The vast majority of people could not ever imagine taking anything from a non-profit organization. Our minds typically drift to seeing what we can do for others when it comes to thinking about helping a non-profit group. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks that way. Cyber criminals view these organizations as a target for cyber attacks. Unsure why non-profits are hot targets for these criminals? Here’s why:
Sensitive Data is at Risk
Charities databases contain identifiable information of their donors, partners, employees, and volunteers. The larger the charity the larger these databases can be. These databases can hold not only personal information but can also include payment details in regards to charitable donations made to the organization. Not only are these organizations at risk for a cyber attack, they could also be putting the businesses and people that they work with at risk too. A non-profit's database could just be one piece to the puzzle for a cyber criminal to get inside and unleash a larger attack on a business based off of the information they were able to gather.
Smaller Technology Budgets
Charities divert the largest part of their money to their philanthropy. Not only does the money go towards the charity, it also goes out to spread their message, potential research, business needs, and so much more. This means that the funds that could be allocated to the upkeep of their technology or their cyber security may not fall very high on the totem pole. Charities are out there looking out for others, but someone needs to be looking out for them when it comes to protecting their data.
Various Device End Users
Another risk for charities is its volunteers. Volunteers are kind enough to donate their time and resources to your organization, but when it comes to security they could be doing more harm than good. End users are one of the biggest risks to the security of your network, but these end users aren’t your employees. Educating your employees about smart online habits when it comes to your network is important, but volunteers may not receive the same level of education. Therefore, this can pose a risk if you don’t have strong cyber security for your business. To someone unfamiliar with your network it may seem harmless enough to click on a certain link, but in reality, it could be disastrous.
The Security Damage is Done
The important question to ask yourself here is: Could your non-profit withstand the damage that a cyber attack can cause? A cyber attack on a charity could be disastrous both financially and for its reputation. While it may be true that the cyber criminal holds nothing against your organization, often times they are just out there in search of the damage they can do. Don’t give these criminals the chance to harm your organization or the work that you do to help others.
If you are interested in learning more about the different ways you can protect your organization from a cyber attack, contact SumnerOne. We have security assessments and industry professionals ready to help your organization. You continue the work that you do, and we will continue to support you and your network.
Originally published March 15, 2018, updated March 12, 2019