WASHINGTON – President Trump yesterday signed into law a bipartisan bill backed by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill that will help Missouri small businesses protect themselves against cyberattacks by expanding resources designed to help them safeguard their digital data.
“Cybersecurity has become one of those issues that impacts every part of life, leaving small businesses vulnerable because they often do not have the resources and expertise of a big corporation to protect themselves from a cyberattack,” said McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “Small businesses are part of the lifeblood of Missouri, employing more than one million Missourians, so I’m glad to see the President join me in making sure business owners have the tools they need to secure their systems.”
The NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act will ensure that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) considers the needs of small businesses as it updates its guide for how organizations and businesses can better manage and reduce cybersecurity risks. According to U.S. Small Business Administration data, small businesses in Missouri make up 99.4 percent of all Missouri businesses. The state has 523,459 small businesses, employing over one million workers. A December 2016 report from the Missouri Cybersecurity Task Force called for increased support for small businesses around cybersecurity threats: “Many organizations around the State of Missouri lack the necessary resources to properly protect themselves from cybersecurity attacks…. Smaller organizations, including small businesses, schools, hospitals, banks, local government, and local utilities, deliver many essential services to Missouri citizens.”
McCaskill has long supported Congressional action to address the nation’s vulnerability to cyberattacks. In June, she introduced a bipartisan bill to safeguard against supply chain threats to national security. That month, she also voted to confirm the Administration’s pick for the top cybersecurity official at the Department of Homeland Security. In April, the Senate approved a McCaskill-backed bill to strengthen cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security. She led a bipartisan effort to reinforce and enhance the Department of Homeland Security’s role in protecting the country’s cybersecurity by creating the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency within the Department, a change the Department of Homeland Security resoundingly supports.
Following the Equifax hack last year, McCaskill continued her push for her legislation to empower consumers by enhancing the accuracy of their credit reports and making it easier to dispute potential errors. Following the Office of Personnel Management data breach, which compromised the personal information of at least 21.5 million individuals, McCaskill and a group of bipartisan Senators introduced language that was signed into law increasing the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to protect federal civilian networks from cyberattacks.