Three Simple Ways To Keep Your Donor Data Safe
“We’re a small nonprofit… Why would anyone ever want to hack us?!”
Sure, this might sound reasonable! But hackers are looking to small nonprofits for the very same reasons most of us feel safe and insulated from notice...
We're stretched thin when it comes to staff and resources. And they know we rarely have the time or budget to keep our information secure.
Keeping your donor data safe is an essential part of maintaining a robust donor program.
And there's plenty you can do to make that happen — even without expensive software or a dedicated IT team.
Here are three simple ways to keep your donor data safe and secure.
Data Security for Nonprofits Begins with Training
Phishing is the most common of all digital threats.
These scam emails often look like they're from a reputable source. They may ask for any manner of confidential data, like passwords or bank account numbers. Everyone on your organization's team, including volunteers, is vulnerable... Especially if they have access to internal email, organizational databases, or sensitive information.
And it’s more than your organization's passwords and bank information at risk. If you collect and store personal information about your staff or donors, lax security protocols can put their information into the mix, as well.
Investing in professional training for staff and volunteers is the best and most effective way to combat phishing scams.
This training should cover:
- How to recognize a spam email or phishing attempt,
- What to do if an email looks suspicious,
- How to choose appropriate passwords for relevant devices and accounts, and
- How to stay on top of the latest and greatest in email scams and tricks.
Require Strong Passwords to Keep Your Donor Data Safe
Most of us tend to choose weak passwords in hopes they'll be easier to remember. After all, we have lots of online accounts, and it can feel like every website has unique requirements. How can we keep them all straight if they're complicated?!
Unfortunately, we leave ourselves open to data hacks whenever we choose a simple password. And while you can't control what passwords people use on sites across the web, you can require more complex passwords for organizational email accounts and databases.
They should include letters, numbers, and symbols. Length requirements can help to ensure the most protection possible.
If you want to ensure data protection, skip the frequent mandated password changes. Instead, put two-factor authentication in place. When turned on, not only is a password required but you'll typically need access to a mobile device to verify identity at login, as well.
Don’t Skip Software Updates
Updating your software programs is critical when it comes to data security. The more popular a program is, the more vulnerable it is to data hacks. Hackers spend time studying the software to find vulnerabilities and figure out how to exploit them... At your expense.
Many software updates contain security patches that address vulnerabilities and make your software more secure. If you're ignoring the updates, you're leaving yourself open to attack.
Automatic updates can seem to happen at the most inconvenient times! Set yourself a reminder to check for them on a regular basis, and allow them to install overnight.
Data Security Is Definitely Worth the Hassle for Nonprofits
At best, a data breach is an embarrassing thing to have to explain to donors and supporters. At worst, it can be catastrophic for your organization’s finances and reputation.
Save your time, energy, and staff resources for better things! Invest in regular data security training and updates.