Non-profit Cybersecurity: Secrets to Keeping Your Data Safe and Sound

Sometimes, we can be fooled by our biases, unfounded or not. A good example here is the way we look at non-profit. Most of us know that a non-profit, by its name alone, is generally an institution that aims to help others. Thus, it is not your regular run-of-the-mill brick-and-mortar company aiming to bolster the owner’s bottom line and everyone in that group. Just because an organization is non-profit doesn’t mean that its workers shouldn’t be paid wages.

Though the non-profit scale of pay might not be as excessive as a normal business entity, take-home pay does exist. Take note both the IRS and state law allows a non-profit institution to pay its workers salaries within reason.

Moreover, while it’s true that non-profit is not structured to make money its ultimate goal, it does behave like any organization. It should. Top of this list is data protection. Like any business entity, a non-profit must also ensure the names and details of people the organization is helping is safe from unscrupulous individuals. The same holds for its financial records. The sad thing about it, many times, non-profits are more vulnerable to fraud than your regular pro-profit businesses.

The good news is data protection for a non-profit organization isn’t impossible. Putting up various preventive mechanisms in your ‘Good Samaritan’ group should bid you well to ensure your data is kept where it should be and not where malicious entities can make a quick buck from it.

Update Regularly

One thing that allows hackers to invade an online system is the lack of preventive mechanisms to thwart such illegal activities. In a recent survey, for instance, by NTEN that looked into non-profit cybersecurity, researchers found out that 70% of today’s nonprofits are not deploying policies and procedures to keep their data safe in case of a cyberattack.

That speaks volumes on the kind of protection most have in the United States. The cybersecurity report, of course, delved into the procedures and protections in place for people to access nonprofit systems. Indeed, it’s paramount that these helpful institutions focus on protecting themselves from a data breach.

A good way for you to step up your cybersecurity is to update your devices and applications. Hackers are always reinventing their approaches, and if you don’t update, your system can become a sitting duck. To update, check if an app or a  device has an auto-update feature. If it does, make sure you turn it on. Make sure every internet-connected device is updated. And that should mean your smart light bulb too.

Boost Privacy Protection


The internet is a great resource. No doubt about that. But it’s also a way for hackers to get in. When a hacker deploys social engineering techniques, he will likely access your system using the internet. It’s his fastest way to get in.

In this regard, use impressive plug-ins and browser extensions to boost your privacy when surfing the web. A good example here is the HTTPS Everywhere plugin which checks if a website has an encrypted SSL connection. Additionally, other programs can block cookie trackers or web beacons that websites use to check browsing habits.

In addition, your nonprofit would do well if it uses firewalls to protect your network. Firewalls protect your system from threats by monitoring your incoming and outgoing traffic. Think of it as your traffic police.

What’s more, you can make the most of a cloud-hosted firewall for businesses. As these firewalls are cloud-based, you won’t have to worry about your business location to get protection. Simply put, your business can get ample protection anywhere it goes. Plus, unlike a traditional on-premise firewall, you won’t need upgrading whenever your bandwidth increases. Cloud-based firewalls scale seamlessly as your bandwidth increases.

Review Mobile Devices Permissions

Any device latched to your system can be a means by hackers to access your network. We’re talking about smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices that use your company’s internet to access your website. It’s important, therefore, that permissions on each mobile device used by employees be updated. Just turn things off. You don’t need any music app tracking your calendar or, for that matter, your location.

Nix the Generic Password

As human beings, we tend to find ways to make things easier. We go to the bathroom using the nearest route, for instance. Sadly, such a proclivity can be harmful when it comes to your passwords. If you have a nasty habit of employing one generic password for all your devices, from the laptop down to your smartphone, you’re actually inviting hackers into your system.

A better way to protect yourself is to use a password manager (e.g., LastPass). And here’s where many nonprofits also fail. Only a handful use a password manager to maintain things.

But that should not stop you from getting one. After all, keeping hackers at bay means your nonprofit can grow by leaps and bounds over time.