Think you are invisible because you are a little nonprofit?

Think again.

Many years ago I ran an organization for a very obscure health disorder, affecting a small number of people compared to biggies such as cancer or diabetes. I honestly didn’t think I had to spend much time worrying about cyber security, who could want anything we had?

But we were hacked at least twice and there were several other attempts. Really? Our IT guy at the time was on top of things and while I had sometimes admonished  him for spending time on this stuff, he turned out to be right. Thank goodness he had to foresight to address this, or we would have been in a world of hurt.

A Fun Saturday

There is nothing like getting a call from a member at home on a Saturday to tell me the website was down and stuck. The sense of helplessness and rage is only trumped by the calls and complaints coming in from others all attempting to use our site. I had no idea what to do next, grrrrr.

Whether it was to get to our database of members and their info ( we didn’t keep credit card numbers ), email addresses to spam or for phishing attacks, I have no clue. But the idea of trying to fix or undo the damage the hackers could do scared me. The time and effort, none of which had anything to do with delivering our mission or working our programs, was going to be too much to  be devoted to repairing a really stupid computer thing.

Wherever or whoever these folks may be, hackers are a soulless bunch; it doesn’t matter who you are, where you are or what you do. If you are on the internet, if you have a website, if you do social media, you are a possible target. Whether they steal information, corrupt your site, or infiltrate your databases, the damage can be extensive and expensive.

Defensive  Driving, Or They Are All Out to Kill You

This is what my dad told me when I learned to drive, and it has turned out to be good advice out there on the dangerous roads. Apply this attitude to your cyber security policies; ‘ they’ are out there looking at you as a target. Of all the administration and organizational things to do as a nonprofit, protecting your existence and credibility is right up there, along with protecting the information your donors and members have entrusted to you.

With all the other things on your desk, this one has to swim to the surface, the sooner the better. Give thought to your data policies and cyber security; aside from adware and malware and worms and viruses, look out for those who see you as an opportunity. It is important to give this some thought and have this discussion as quickly as you can with your internet folks, either in house or outside experts.

Sooner Rather than Later

Take the time, now, before anything has happened, to decide how you will protect your online assets, your website and database and publications. Be sure to back up everything regularly, several of the online backup systems are both automatic and affordable. 

Look into specific security protections with someone who understands these threats and what will be best for you. As with everything, preventing this headache is a lot easier than fixing it after the fact. 

You have worked so very hard for your cause; don’t let a faceless keyboard someplace far away interrupt your efforts. Know they are out there and you could be in someone’s cross hairs simply because you exist. 

Not sure how to go about this? Give us a call and we will help you find the best security for you.  310 828 6979

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