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Charity Digital – Topics – How a small charity improved its cybersecurity


Cyber ​​security is difficult for charities, especially those with limited resources, time and money. Service delivery and fundraising will always, naturally, come first, although it should be noted that a cyber attack could compromise both of these priorities, with the potential to disrupt your technology and rob you of funds.

In our recent cybersecurity survey, in partnership with the National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC) and Avast Companywe found that cybersecurity was most often listed as the third priority for charities in the UK, but it shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should feel more like an engine running in the background, ensuring that day-to-day operations run as smoothly and safely as possible.

However, our survey also found that small charities are struggling to ramp up their cybersecurity to keep pace with their larger counterparts. This seems to be partly due to the fact that they underestimate the threat of cyber attacks and partly to limited resources.

More than a third of micro-charities told us they believed their operations would not be affected by a cyber attack. Micro-organizations were also less likely to say in our survey that they were dealing with sensitive user data. Therefore, they did not attach great importance to cybersecurity.

Cyber ​​security was ranked as the third highest priority for charities overall, but for micro charities it was ranked sixth behind service delivery, fundraising, governance , IT and finance.

Again, charities should not dismiss the threat cyber breaches pose to these priorities. The NCSC says in its Cyber ​​Security: A Guide for Small Charities“Like businesses, charities are increasingly IT and technology dependent and fall victim to a range of malicious cyber activities.

“Losing access to this technology, having funds stolen or suffering a data breach through a cyber attack can be devastating, both financially and in terms of reputation. ”

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. There are a host of free online resources available to charities of all sizes, from basic information checks to protect against cyber threats to advice on the best cybersecurity software to use.

Charities can also access a discount on Avast cybersecurity software through Charity Digital Exchange. While small charities may think they’re not as at risk as the biggest super majors, with their big names, big funds, and big databases, the truth is: a cyber attack. can happen to any organization.

The only difference between a micro charity and a cybersecurity super-major is their degree of protection.

How Our Special Friends improved their cybersecurity

Our special friends, a small Suffolk-based charity that promotes, preserves and provides the power of pet companionship, is no expert in cybersecurity. But he knows he has to take care of it anyway.

With the help of Avast and Charity Digital Exchange, Bil Thorn, administrator of our special friends, was able to protect the charity’s devices and keep track of operations, even when volunteers and staff are on hotdesk or working at residence.

Avast takes care of the endpoint protection of our special friends – by protecting every device in their cloud network to prevent criminals from accessing them – and antivirus, scanning and detecting malware before it hits. can cause damage.

It also monitors all network traffic between devices and the outside world to prevent unauthorized communications, looks for suspicious behavior in programs installed on devices that may indicate malicious code, inspects incoming and outgoing emails for information. ensure they’re free from malware – and much more.

But Bil isn’t that familiar with those terms and processes frankly – she just knows she gets the job done.

“It works in the background,” she explains. “There is a clear color coding of the traffic lights, depending on if there is a problem, and instructions. He says to me “Here’s something and you need to take care of it” or just “no further action”. ”

That’s all Bil needs to know – that his network is secure and that the data of Our Special Friends supporters and beneficiaries is secure. Avast is installed on each laptop, in a centralized account, and what’s more, each license can be prorated, meaning they all end and must be renewed at the same time.

“It helps protect everything at once,” Bil explains. “We recently bought two new laptops and had to transfer everything, keeping our old Avast accounts and adding new ones. From setting up initial endpoint protection, moving from laptop to laptop, adding two new seats – it’s simple, we get the licenses, send new links to people using the new devices and we fix them.

The flexibility “really helps” and installations can be done remotely, even without the end users. Ultimately, Avast’s biggest benefit to Bil (besides boosting cybersecurity) is its simplicity. She notes that it’s very intuitive, and even goes so far as to call it “idiot proof.”

But, as Stewart Barber, Accounts Receivable Specialist at Charity Digital, points out, just because Bil doesn’t know the exact ins and outs of the good job she’s done on cybersecurity doesn’t mean he does. there is none.

One of the main obstacles to cybersecurity is the belief that it is either too complex or too expensive to install. With Avast

Business and Charity Digital Exchange is neither.

And while large charities can suffer greater losses due to cyber attacks, the cost to small charities can be just as damaging, especially at a time when they are already struggling thanks to COVID-19 challenges – not to mention the long-term reputational repercussions. .

When it comes to cybersecurity in the charitable sector, everyone is at risk. Take a sheet of Bil’s book and “fix it.”