Technological advances have brought the web from living solely on computers to being part of virtually everything we use on a daily basis,which means the threat of a security breach can come from almost anywhere at any time.

As the leaders of any tech company or government agency would tell you, their networks and cyber defenses are being attacked all day, every day. Where does that leave small and medium-sized businesses?

To help answer that question, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce brought together cybersecurity leaders from both the public and private sectors on Thursday, May 22 at the Intercontinental Chicago to explore the 2014 Cybersecurity Framework and what it means to businesses of all sizes. The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce partnered on the event, with Chamber President and CEO Theresa E. Mintle delivering the opening remarks.

On February 12, 2014 the White House released the first version of the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, which is a process designed to help organizations start a cybersecurity program or improve an existing one. The framework was developed in collaboration with public and private organizations, including companies, trade associations, and the U.S. Chamber’s Cybersecurity Working Group.

Experts from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois National Guard, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service, FBI, and private companies all came

together through this event to help organizations understand their current cybersecurity posture, set goals for improvement, monitor progress, and foster communications with their internal and external stakeholders.

In addition to laying out the key components to the framework and answering questions from attendees, the speakers urged all businesses in attendance, specifically small and medium-sized companies, to invest in cybersecurity risk management, know whom to call in case of an incident, and stay engaged with local chambers and partner organizations as the framework evolves over time.

The key takeaway from the event was that collaboration – between public and private, local Chambers, law enforcement, and businesses large and small – to share information and resources is essential to creating a model framework that can serve the rest of the world.

Click here for more information on the U.S. Chamber’s Cybersecurity Education and Awareness Campaign.