Nonprofits play a pivotal role in addressing societal challenges and advancing humanitarian causes. However, an ever-increasing reliance on digital infrastructure to drive your impact is exactly why you need a comprehensive approach to IT security. As cyber threats continue to expand, nonprofits must prioritize robust security solutions that safeguard sensitive donor and client data and ensure operational continuity if they do come under attack. The good news is that implementing IT security doesn’t need to be overwhelming. With a few key security layers, such as Multi-Factor Authentication, Endpoint detection and response, DNS Filtering, and Mobile Application Management, your IT team can significantly increase the security of your systems and networks.

How Vulnerable are Nonprofits?

We’ve all seen the staggering statistics on cyberattacks. In 2023, 4000 attacks occurred every day, while every 14 seconds, a company fell victim to a ransomware attack, according to a study by Cloudwards. While in the past, nonprofits enjoyed some level of safety as criminals focused on private companies, more cybercriminals have turned their attention to the lucrative – and typically less protected – nonprofit sector.

Because nonprofits typically have access to sensitive data, such as donor information, financial records, and project details, they’ve become highly desirable targets. Plus, a relative lack of dedicated IT personnel and limited financial resources often compound the risks, making them an easy target for cybercriminals seeking to exploit security loopholes. As nonprofits increasingly rely on digital platforms for fundraising, project management, and stakeholder engagement, their exposure to cyber threats escalates. That’s why your internal IT team (or external experts) should embrace robust IT security measures. Here are a few you should have in place.

Shoring up Security with Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) should be a cornerstone of your cybersecurity program since it offers an additional layer of protection against unauthorized access. What is MFA? It’s something you probably already use every day without even realizing it. It requires multiple forms of verification, such as passwords, biometrics, or security tokens, to access an account. Just think about logging into your bank from your desktop and having to enter a code texted to your phone. By using two forms of authentication from two different devices – in this example, the password on your desktop and the code texted to your phone – MFA makes it far more difficult for criminals to hack into an account. For nonprofits, MFA not only fortifies the security of sensitive donor information and internal databases, but it also fosters a culture of vigilance and accountability among staff and volunteers. By integrating MFA into its digital infrastructure, a nonprofit can significantly reduce the likelihood of security breaches and fortify its commitment to safeguarding the confidentiality and privacy of stakeholders.

Defending Assets with Endpoint Detection and Response

Just like for-profit organizations, nonprofits are learning to navigate a world in which employees and volunteers spend less time at desks and more time working from home or out in the field. That means that each device – or endpoint – used to connect to your network brings potential threats. One effective solution to monitor potential threats and provide proactive defense mechanisms is an Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solution.

How does it work? EDR solutions use cutting-edge technologies like machine learning and behavioral analytics to identify and neutralize potential security risks such as malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks. Because it identifies threats in real-time and delivers an automated response, it allows nonprofits that don’t have large or 24/7 dedicated IT teams to detect and mitigate emerging threats quickly, before they cause extensive damage. Through the adoption of an EDR solution, nonprofits can proactively strengthen their digital defenses.

The Strategic Role of DNS Filtering

Nonprofit employees and volunteers must spend much of their time online, whether that’s accessing email or using cloud-based applications. But as malicious websites and phishing attacks increase, the danger of employees stumbling onto them rises. That’s where DNS Filtering steps in. It allows organizations to control and monitor websites accessed by their employees, volunteers, and stakeholders. By establishing a secure DNS infrastructure, nonprofits can prevent unauthorized access to potentially harmful websites, thus reducing the risk of malware infiltration and data breaches. Additionally, DNS filtering allows nonprofits to enforce content restrictions, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards and promoting a secure online environment. The integration of DNS filtering not only fortifies your digital defenses, but also fosters a culture of responsible internet usage, thereby enhancing overall security.

Safeguarding Mobile Devices and Data with Mobile Application Management

As we become more reliant on mobile devices, protecting the sensitive data we store on them and preventing unauthorized access becomes more critical. Mobile Application Management (MAM) enables nonprofits to enforce security protocols and access controls on mobile devices. By facilitating secure data sharing and seamless collaboration, MAM empowers nonprofits to harness the benefits of mobile technology while maintaining rigorous security standards. Through MAM, your IT team can restrict the installation of unauthorized applications, prevent data leakage, and safeguard sensitive information, thereby bolstering cybersecurity and preserving the confidentiality of digital assets.

Mitigating Risks through Proactive Security

For nonprofits, the consequences of a security breach are more far-reaching than just the data that is compromised. The financial implications, coupled with potential damage to your reputation and stakeholder trust, can significantly impede your ability to raise funds and fulfill your mission. By proactively investing in robust IT security measures, nonprofits can mitigate the risks of cyber threats and demonstrate their commitment to preserving the confidentiality and integrity of their data. Moreover, integrating security solutions fosters a culture of accountability, instilling confidence in your organization’s commitment to upholding high standards of data protection and privacy.

As nonprofits continue to navigate the evolving landscape of the digital era, the importance of prioritizing robust IT security is clear. By integrating advanced security solutions such as Multi-Factor Authentication, Endpoint Detection and Resposne, DNS Filtering, and Mobile Application Management into their IT frameworks, nonprofits can fortify their digital defenses, preserve the integrity of their data, and maintain the trust of their stakeholders. In an environment characterized by persistent cyber threats, proactively investing in IT security is a necessity for nonprofits striving to uphold their mission and effect positive change in society. Need help creating and embracing a holistic approach to IT security? Reach out to us today – we exist to help nonprofits just like yours.