Data leaks are escalating as threat actors use increasingly complex cybersecurity attacks to target companies that utilize remote working. And experts say that nonprofits are the most vulnerable sector nowadays — not only do nonprofits process sensitive donor, staff, and volunteer data, but they have weak cybersecurity.
Data theft can cripple a nonprofit:
- Recovery can cost anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to millions.
- A nonprofit’s reputation suffers irreparable damage after a cybersecurity attack.
- Nonprofits that fail to comply with data protection laws open themselves to government fines and litigation in public courts.
Let’s look at some technology that can help nonprofits enhance data security:
#1 CRM with Secure Data Management
Every other modern nonprofit uses a top constituent relationship management system nowadays to manage its key relationships with its clients, donors, backers, volunteers, and other constituents. When looking for such a tool, please ensure that your nonprofit CRM features secure data management:
- Centralized database that allows staff and volunteers to access information securely.
- Permissions-based systems that limit access to sensitive data and contact records on a need-to-know basis.
- Hosted on the best encrypted servers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant for the United States.
- Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) compliant for Canada.
- Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS) compliant for secure sensitive data processing.
#2 Virtual Private Network (VPN)
The usage of virtual private networks skyrocketed during the pandemic as home users and organizations sought to protect their privacy from threat actors. But what is a VPN? In a nutshell, it’s a service that creates an encrypted tunnel between a user and the Internet. When a snooper sees encrypted data, all they see is gibberish.
A VPN server also covers a user’s IP address with its own to mask the user’s identity. With a corporate VPN account, nonprofits can get more security and privacy online. A VPN is particularly useful for nonprofit workers that travel and use public WiFi networks. Such networks are more vulnerable to hacks but can be secured with a VPN.
When selecting a VPN for your nonprofit, please avoid free VPNs as some spy on users or sell their bandwidth. Subscribe to a reputable VPN service to secure your nonprofit’s information.
#3 Next-generation Firewall (NGFW)
A computer firewall secures your nonprofit’s network by filtering incoming and outgoing traffic. A NGFW goes the extra mile by examining data on a higher level to isolate and stop threats that may appear normal. Use a NGFW to protect your nonprofit network from malware, bad actors, and anomalies.
#4 Automated Backup Technology
Your nonprofit should be backing up essential data regularly. Cyber attacks aren’t the only threat. Hardware failure, natural disasters, and power failure can all disrupt operations. Automated backup technology ensures that your essential files and folders are recoverable.
Alternatively, consider migrating your assets to the cloud. At the very least, ensure that your CRM is a cloud-based solution for your security and convenience.
#5 Next-generation Antivirus
Trojans, spyware, keyloggers, ransomware, and viruses can all steal or corrupt your data. Next-generation antivirus software will protect you from different types of malicious software.
Many nonprofits live in a false sense of security until they face data loss. Start switching to more secure software now before your operations are compromised.