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SBA Launches Cybersecurity Online Training Initiative

SBA Launches Cybersecurity Online Training Initiative

The United States Small Business Administration recently announced a new partnership with Oak Ridge, Tennessee-based security firm Synergy Solutions, to launch a new cybersecurity online training initiative. The company is known for its administrative and professional support services for nuclear facilities.

The training initiative features online courses at the beginner and intermediate levels. There are ten modules, which are designed to educate small businesses about cybersecurity and steps they can take to protect their companies' assets and intellectual properties.

The classes are free, and are available on a first come, first serve basis. They will allow for 50 participants at a time. The beginner course includes modules with titles like, "Why Cybersecurity," "Cybersecurity Basics," "Endpoint Security," "Network Security," and "Data Security." Each one includes live, instructor-based events. The intermediate course has modules like, "Security Frameworks and Standards," "Laws and Regulatory Compliance," Breaches, Security Crises, and Incident Response," "Prevention and Remediation," and "Management Responsibilities and the Cyber Future."

Topics covered include: secure passwords, malware, privacy, data breaches, safe computing, online scams, mobile protection, phishing, government generated frameworks, and cybersecurity pertaining to federal contractors.

If any of these sound like subjects you're not an expert on and you run an eligible business, it might be a good idea to seek out the courses and register as cybersecurity is arguably the biggest threat facing small businesses today. Keep in mind, these courses are free.

Robb Wong, Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development at the SBA, commented, “I am impressed by the thoroughness of this cybersecurity training as it provides timely and vital help to all of our SBA small business clients. Ostensibly, it helps businesses with best-practices to reduce digital threats to a company’s data and information which is often central to their business operations.”

Wong was appointed to his position by Administrator Linda McMahon in May.

The courses are part of the SBA's 7(j) assistance program, which is administered through the administration's Office of Management and Technical Assistance Program. Its stated mission is to "provide high-quality assistance and executive training to eligible small businesses."

Eligible businesses include those that are owned and controlled by economically and socially disadvantaged individuals, are in areas of high unemployment or low income, are owned by low-income individuals, and are certified 8(a) participants or HUBZone small businesses; or economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses.

Small businesses are increasingly worried about the threat of cyberattacks. A recent study from Carbonite found that 74% of small business owners are concerned that politicians are not doing enough to protect businesses against attacks.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (per The Hill), a proposed small business cyber bill, introduced by Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL 11th District), that aims to help small businesses improve their cybersecurity would cost $6 million to implement. The legislation would mean the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) would develop guidelines, tools, and resources to help small businesses secure their systems. At the time of this writing, the bill has yet to pass either the House or the Senate.