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Ways to Protect Your Nonprofit from Cyber Attacks

By: Total Computer Solutions

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Do you think your nonprofit business is immune from cyber threats? You might want to think again. According to an article from The Balance Small Business, nonprofits with a website ending in .org are more likely targets for hackers, as they tend to be more highly ranked on search engines such as Google, which makes them more visible online than other small businesses. In addition, nonprofits are often the collectors of sensitive data about donors, including payment card information, addresses, and even social security numbers. Suffice it to say, if you're haven't been thinking about securing your data, it's time to start. Here are some tips to help get you on your way:

1. Assess Your Risks

According to advice from the National Council of Nonprofits, more secure data must begin with a conversation about what data is being collected on people, what your nonprofit is doing with this data, and how the data is being stored. Many nonprofits discover while assessing their data that they've been collecting information that they don't really need or that their data storage methods could be streamlined. 

In addition to assessing the data you collect, you also should assess your network security. Some questions to consider include how secure your passwords are, how up to date your devices are, whether your files are shared with the appropriate personnel, and more. Getting an experienced consultant to work with you can greatly help not only to identify possible security risks, but also to develop a plan that addresses those risks.

2. Consider the Age of Your Operating System and Equipment

According to The Balance's article, a lot of nonprofits are still using Windows XP, in spite of the age of the operating system and the fact that Microsoft has stopped supporting or sending patches for Windows XP. The older your operating system, network, or equipment, the more at risk of data breaches you are, the article states.

3. Make Sure Your Employees Are On the Same Page

Don't assume that your employees and volunteers know all there is to know about cyber security or how to prevent malicious attacks. Consider professional training to help ensure that everyone who works for your nonprofit understands the importance of data security. In addition, The Balance article recommends having strict policies as to what employees and volunteers can download off the internet from the business computers, with a requirement that these downloads are approved by a supervisor or IT personnel.

4. Consider the Cloud

For the latest in data security and cost effectiveness, consider cloud based software and systems. The cloud features automated virus protections and updates, as well as continuous monitoring to keep your data safe from intrusions. Additionally, cloud solutions give your nonprofit the ability to bring information back online quickly and efficiently in the event of a disaster.

5. Be Careful With Social Media

While social media is an amazing tool for marketing your nonprofit and extending your outreach, it can also be a place where hackers can easily gain access to your information and the information about your business and its donors. Be careful of the personal information you place on your nonprofit's social media page. Be particularly careful not to use the same passwords for your social media accounts as you do for your business accounts or websites. 

The Bottom Line

As a nonprofit, your donors and the people you serve trust you. A data breach could cause that trust to be broken. If you're in need of expert consultation regarding the data security of your nonprofit, Total Computer Solutions can help. Contact us today to learn more about the solutions we provide for all of your data security needs.