Senate passes small business cybersecurity legislation

Senate passes small business cybersecurity legislation
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The Senate passed legislation Thursday that would require the federal government to offer more tools to small businesses to guard their networks from cyber threats.

The legislation offered by Sens. James Risch (R-Idaho) and Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOvernight Energy: Warren bill would force companies to disclose climate impacts | Green group backs Gillum in Florida gov race | Feds to open refuge near former nuke site Warren wants companies to disclose more about climate change impacts Congress just failed our nation’s veterans when it comes to medical marijuana MORE (D-Hawaii) directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to publish and disseminate resources to small businesses that choose to use the cybersecurity framework produced by the institute.

NIST, a standards laboratory under the Department of Commerce, produces and updates a cybersecurity framework for public and private entities.

Both Risch and Schatz cheered the passage of the bill, citing the massive Equifax data breach earlier this month as the most recent reminder of stark cyber threats to businesses and other organizations. 

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“All too often, these kinds of attacks on businesses—big and small—leave Americans exposed. That’s why we wrote this legislation, so that American small businesses have the tools they need to beef up their cybersecurity and prepare to fight back,” Schatz said in a statement.

Risch said the legislation “will help America’s small business owners safeguard against cyber threats and better position them to protect their assets, customers, and employees.”

“The recent Equifax hack is the latest example of the many vulnerabilities that exist and why we must take urgent, proactive steps to prevent cyber-attacks on small businesses in addition to individuals,” Risch said. 

The Senate Commerce Committee swiftly approved the legislation in April after it was introduced. It has a slate of bipartisan cosponsors, including Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGoogle says it continues to allow apps to access Gmail user data Fight looms over national privacy law Want to improve health care? Get Americans off of their couches MORE (R-S.D.), the committee chair, and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonMidterm polling data favors Democrats — in moderation Poll: Nelson and Scott tied in Florida Senate race Nelson campaign to donate K from Al Franken group to charity MORE (D-Fla.), the ranking member.