Your non-profit manages a significant amount of sensitive data during its day-to-day operations, such as information about clients, volunteers, partners, cases, and more. When it receives donations, it may store confidential data such as donor history, donor behavior, names, phone numbers, credit card information, addresses, and social security numbers.

Unfortunately, this makes your non-profita target of cybersecurity attacks from hackers and other threat actors. Remember, even the most prominent organizations are targeted.

While some miscreants may want to steal your non-profit’s data, others may want to play pranks and deface your platform. A successful cybersecurity breach can quickly shatter confidence in your non-profit.

According to the State of non-profit Cybersecurity Report, most non-profits lack the policies, procedures, and staff training to defend against cybersecurity threats. Follow these steps to improve yournon-profit’s security.

1. Only Use Secure CRM Software

Constituent Relationship Management (CRM)software has revolutionized the operations of non-profit organizations in the digital age. Your non-profit organization probably uses CRM software to enhance its interactions and relationships with donors, clients, and volunteers. Just keep in mind that not all CRM software has cutting-edge security.

Only use non-profit CRM software from a company that takes security very seriously and stores its cloud databases on famously secure infrastructures like Amazon Web Services (AWS). The right CRM platform should also be PA-DSS certified - the highest level of protection for payment processing.

Secure CRM software should also allow you to customize access to data on a need-to-know basis. This way, you can prevent caseworkers from accessing sensitive information.

2. Appoint a Cybersecurity Expert

If your non-profit has the resources, it’s advisable to hire a cybersecurity expert, either as a consultant or on a fulltime basis. Your cybersecurity expert can set policies to ensure that your organization follows strict security-compliance regulations and standards.

3. Train Your Staff

Most security breaches in an organization occur because of careless mistakes from employees. Educate your staff to follow acceptable practices. In the age of remote working, they should be wary of unsecured public WiFi networks, which can easily be hacked.

Likewise, they should learn to recognize phishing expeditions, suspicious links, Trojan horses, and other malicious software threats. For example, the wrong link can download ransomware on your non-profit’s systems. Recently, two prominent Canadian fundraising organizations were victims of ransomware attacks.

Ransomware locks your computers and holds them hostage until an anonymous ransom is paid to hackers online, usually through cryptocurrency.Similarly, spyware such as keyloggers can record and transmit confidential data to third parties across the internet.

4. Use Strong Passwords

Avoid using weak passwords that can easily be hacked. A strong password should be long and feature lower case alphabets, upper case alphabets, numbers, and symbols. It shouldn’t contain easy words such as “non-profit” or “donor.” A reputable password manager that stores your passwordsin a remote and secure location can be a good option.

5. Keep Your Software Update

Devices, applications, operating systems, and other software are constantly upgraded to plug security holes. Activate the auto-update feature to keep your data more secure.

While cybersecurity threats are concerning, your organization isn’t defenseless. Use the right practices and the most secure software to keep your non-profit’s security and privacy intact.