Guide to Cybersecurity for Nonprofits

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This Guide to Cybersecurity for Nonprofits will give you a broader perspective on how cybersecurity can contribute to your mission and operations.

In 2020, Blackbaud, a cloud computing provider that serves nonprofits and charities, was the target of a multi-million dollar cyberattack. Hundreds of organizations worldwide had bank account information and user credentials accessed as a result of the breach. The South Carolina-based organization has faced damages estimated at 3.6 million and two dozen lawsuits in the United States and Canada.

Founded in 1983, Blackbaud is a well-established organization and the perfect example to show that no organization is safe from being a target of cybercrime.

How Can Cybersecurity Help You Achieve your Mission?

At Makaye InfoSec, we know you strive to be a courageous, effective leader, fighting to drive your mission forward. Unfortunately, the amazing work you do for society can often be overshadowed by cybercriminals.

Just imagine: what if your organization was hacked? Criminals get their hands on the valuable information of your donors, volunteers, and clients, which they then threaten to sell on the Deep Web. The only solution is to negotiate with them. You pay $10k to the hackers.

You may think everything is back to normal. The truth is that hackers usually sell the documents they hijacked to other criminal organizations. People who trusted and collaborated with your organization ultimately have their information exposed anyway. To avoid this scenario, you’ve got to think ahead.

Cybercriminals don’t care about your mission, nor do they have any mercy if they find that you are vulnerable. The only thing they’re interested in is money – your money, and the money they can make from your data. To accomplish your mission, you need to protect the trust and credibility you have built up with the people you serve and never leave them vulnerable to cybercriminals. It is vital that your organization has solid and up-to-date cybersecurity policies in place.

These policies should dictate safe practices to use while accessing your network and advise employees on the right course of action should an attack occur.

guide to cybersecurity for nonprofits

According to the 2021 Data Breach Investigation Report conducted by Verizon:

– 96% of cyberattacks in North America were financially motivated. Hackers know that if they get their hands on the right documents or the right computers, they’ll control the entire organization. Even if you end up paying to get your documents back, hackers might still use and profit from the information they stole.

– 82% of cyberattacks were carried out by external members. Through phishing emails or other types of social engineering attacks, hackers are able to easily access your staff credentials, which will lead them to key information such as bank details or social security numbers. The only way to avoid falling victim to hackers is to constantly train your staff and have a dedicated person to deliver tasks related to cybersecurity.

Security Maturity Level Assessment For Nonprofits

At Makaye InfoSec, we work with prevention and risk mitigation. This means to think in terms of “when you get attacked,” rather than “if you get attacked.”

But, if you’re like many nonprofits, you might not even know how your organization would fare in an attack. Cybersecurity Maturity Level Assessments (SMLAs) exist to help you understand your current level of cybersecurity. An SMLA includes interviews and research to determine where vulnerabilities and risks exist and what security measures are currently in place. The knowledge gained through this assessment will help guide the decisions that will need to be made to improve your security and align your risk with acceptable tolerance levels.

Completing an SMLA is an important first step in understanding your organization’s underlying cybersecurity structure and the issues it may have. Without an SMLA, your organization will waste time and money applying security tools that don’t actually address those underlying problems, underlying cybersecurity structure, and the issues it may have. Without an SMLA, your organization will waste time and money applying security tools that don’t actually address those underlying problems.

Makaye InfoSec uses the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework (NIST) and the Center for Internet Security (CIS) to quantify your security maturity. With the NIST framework as a benchmark, your maturity assessment evaluates how well your organization can identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover from cyber threats.

Your organization will be placed in one of the five levels below:

guide to cybersecurity for nonprofits

Now that you know how this Guide To Cybersecurity for Nonprofits can help your organization, take a look at these resources that might help you step up your cybersecurity game:

Learn how this guide to cybersecurity for nonprofits can support your mission and operations.

This nonprofit cybersecurity checklist will help you understand where your organization is vulnerable. Use them as a starting point in your next cybersecurity meeting.

This whitepaper will help you understand what are the main differences between IT and InfoSec professionals.

Understand your organization’s current security posture. The knowledge gained through this assessment will help guide the decisions that will need to be made to improve your security and align your risk with acceptable tolerance levels.

Need a team of experienced cybersecurity professionals to help you put into practice this guide to cybersecurity for nonprofits? Makaye InfoSec is here to help. We provide Nonprofit Cybersecurity solutions. Schedule a meeting to get started.

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Find out with our Cybersecurity Checklist for Nonprofits