Like any other business, nonprofit organizations are not immune to the cybersecurity threats. They face the same security challenges as any other enterprise. Unfortunately, most of the nonprofits have small IT teams instead of dedicated IT security specialists. Since they have to collect payments and they maintain donor information too, hackers can launch phishing attacks to get access to sensitive client information. A nonprofit named “Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation” became a victim of BEC attack a few years ago. Attackers attempted to impersonate the nonprofit and accessed the donor’s information.
The threats are real and if you are a nonprofit, it is time for you to deploy some defenses to bolster your security. Here are 4 ways you can do that:
Boost cybersecurity by working with state partners
Nonprofits cannot just approach the state to seek financial assistance, but information too. Consider the example of Massachusetts State that allows nonprofits to apply for grants from the Dept. of Homeland Security. The primary focus of these grants to it’s to improve security against terrorist attacks but they are also offering cybersecurity training.
All nonprofit organizations must inquire whether the customer data they collect and maintain is covered by the regulations of their state as PII (Personally Identifiable Information). If it is, then they law requires them to inform the victims about any data breach and to dispose of this data in certain ways. It is recommended to buy cybersercuity insurance for covering costs such as repairs to the website after the attack, public relations assistance after the breach and the cost of notifying the donors that their information has been compromised.
Assess your cybersecurity needs
It is the responsibility of each organization to assess its cybersecurity risks and for that, it must perform the enterprise-wide vulnerability assessments. An IT service partner can be hired for this purpose too. These assessments include penetration testing, data loss prevention risk assessments, security and whitehat hacker assessments and more. Non profits need to implement a comprehensive Information security program for identifying the vulnerabilities and to update the existing program. It is important to implement policies around access control, password strengthening, patch management, data classification etc.
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Form a cyber security committee
If you don’t have a security team, it is time you develop a committee that includes reps from all key departments of the organization. This committee will be responsible for the governance strategy of the organization and it will establishment policies, teams and processes for privacy, and data protection.
Use the online resources for IT security
To enhance its security, a nonprofit can always turn to the resources and toolkits available online. They can even take help from the cybersecurity tutorial by Google. The IT team of your organization must keep up with the trends in cybersecurity. Whenever necessary, hire the cybersecurity experts to boost your organization’s IT security.
Along with taking all the measures above, it is important to train your employees in security principles. All of them must follow the security best practices and principles to protect customer information as well as the organization’s information.