Cybersecurity and it’s small business impact

On September 29th, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the launch of a new cybersecurity initiative called CyberOhio.  This new initiative is specifically geared towards protecting Ohio’s businesses from cyber-attacks, but is expected to have a subsequent positive impact on consumers.  CyberOhio is in addition to the Attorney General’s Cybersecurity Help, Information, and Protection Program (CHIPP) which has been around since 2014 but focused on personal consumer concerns.

CyberOhio has five initial components:

•Creation of a Cybersecurity Advisory Board, composed of industry experts and business leaders- this board will provide guidance for the Attorney General’s office initiatives on cybersecurity.

•Exploring draft legislation to improve the legal cybersecurity environment in Ohio for businesses and consumers.

•Cybersecurity training opportunities including a cybersecurity business summit to be held in the spring of 2017 and cybersecurity trainings for small businesses.

•Expanding the Ohio Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit to assist businesses with cybersecurity and data privacy.

•Encourage more cybersecurity workforce personnel, including through the creation of collaborative internship opportunities between businesses and Ohio colleges and universities.

The Cybersecurity Advisory Board has already been selected, including the chairman of the board, Kirk Herath, Chief Privacy Officer at Nationwide Financial Services.  The board is comprised of other industry experts, from corporate chief information officers to military system administrators.  Since the initiative is in its early stages, it is unclear what types of legislative options will be proposed.  Since it is already mid-October, the legislation prong of CyberOhio will likely be on deck for next year.

One critical piece of CyberOhio are the training opportunities it will provide to small businesses beginning next spring.  Small businesses often do not have the means to employ a full-time IT professional to oversee the security of their network or data.  And, while more attention is given to large corporations when they are hacked, a similar attacks on small business could become so costly that it could setback the overall growth of the firm or put them out of business entirely.  Therefore, small business owners seek no-cost or low-cost cybersecurity educational materials and information.  Data hacks can damage trust and loyalty among customers so it is imperative for businesses of all sizes to dedicate adequate resources towards their prevention.

On Wednesday, October 19th at 9:30 AM during the next Ohio Small Business Council meeting, staff from the Ohio Attorney General’s office will be on hand to present the new initiative as well as answer general cybersecurity questions.  If you are able to attend or have any questions, please contact Brandon Ogden, Director of the Ohio Small Business Council.