Senate Passes Cybersecurity Legislation Aimed at Small Businesses

cybersecurity

The U.S. Senate on Thursday unanimously passed the Making Available Information Now to Strengthen Trust and Resilience and Enhance Enterprise Technology (MAIN STREET) Cybersecurity Act. The bipartisan bill will provide a consistent set of resources for small businesses to best protect their digital assets from cybersecurity threats.

The legislation was introduced by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Ranking Member of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, and James Risch (R-Idaho), Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

“The Equifax breach is one of the many recent reminders that cyberattacks are not going away,” said Senator Schatz. “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.”

“This legislation will help America’s small business owners safeguard against cyber threats and better position them to protect their assets, customers, and employees,” said Senator Risch. “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. I thank Senate leaders for their timeliness in passing this bill today.”

In 2014, the Senate unanimously passed the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014, which codified the industry-led process for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, a comprehensive voluntary guide for organizations and businesses to better manage and reduce cybersecurity risks.

While this framework continues to play a key role in improving the cyber resilience of the United States, additional coordinated resources may be necessary to improve the ability of small businesses to use it. The MAIN STREET Cybersecurity Act will ensure NIST considers the needs of small businesses as it updates the framework and provide simplified, consistent resources based on the NIST framework specifically for small businesses.