Bill Would Direct NIST to Help Small Businesses With Cybersecurity

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Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., on Thursday introduced the NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act, which directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology director to disseminate guidelines, tools, best practices, standards, and methodologies for small businesses to improve their cybersecurity.

“America’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy, accounting for more than half of all American jobs and a critical part of the job market in my district,” said Webster. “As an owner of a multigenerational small business, I understand the importance of equipping and empowering small businesses to tackle challenges so they can grow and prosper. This bill will provide small businesses in my district, state, and across the country with the tools they need to meet the threats and challenges of the modern world.”

The bill is cosponsored by both Democrats and Republicans, including Research and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., and House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas.

“This legislation is vital to ensuring our small businesses have the technical understanding they need to keep their confidential business and customer information secure,” said Smith. “Small businesses frequently don’t have the expertise to adequately monitor and protect their computer systems, making them especially susceptible to crippling cyberattacks. The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s unique position as a global leader in cybersecurity knowledge and readiness provides the impetus for a public-private cybersecurity partnership to generate simplified guidance that small businesses can implement to increase their cyber resilience across the board.”

NIST released a small business cybersecurity guide in November 2016, but experts have still expressed concerns that larger businesses will end up dictating cyber norms.

“We must do everything we can to ensure our small businesses, which make up a substantial portion of our economy and employ almost four and a half million workers in my home state of Texas, have the necessary capabilities to protect themselves,” said Smith. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this crucial legislation passed and sent to the president’s desk quickly.”

This House bill is a companion to the Senate MAIN STREET Cybersecurity Act, which was introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in March.

Jessie Bur
About Jessie Bur
Jessie Bur is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Cybersecurity, FedRAMP, GSA, Congress, Treasury, DOJ, NIST and Cloud Computing.
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