Cybersecurity Basics for Nonprofits: 6 Tips on How to Stay P

Cybersecurity Basics for Nonprofits: 6 Tips on How to Stay P

From Muhammad Tahir

Meta description: Do you want to improve the overall cybersecurity of your nonprofit? These six strategies are the perfect starting point to boost online safety and protect data.

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According to the latest data, 24% of nonprofits experienced a security breach or cyberattack within a single year. Cybercriminals might find nonprofits to be an ideal target because most are not fully prepared to tackle cybersecurity issues.

Even though nonprofits deal with payment and donors, they sometimes don’t have time or funding to educate their staff about the latest online dangers. Therefore, some might not be able to recognize a phishing attempt or malware as an email attachment.

If you want to improve the overall cybersecurity of your nonprofit, keep reading!

Protecting Your Nonprofit

Basic cybersecurity measures are almost the same across the industry, regardless of the type of your organization. That said, nonprofits should pay more attention to specific details, which we’ll cover below.

1. Be familiar with phishing

Phishing is one of the most common types of cyberattacks and the easiest way someone can gain access to any system or database. You should be aware that phishing is done through emails and messages. A cybercriminal could pretend to be someone from your organization and ask for secure data, or they might send you a link where you are supposed to use your login information.

In the past, grammatical errors were a clear giveaway, but spotting a phishing attempt is harder now because hackers can use tools like ChatGPT to polish their email content and fix all the mistakes. But you can still check the email of the sender, which will probably be random and unrelated to an official company or service. Remember to report a phishing email to your IT department or email service provider.

2. Use a safe fundraising platform

Nonprofits have multiple donation platforms to choose from, such as Fundly and more. Selecting the right platform could be harder than you think because you have to consider multiple factors before making a decision. For instance, always check if your fundraising software provider has a security team that will keep an eye on your fundraising platform.

Cybersecurity and data protection should always be a priority, so look at the platform’s cybersecurity methods. The staff should be trained to respond to any cybersecurity challenge and protect your nonprofit’s information.

Of course, you need to think about the donor’s safety, too. So, review the available payment options and how reliable they are. That will ensure their personal and financial data will stay secure on the platform.

3. Subscribe to a secure website hosting service

Nonprofits often have limited budgets and use a free or low-cost website hosting service to save some money. However, that is a major mistake because inexpensive hosting rarely prioritizes online security. Cybercriminals might be targeting your hosting service more frequently because they are aware there will be no quick response.

Not to forget that low-cost hosting often has a longer loading time, which results in a negative user experience. Premium website hosting is recommended for general safety, and these providers also include some extra features designed to keep everything running smoothly, such as automatic backups, SSL certificates, etc.

4. Use a VPN

Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is an option for those who want to bring their cybersecurity to the next level. One of the main VPN features is encryption, which can come in handy in various situations.

For instance, public Wi-Fi networks are usually unsafe since you never know who might be lurking there, just waiting for their next target. Hackers frequently use them to intercept communication or steal someone’s personal and financial information.

Concealing your IP is among the VPN features designed to maintain privacy and hide your location. And there is also access to geo-blocked content and websites, which could be valuable when researching international donors.

5. Change your password

Unfortunately, most people use the same password for multiple accounts, including the ones they need for work. It is often justified by saying they can’t remember all their login information, but nowadays, they don’t even have to. Apps like password managers do all the hard work for you, and you can access them on several devices.

Remember to use numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters when creating a secure password. That combination makes it difficult for cybercriminals to guess your credentials. Enable two-factor authentication where available because it boosts your account’s security by making sure you are the only person who can access it.

6. Perform regular software updates

Running outdated software can put your nonprofit at risk, so update the apps and operating system regularly. Updates usually come with bug fixes and patches that are released to prevent hackers from exploiting potential vulnerabilities.

Daily data backups should also be enabled where possible in case you run into a cybersecurity problem. Cloud hosting services usually have automatic updates, and there is no need to do anything manually. That is an excellent way to know your donor data is always secure and available to your staff.

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