Several IT and technology groups have separately brought up an interesting question – do states and SMBs need cybersecurity funding to survive? The issue was first brought up in April by network service provider association IT Nation, quickly followed by calls from similar organizations and even groups of lawmakers for the matter to be brought before Congress. This included line items for the upcoming stimulus bill being put together by House Democrats, however, security funding language has since been removed from the current version of the $3 trillion package, as of this writing.
Assistance and Loans for Small Business Cybersecurity
IT Nation, a peer community made up of managed IT service providers, value-added resellers, and other technology firms, has been at the forefront of the SMB stimulus proposal. Several executives from ITN’s founder, ConnectWise, have been very vocal about the importance cybersecurity infrastructure plays and called on ITN members to help raise awareness. The problem lies in how many small businesses may be strapped for cash and unable – or unwilling – to invest in their network security during difficult times.
ConnectWise, Cisco and many other technology companies have established several programs for financially assisting SMBs and partners suffering from COVID-19 disruptions. As ConnectWise’s VP of Consulting, Brad Schow, explains on IT Nation’s forum, the lack of cybersecurity spending combined with the massive shift to working from home can put American business at increased risk as a whole. “These cost cutting moves will lead to a weakening of the overall security position of the United States business environment and will impact the ability for employees to successfully return to work in the future.”
Big Tech Groups Want IT Spending to be Included in Stimulus
IT service providers are not alone in worrying about the effect coronavirus will have on the US’s security posture. Several technology coalitions, representing big names like Amazon, Google and Microsoft, called on Congress to approve spending for modernizing IT infrastructure for state and local governments. Elected officials joined the chorus and also requested that the upcoming stimulus bill include funding for their districts.
Though cybersecurity was a key point of these proposals, it was only part of a greater call to action around improving the quality and reach of local government’s network technology. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of Internet connectivity, but many communities lack the infrastructure to host a high-speed Wi-Fi network that reaches every resident. It has also forced many government employees to work from home, and those without any secure devices may end up exposing municipal databases and servers to cyber attack
Cybersecurity for States, Cities and SMBs
Cybersecurity funding for state and local governments is not a new concept – in fact, it was one of two key proposals in a NY bill put forward earlier in 2020, the other being banning ransomware payments. In addition to several other local initiatives in the same period, both the House and Senate saw bipartisan support for multiple federal versions of similar legislation from 2019 into the new year. The massive shift to a remote work environment has accelerated the momentum for these types of recommendations and many proponents hope the realities of the COVID-19 shutdown lead to an overhaul of the USA’s cyber infrastructure.
The topic of cybersecurity funding specifically for small businesses has not had as much noise, though it is being picked by voices besides IT Nation’s. This may change if the new normal persists and the interconnectivity of so many networks exposes the growing remote workforce to greater cyber risk. However, until it becomes a greater focus of the conversation, for now SMBs can seek alternative means to secure assistance through other programs available, in addition to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Ask SWK About Cost-Effective Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is a necessity, but can also be a significant investment for small business. SWK offers a variety of cybersecurity solutions and can help you find one that will fit your budget in these uncertain times.
Contact SWK now to help you find a cybersecurity solution that fits your budget in these uncertain times.