Rapid digitalization around the world and online security challenges presented by it has now necessitated organizations to adopt secure facilities and services to manage their data. NGOs and other social enterprises that rely on technology and data to expand would also need to equip themselves against data security threats. All of this brings forth an important realization - the need for safety of sensitive data and critical documents. With the rise in cybercrimes increasing every year, it is absolutely necessary to upgrade cybersecurity services to protect sensitive data and networks.
Cybersecurity allows organizations to prevent cybercriminals from getting to their digital files and networks. Many people often use the term hacking when talking about cybersecurity. Hacking is the exploitation of a digital system (mainly PCs, laptops, smartphones etc) to commit illegal activities like fraud, privacy invasion, stealing corporate/personal data, etc. Organizations and governments around the globe spend billions of dollars to keep their data, networks and systems safe from such attacks.
Our government is restructuring and implementing new guidelines and strategies to strengthen the cybersecurity ecosystem and capacity in India. NGOs and social enterprises need to assess requirements for their digital set-up's protection. This step is necessary to ensure that the data present with NGOs like donor details, NGOs finances, internal-management data etc is secure within its storage.
NPOs are constantly under the threat of data theft. Cybercriminals have quick methods to test the tenacity of a data security system. In the absence of a security system, or if the if it is weak, the data could easily get stolen or misused. It is crucial to understand that cyber attacks can disrupt operations, impede the faith placed in an organisation by its stakeholders and cause legal troubles in case identity information etc is stolen and misused.
NPOs world over address different causes like primary health care, education, housing, emergency response, refugee services, senior care, poverty alleviation, water/land/forest conservation, women empowerment etc. Technology has helped organizations deliver these services effectively, increasing the speed of communications, easing operations and providing for better management. Without digital security, NPOs stand the risk of collapsing from potential security breaches and cyber-attacks.
NGOs need to manage their projects, resources and budgets so that they are resilient from threats coming from harm intending sources (both digital and physical). Also, the credibility and potency of NGOs remain positive when they are secure from these threats.
According to a report,
60 % of Nonprofits are unaware of existing organization policy to regulate and safeguard their digital data.
74 % of Nonprofits don't use multifactor authentication to access agency email and other business accounts. Such steps can be put in place to deter the efforts of hackers to steal passwords or compromise data.
40 % of Nonprofits use unsecured wireless networks that are not updated by any security patch or software.
92 % of Nonprofits and social organizations have no premeditated security feature for the staff to access organizational email and files using their own devices.
The stats mentioned above shed light on why NPOs are being targeted by hackers or unauthorized third-parties.
NGOs can consider the steps below to evaluate their security risks and ensure higher levels of protection -
NGOs should establish access control measures and procedures that don't allow the misuse of the organization's data or system. They should immediately revoke access in case of any suspicious activity or behaviour.
With the help of Government initiatives, NGOs can train themselves on IT infrastructure, cybersecurity rules and guidelines.
Establish structured cybersecurity governance that helps in spreading awareness on cybersecurity policies, procedures and regulation that are to be strictly adhered to.
Maintaining and upgrading security services when an organization is scaling and expanding its data.
In case of any suspicious activity, immediately back up the data to another source, test and take action on the suspicious activity.
Use of private networks and end-line protection can decrease the rate of cyber threats to a large extent.