Five Tips to Protect Your Nonprofit
With several leading nonprofits among our client base, we’re well-versed in the challenges these organizations often face in managing their technology needs. Compared to your for-profit counterparts, nonprofits are less likely to have resources available to invest in IT in a systematic manner, and you are less likely to have the in-house resources available to manage those technology systems.
The reality is that nonprofits are focused on the causes they were founded to support, not on IT infrastructure. According to the 9th Annual Nonprofit Technology Staffing & Investments Report, nonprofits on average have 4.6 technology-responsible staff – each of whom supports about 28 organizational staff members. At CHR, we’re often able to find economies for our nonprofit clients that your time-strapped internal IT teams have been unable to identify – freeing up more funding to accomplish key missions.
By focusing on what we do best – keeping your IT systems updated and secure – you can focus on what you do best – moving your cause forward. Each nonprofit’s needs are unique, but there are some universal actions to consider to help your organization – and its donors – feel confident that systems and data are safe.
1. Have a backup plan. Where is your data stored, and how often is it saved? A number of backup options are available, including saving your information to the cloud, to ensure that you don’t lose your lifeblood of donor information and funding history – not to mention the time required to rebuild this database if your data or systems are compromised. We also recommend redundancy: More than one location is best. Some data needs to be backed up daily, while weekly is adequate for other data.
2. Keep your staff informed of what’s safe. It’s important to give guidance to your staff about what they can and cannot do while at work or via remote access, or even on their own devices. Make sure they know how to create and maintain safe passwords, and know not to carry flash drives around with your most critical data. We also recommend regular training sessions to keep everyone up–to-date on current threats like phishing emails, malicious links, dangerous websites and ransomware.
3. Keep your software and operating systems current. Staying on top of security patches and support will help limit your system vulnerabilities and keep your systems safe.
4. Secure your wireless network. It’s a basic security precaution, but many people overlook the necessity of changing the default settings when installing a wireless router. This provides an easy route into your network for hackers. Use a strong password and don’t forget to enable encryption.
5. Restrict access to your most important data. Even with a small organization, you should evaluate who needs the ability to log in remotely. We recommend that only a select few people have access and that passwords are changed regularly.
Above all, it’s important to have a plan. CHR can help you ensure that your nonprofit’s unique IT needs are met, allowing you to focus on your core mission.