness."

This legislation requires the SBA to be candid about its own experiences, struggles and solutions in the cybersecurity world. The Congress website explains that each report must cover detailed information related to the SBA's management of data, including:

  • Assessment of IT and cybersecurity infrastructure.
  • Recommended improvements to this infrastructure.
  • Accounts of any IT equipment manufactured by a China-based company.
  • Any cybersecurity "risk or incident" that occurred in the past two years.
  • A report on the actions taken to address each risk/incident.

The vote to pass this bill was unanimous, according to Small Business Trends.

The Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act
To further protect small businesses and their cybersecurity interests, the House also passed the Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act, which addresses issues like lack of vigilance and awareness. According to The Hill, the bill's goal is to help Small Business Development Centers better serve companies in the cybersecurity sphere; to do this, a cybersecurity counseling certification program will be offered.

"Small businesses are targeted because they often lack the resources or technical knowledge needed to implement and maintain cybersecurity defenses," said Garbarino, one of the bill's primary sponsors. "This bill combats this by helping Small Business Development Centers become better equipped to assist small businesses with their cybersecurity and cyber strategy needs."

Defending your data

Although these bills have the potential to help protect small businesses from cybersecurity threats, it's also necessary to take your own precautions. Many of these preventive measures are related to the task of hiring reliable, tech-savvy individuals for key roles in your organization.

YES Partners can help you find and hire these individuals. Click here to see just a few of the roles we've successfully placed.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people for all company functions, across many industries.

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