Cyber attacks are inevitable, even for nonprofits. Most nonprofit organizations do not believe they would be the victim of being hacked, catching viruses, or becoming the prey of a phishing scam. However, your organization’s money, reputation, and nonprofit accounting software may be at stake if the proper steps are not taken to prevent cyber attacks.
RBP Methods does not want to see you stress over cyber attacks. We offer consulting services that focus on helping nonprofits manage their accounting and financial needs. Contact us online or call us at 503-648-9051 to learn more.
The Board Is Your Leader
Boards cannot afford the luxury of being overly confident in their nonprofit’s efforts against cybersecurity. There are many nonprofits too small to have specialized IT staff. Therefore, it falls on the Board and their leadership team. They must develop the policies and procedures your nonprofit needs to follow to guard your nonprofit, as a whole, from cyber attacks.
How Does A Cyber Attack Occur?
The most common cyber attacks are completely innocent. Many nonprofits find that they are attacked by accidents performed by their employees. For example, an employee may accidently download an infected file or an employee may be searching for information regarding their company and, in return, stumbles upon an infected site. This would then leave these individuals’ browsers infected, resulting in a cyber attack for your organization.
There has been a significant increase in the number of “extortion-related” viruses. These viruses will lock the user out of their computer until money is paid to someone who is supposed to hold the virtual key to unlock the computer. Criminals do not care about your organization, or what you support. They only want one thing: money. And they will do anything they can to get it.
Another cybercrime is data theft. This is a breach in which donor or member’s personal data (names, addresses, social security numbers, or credit card numbers) are stolen. This can result in your nonprofit losing their good reputation, bringing in negative publicity and possible lawsuits. These crimes are often not noticed until it’s too late and long after the crime has been committed. This gives many nonprofits a false sense of security and emphasizes how anyone can be the victim of these cyber attacks.
8 Steps You Can Take to Prevent Cyber Attacks
Nonprofit board members can take these eight steps to help prevent cyber attacks. Please keep in mind that you may not be able to prevent them all, but you can ward off as many as possible.
8 steps you can take:
- Encourage management to adopt policies that prevent cyber attacks. This includes frequent software updates (such as nonprofit accounting software), limited web browsing, and training to educate employees on the reality of cyber intrusions.
- Add cyber insurance to your organization’s coverage to minimize the “out-of-pocket” expenses needed for cleaning up after a breach.
- Build a proactive response plan. Come up with worst-case scenarios and include the steps that need to be taken if they occur.
- Take inventory of your nonprofit’s current cyber security measures to disclose gaps.
- Close any identified gaps or hire a consultant to do so for you.
- Evaluate the risks among vendors and suppliers to your nonprofits’ security.
- Discover where your nonprofit’s most valuable information is stored and take extra steps and precautions to guard it and secure it.
- Discourage risky behavior that is prone to cyber attacks. This would include downloading documents from unknown sites or clicking links that request the user to reset their passwords
Cybersecurity needs to be a top priority for your company and nonprofit accounting software. When boards have their priorities straight, it sends the powerful message to all employees that the topic of cybersecurity is important and needs to be addressed and implemented.
Just like you invest in securing your home with strong doors, locks, and alarms, you should invest in cybersecurity for your nonprofit. Your nonprofit accounting software needs to have cybersecurity that is superb, preventing virtual burglars from obtaining important information from your company. By adding this extra layer of safety to your nonprofit, you can keep your equanimity.
RBP Methods is a nonprofit software and consulting firm that helps right-brained people navigate a left-brained world. We understand how hard it is to ask these tough questions and to change your nonprofit’s mindset. We offer a wide range of consulting services focused on helping nonprofits manage their accounting and financial needs. Our software choices include Ablia, Accufund, and other nonprofit accounting software. For more information, visit RBP Methods or call us at 503-648-9051.