Nonprofit organizations — those altruistic groups that help those who can’t help themselves — attract generous souls who trust them with their personal information. It is for that very reason that they also attract the attention of hackers.
Why Are Hackers Targeting Nonprofits?
There are several areas that leave a nonprofit vulnerable to hacking. Even if donations are taken through a reputable online payment system that protects donors credit card info, this does nothing to protect the other data stored in the nonprofit’s databases. This data often includes:
- Email addresses
- Physical addresses
- Health information
- Social Security numbers
- Employee and volunteer records
There are several factors that make nonprofits easy targets for hackers. Knowing that they are a treasure trove of information, hackers simply can’t resist.
How Are Nonprofits Vulnerable?
While you may think your nonprofit is secure, chances are, it’s not. There are several things that are common to nonprofits that make them vulnerable and attractive to hackers. These include:
- Using unsegregated hosting accounts that use one password to access several websites
- Frequent turnover of employees and volunteers leaving open accounts and passwords
- Lack of expertise or infrastructure to implement and maintain a high level of security
What Can You Do to Be More Secure?
Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that every nonprofit can take to make their data more secure. The following five tips can help you keep hackers out of your confidential information so that they do not damage your reputation.
#1 Lock Down External Devices
Stolen and compromised external devices account for a lot of data breaches. Restricting all data to a secure centrally managed system can help prevent breaches.
#2 Password Management
Nonprofit websites often have several passwords for users to access billing FTP, login to their account, etc. Each password is a potential access point for hackers. Using a secure password management system to save and regularly update these passwords can increase security.
#3 Utilized Segregated Hosting
A separate hosting account for each website may be more expensive initially, however, the value of being less exposed to hackers makes it an essential step for nonprofit website security.
#4 Keep Your Website Updated
Websites that utilize content management systems like WordPress, regular updating of core software, themes, and plugins are automated. Yet, you should always double-check to make sure every aspect of your website is up to date and working properly.
#5 Encrypt Local Hard Drives
Using encryption software can add an additional layer of protection. Hackers don’t want to work harder than they have to.
While there is no foolproof way to keep hackers out of your systems, following the steps above can help. Keeping hackers out of your nonprofit’s data is essential to maintaining the trust of the public and retaining donors.