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4 Security Tools Every Modern Nonprofit Needs

4 Security Tools Every Modern Nonprofit Needs

By: Aiza Gill

Hackers are targeting nonprofit organizations worldwide for two main reasons. For one, nonprofits float on some valuable Personal Identifying Information (PII) such as names, addresses, dates of birth, postal codes, phone numbers, social security numbers, medical records, and financial information. Threat actors can utilize this information for blackmail, identity theft, and financial crimes. They can also sell this data on the Dark Web for a tidy profit.

For the other, nonprofits typically have weaker cybersecurity defenses than other organizations. These two factors make nonprofits profitable targets for hackers.

There are certainly many measures nonprofits need to take to improve cybersecurity, such as training, a security audit and beefing up their IT team. But for starters, they must invest in better security mechanisms.

Secure CRM Software

Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) software is popular with nonprofits nowadays. CRM features improve productivity, workflow and help nonprofits manage cases and key relationships. But not all CRMs are secure. Nonprofits should use CRM that protects donor data and is compliant with privacy laws. For example, the best CRM for nonprofit companies offers a list of security features:

  • Hosted on the encrypted AWS (Amazon Web Services)
  • HIPAA & PIPEDA compliant to secure sensitive information
  • PA-DSS compliant for secure payment processing

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

VPNs have risen in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic. As cyberattacks grew during the pandemic, organizations turned to VPNs to protect their privacy and security.

So how does a VPN protect nonprofits? Well, a VPN creates a private network on the Internet. This private network is encrypted to prevent data theft. A VPN also assigns users a virtual IP address to hide their location.

Not only will a VPN help secure a nonprofit’s network, but it will protect staff and volunteers who use public WiFi connections. Public WiFi networks are notoriously unsafe. Hackers can use them to launch different types of attacks and steal data. A VPN secures a public WiFi network.

Nonprofits should avoid free VPNs, though, as they use outdated security technology, and some even spy on users.

In addition to subscribing to a reputable VPN service, nonprofits should secure their networks with operating system and router firewalls. These network barriers can shield systems from malicious traffic.

Endpoint Security Tools

Many nonprofits have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy because they don’t have the budgets to furnish staff and volunteers with laptops and devices. But user devices that connect to company assets can be an infection vector for malware.

It’s best to invest in endpoint security technology that protects desktops, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and servers from online attacks.

Anti-Malware Software

Nonprofits should avoid relying on the baked-in antivirus tools in their operating systems. This software usually ranks poorly in browser protection and ransomware mitigation. Instead, they should use anti-malware software with ransomware protection capabilities. In addition to using proactive cybersecurity solutions, nonprofits should invest in regular backups in order to recover from disastrous situations.

Large nonprofits with sizable revenue streams should also consider moving their assets to the cloud. Migrating to the cloud can help mitigate the risk of many cybersecurity attacks. With nonprofits drawing more attention from hackers, suitable cybersecurity mechanisms are essential.a

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