Research by the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (NTEN) states that only 25% of nonprofit organizations actively monitor their network for security events, and only 7% have undergone a cyberattack simulation activity. The low investment in security can be attributed to the small size of most nonprofits and their data sets, which makes them believe they have a lower risk of cyberattacks compared to large profit organizations. In reality, nonprofit organizations are low-hanging fruit for hackers due to the gap between the security risk and the actions needed to address the risks. That is what makes nonprofits ideal targets, and why they should take steps to protect themselves.
Unfortunately, security breaches have become a real threat. A security breach of the Australian Red Cross led to the leak of personal information including the health details of 550,000 donors. The Utah Food Bank breach in 2015 exposed the financial records of more than 10,000 donors. The information obtained can be used for identity theft, blackmail, and even combined with data from different sources to build a broader profile of breach victims. If a breach happened in organizations with polarizing views, the consequences could be profound.
Can Organizations Completely Evade Security Threats?
A nonprofit organization’s security threat is no different from that of a for-profit enterprise, and robust measures must be taken to mitigate risks. While it is hard to eliminate them all, security risks can be curbed by taking the following four measures.
- Risk Assessment. It is an ongoing process to evaluate potential risks in a systematic and timely manner. A risk assessment helps identify any security gaps that, given enough time, can be addressed to mitigate the risks. Additional initiatives include updating security software, encrypting personal data, and having a third party evaluate security measures from an outside view.
- Train Employees. Employees should be trained to be vigilant watching for suspicious emails and phishing scams, avoid sharing confidential information, reduce public wi-fi use, and they should be encouraged to use strong passwords. All of these measures reduce the chance of a potential breach.
- Single Sign-on and Multi-factor Authentication. Multiple passwords and sign-ons are weak points in the security system. A weakly set single sign-on gives access to multiple applications when there is a breach. Implementing a two-factor or a multi-factor authentication reduces the risk and provides increased security.
- Application Security. Taking security measures at the network layer is not enough to prevent a data breach. Security should be implemented at the application layer, too. Development teams should adopt security as part of the code.
Outsourcing Cybersecurity Can Help Nonprofit Organizations
Nonprofit organizations have a greater responsibility to protect their employees, volunteers, and clients as data breaches make them digital or personal targets. The low budgets for cyber security will not be adequate to hire a strong IT team specializing in security. It is easier and cheaper to outsource to an organization with supporting resources, infrastructure, and a myriad of experience to assess needs and implement strong security protocols.
A Different Cybersecurity Consulting Approach
The implementation of a strong security system should not affect the user experience. In a study conducted in 2019, it was found that increased security protocols after a data breach in a hospital affected the response of the doctors, resulting in an increased mortality rate. This highlights how critical it is to maintain a fine balance between security and usability.
Wipro understands the importance of protecting platforms, securing data, and maintaining the user experience. Our cybersecurity team can help organizations by completing an independent assessment with a findings report, preparing a roadmap to a healthy and secure environment, and provide recommendations for future assessments. Click here to schedule a free one hour consultation.