March 10, 2017
Washington, DC – Kendall Forward, OAN Political Correspondent
The House Small Business Committee is working on ways ensure the federal government can ensure small businesses have the tools they need to protect themselves from cyber threats.
Cyber crimes are becoming more malicious and more commonplace. In the increasingly technology driven, international community, the House Committee passed legislation for “Small Business Development Centers”, and continues to focus on how small businesses can defend themselves, with far fewer resources than their bigger counterparts.
Scott Hamilton owns Hamilton’s Bar and Grill on Capital Hill. He says, “if they were able to access our bank accounts they could wipe us out,” referring to the idea of a security breach. “If we were to lose that we couldn’t pay our employees or our rent or anything like that.”
Chairman of the House Small Business Committee, Rep. Steve Chabot works on the problem with his committee. He says, “the bad actors are out there hitting a whole bunch of small business folks, who may not have their defenses up to the degree that larger companies and corporations can.”
According to Chabot, cybersecurity attacks cost small businesses an average of 200 thousand dollars, and lead to 60% closing their doors within in 6 months of the attack. An even more astounding number— 70% of cyber attacks, coming from both at home and abroad, target businesses with 100 employees or less.
“The unfortunate thing is they’re getting more sophisticated,” says Chabot. “So those of us that want to defend and help small businesses defend against these attacks, we have to get more sophisticated.”
At Hamilton’s, Scott added extra measures to protect himself, and his customers. “Through our P.O.S., through our credit card processor, there’s one form of it, and we actually just started working with a secondary company.” He says his concern is much bigger than his own accounts; “the most important thing we deal with is people’s credit card data which is encrypted.”
However, Scott is in the minority, the House Committee reported in a recent hearing that only 30% of small businesses guard against cyber attacks. The Committee is working to bring the small business community together, and use the resources of the established “Small Business Development Centers”.
“There are thousands of these S.B.D.C.s across the country,” says Chabot. “We need to make sure they’re reaching out so the 28 million small businesses all across America, and they know these services are available.”