By Mary Mosquera
June 10, 2008
Lawmakers have introduced legislation to help protect small businesses
from computer hackers and information security breaches.
On June 9, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) joined
Reps. Michael Michaud (D-Maine) and Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.) in
introducing versions of the Small Business Information Security Act of
2008 in both houses of Congress.
The measures would create a Small Business Information Security Task
Force at the Small Business Administration. The task force's goal would
be to help small firms understand and effectively respond to information
security vulnerabilities, said Nick Christiansen, a spokesman for the
Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.
Small businesses account for half of the country's economy and create
two-thirds of all new jobs, said Kerry, the committee's chairman.
"But we also must make sure that small businesses are armed to protect
themselves and their customers against hackers seeking financial and
personal data," he said. "Giving small businesses the tools to protect
sensitive information helps to strengthen our broader economy as well."
Establishing such a task force would be a step toward safeguarding small
companies and their customers, said Snowe, ranking member of the
committee. Many small businesses experience security breaches, do not
automatically scan e-mail messages for viruses, do not use encryption to
protect wireless networks and do not have an information security plan,
The task force would:
* Identify information security concerns and services to address
* Make recommendations to help SBA better assist small businesses in
understanding cybersecurity issues and identifying resources to
help meet those challenges.
* Promote current programs and services that would help small
businesses protect their customers. information.
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