Cybersecurity represents a major challenge for many nonprofit organizations, especially since they collect and store personal information about the people they serve.
Despite this fact, 90% of nonprofits report that they do not provide regular staff training on cybersecurity, and 4 out of 5 lack any kind of cybersecurity plan. Leaving sensitive data at risk threatens a nonprofit’s ability to carry out operations and fulfill its mission.
The growing number of cyberattacks are a warning sign for nonprofits operating on legacy systems and outdated technology. By staying on top of security trends and implementing cybersecurity best practices, organizations can mitigate risk and protect sensitive data.
The Necessity of Cybersecurity for Nonprofits
Nonprofits are a prime target for cyberattacks due to the sensitive information they store and their notorious lack of cybersecurity protocols.
Nonprofits often collect and store private information, including Social Security numbers, donor data and bank account information. Outdated software and technology leaves this sensitive data susceptible to a breach that puts vulnerable populations at risk of identity theft.
Cybersecurity Trend 1: Cybersecurity Assessments For Nonprofits
A cybersecurity assessment is one of the best tools nonprofit organizations have to protect against a devastating cyber incident.
Cybersecurity assessments reveal weaknesses in cyber defense systems and security procedures. During a cybersecurity assessment, experts use vulnerability scans and security testing to identify gaps in the system that hackers might exploit.
After conducting an assessment, nonprofit executives can work alongside IT and cybersecurity leaders to design a custom cybersecurity plan. As a proactive step, cybersecurity assessments can go a long way in preventing an attack.
Cybersecurity Trend 2: Malware, Ransomware and Phishing
Cyberattacks put sensitive information at risk. Legacy software systems and outdated network security protocols increase the threat of malware and ransomware. These security threats target vulnerable networks and computers.
While malware infects systems, ransomware encrypts data; hackers then demand a ransom payment to restore the data. If the data has been properly backed up for restoration, there is no need for a ransom to be paid.
Email phishing schemes, on the other hand, target nonprofit employees by tricking them into providing sensitive data. By bolstering security systems and conducting ongoing cybersecurity training for employees, nonprofits can limit the threat of malware, ransomware and phishing.
Cybersecurity Trend 3: Remote Work
The rise in remote work has left nonprofits vulnerable to new security threats. When employees access networks remotely, it increases the number of endpoints, or access points, that nonprofits must protect. More endpoints mean more opportunities for a data breach or cyberattack.
The security risk of remote work grows when nonprofit employees use their personal devices to access sensitive data. Unsecured hardware leaves nonprofits exposed to potential security threats.
Cybersecurity Trend 4: Software Updates and Data Backup
Many nonprofits fail to perform regular software updates and data backups. By keeping software up-to-date, nonprofits can ensure their systems have the latest patches, which is helpful in preventing an attack. Organizations can also integrate cloud-based software that automatically updates.
In addition, nonprofits can benefit from daily backups of donor data and other sensitive information. Backup services can automate this process, which also protects nonprofits from malware and ransomware attacks, as well as natural disasters that would cause them to lose access to their data.
Cybersecurity Trend 5: Legacy Systems and Outdated Technology
Many nonprofits operate on outdated software and technology; however, the danger of outdated systems goes beyond slow speeds and lagging operations.
Legacy systems lack the latest security protocols, which makes nonprofits vulnerable to cyberattacks. In many cases, developers no longer support outdated systems, which can make them incompatible with the latest tools to stop cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity Trend 6: Technology Training Programs
When employees do not know best practices to secure sensitive data, nonprofits leave themselves vulnerable to attack.
Ongoing cybersecurity training programs teach employees about the latest phishing threats and what they should look out for to avoid being tricked into providing information to hackers. Training also provides information about accessing systems remotely.
Retention also represents a significant challenge for nonprofit organizations. Onboarding procedures must include cybersecurity training so that all employees follow cybersecurity best practices from the start, but it shouldn’t be considered “one and done.”
Training must take place throughout the year for all employees, regardless of tenure or title, and incorporate testing for best results.
Cybersecurity Trend 7: Technology Disaster Recovery Plans
Even with the latest software and strong cybersecurity protocols, nonprofits need a disaster recovery plan.
Conducting a cybersecurity assessment can help nonprofits design a custom disaster recovery plan. A robust recovery plan that includes incident response protocols and incorporates data backup systems can protect nonprofits from losing their data permanently.
The Technology Experts at Hartman Can Help your Nonprofit Stay Ahead of Security Trends
Nonprofits that ignore security trends put themselves, their donors and the constituents they serve at unnecessary risk.
Even worse, cybersecurity threats can leave nonprofits vulnerable to legal penalties and reputation damage to the detriment of the nonprofit’s mission. Contact Hartman today to protect your information and avoid a devastating cyberattack.