By Devin Partida, Editor-in-Chief, ReHack.com
Nonprofits are an essential part of today’s economy and create plenty of jobs throughout the country. There are many types of nonprofit organizations, but they all have one thing in common — the need for comprehensive cybersecurity.
However, unlike for-profit organizations, nonprofits must find innovative ways to raise funds to spend on cybersecurity defense measures.
Nonprofits work with plenty of data daily, whether it’s a donor’s credit card information or their Social Security numbers (SSNs). It takes more than just following the latest cybersecurity trends to protect an entire organization.
One of the best ways nonprofits can protect themselves is by employing various preventive measures. However, there’s no denying that nonprofits are chronically underfunded, making it challenging for them to protect their assets from cyber attacks.
Below are five ways nonprofits can get better access to digital security to protect any sensitive information they may store.
The Importance of Cybersecurity for Nonprofits
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a measurable impact on the digital world, specifically regarding the increased number of cybersecurity attacks facing many organizations. The pandemic caused many disruptions across industries, and nonprofits were no exception.
Cybercriminals love to get their hands on any sensitive data and will use whatever means necessary to do just that. Nonprofits typically store employee data, client data, and donor data, making them vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
The 2021 Cybersecurity Guide for Nonprofit Organizations revealed that cybercriminals attempt to access government and nonprofit databases every 39 seconds — however, research shows that 70% of these entities lack the comprehensive cybersecurity defenses in place to protect themselves from these attacks.
How Can Nonprofits and Charities Access Cybersecurity Resources?
Regardless of whether a nonprofit has a dedicated IT department, leaders at these organizations must prioritize cybersecurity efforts. The risk of facing a cybersecurity incident is growing, and nonprofits need to take a proactive approach to manage this risk.
So, how can these organizations improve their cybersecurity? Below are five ways nonprofits can receive better access to various cybersecurity resources to ensure they’re protecting their most sensitive assets.
1. Leverage Free Online Toolkits
Because cybersecurity is becoming more of a pressing issue for many organizations, there are plenty of free online resources that an organization can use to enhance its existing cybersecurity mitigation efforts.
Take TechImpact, for example. TechImpact is a nonprofit organization that helps other nonprofits better manage their cybersecurity programs and offers plenty of learning opportunities for those working in the nonprofit sector. This nonprofit also provides IT security services for nonprofits and will meet organizations where they’re at in terms of cybersecurity measures.
2. Research and Apply for Federal Grant Programs
The federal government has some grant programs in place that benefit nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits of all shapes and sizes must utilize these programs to ensure they’re doing everything possible to mitigate the risks of facing cybersecurity attacks. Here are some examples of federal programs nonprofits can apply for:
FEMA’s Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG)
FEMA’s State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)
FEMA’s Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)
FEMA’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP)
Nonprofits should consider researching these grants to determine eligibility and applicability to receive funding for enhancing cybersecurity measures.
3. Take Advantage of Free Cybersecurity Training
Nonprofits can use budget-friendly cybersecurity training programs to ensure employees are trained on critical cybersecurity threats. When employees are well-trained, they are less likely to engage in insider threats or fall victim to phishing, for example. For example, the Mosse Institute’s mission is to provide free training to nonprofits.
More reporting on cyber incidents tends to improve overall safety within nonprofit organizations. Employees at every level have the responsibility of providing these reports if they run into any cybersecurity issues.
4. Attend Industry Webinars
Because cybersecurity is becoming more of an issue across sectors, more online resources, like the ones mentioned above, are emerging as a result. These webinars are either low-cost or free, so nonprofits can still receive training without breaking the bank.
Consider attending one of these webinars — do research and find out which one is best suited to the nonprofit and its overall cybersecurity goals. All it takes is a quick Google search to find some webinars online.
5. Consider Hiring an IT Professional
Last but not least, it may be possible for some nonprofits to hire a dedicated IT professional who can manage all things cybersecurity for the organization. While it may be feasible, even having an IT professional come in for an internal audit can prove beneficial.
Contact local IT companies to see what types of services they offer. It’s always suggested to hire experts in the field who can provide useful information about cybersecurity and suggest ways to enhance a nonprofit’s existing cybersecurity framework. A quick consultation may be worthwhile, depending on the nonprofit’s current cybersecurity program.
Keep all of these tips in mind when looking for viable solutions to cybersecurity issues within nonprofit organizations. All types of nonprofits need to leverage all necessary resources to enhance or create a comprehensive cybersecurity program.
Nonprofits Need to Prioritize Cybersecurity
The digital world is advancing rapidly, and nonprofits need to protect sensitive donor and client data. The last thing a nonprofit needs is to deal with cyber attacks, as they can be costly and damaging to its success. Use all resources wisely and implement the best cybersecurity practices to ensure the organization is protected from external attacks.
Devin Partida is an industrial tech writer and the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com, a digital magazine for all things technology, big data, cryptocurrency, and more. To read more from Devin, please check out the site.