Peters Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Boost Small Business Cybersecurity

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced he has introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to improve cybersecurity resources for small businesses. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Cyber Training Act will expand efforts to train SBDC employees to become certified in cyber strategy counseling. Peters introduced the legislation in the Senate with Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Chair of the Senate Small Business Committee, John Kennedy (R-LA) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). U.S. Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH), Chair of the House Small Business Committee, and Dwight Evans (D-PA) introduced the companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“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,” said Senator Peters. “I’m pleased to support this bipartisan bill, which builds on efforts to educate business owners on ways to improve cyber defenses so that small businesses can focus on what they do best: creating jobs, fostering economic growth and driving innovation.”

“Entrepreneurs – particularly in rural areas – depend on online sales and marketing to commercialize their businesses, leaving them incredibly vulnerable to cyber risks,” said Senator Risch. “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.”

“Many small business owners lack the capital and expertise they need to prevent a cybersecurity attack. 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.  Providing cybersecurity training to lead small business development center employees will broaden their expertise to help more small businesses prevent an attack and potentially help save their companies,” said Chairman Chabot.

“Our small business owners and entrepreneurs are the engines that drive people to live, grow and succeed in our neighborhoods. We know that our small business community faces increasing cyber threats in our ever changing and evolving global economy. I am proud to join with my colleagues in the House and Senate to introduce bipartisan legislation that equips our small business owners and entrepreneurs with the resources they need to keep their businesses safe, secure and protected. Our small businesses depend on the essential resources that our Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) provide and I will continue to set forth legislation that allows our small businesses and SBDC’s to continue to thrive and prosper,” said Rep. Evans.

The SBDC Cyber Training Act would require a percentage of SBDC employees to become certified in cyber strategy counseling, an approach that has proven effective for other areas including export trade counseling. Without costing taxpayers more money, the legislation would utilize already existing Small Business Administration (SBA) conferences to provide cyber strategy training to at least 10 percent of SBDC employees. The legislation will build on the SBA’s existing expertise in training small businesses and allow the SBA to create new training programs and certify existing cyber education at SBDCs.

Michigan is home to 11 SBDC regional offices, which served over 5,500 businesses in 2016. Last year, Peters, a member of the Senate Cybersecurity caucus, introduced bipartisan legislation that was signed into law to enable SBDCs to work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to assist small businesses in planning for and protecting against cyber security attacks.