New cybersecurity legislation was recently passed that aims to help smaller government contractors in their efforts to safeguard sensitive customer data. The NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act requires the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to issue guidance and resources, within the next year, to help small- and medium-sized businesses identify, assess, and reduce cybersecurity risks. Partly in response to the rising number of cyberattacks targeting small businesses, the legislation is the latest in a series of efforts more broadly focused on supply chain security throughout the procurement process. Under the Act, NIST must also:

  • Ensure future resources can vary with the nature and size of the small business, as well as the nature and sensitivity of the data handled.
  • Encourage the use of technology neutral, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions.
  • Promote awareness of basic controls, a workplace cybersecurity culture, and third-party stakeholder relationships.