Nonprofits in Need
Amidst the COVID-19 response, many organizations have found themselves fighting a battle on two fronts: one physical, the other digital. Both public and private sector industries have been doing their best to keep their networks, devices, and data safe from cyber threats as they cope with remote work challenges.
The nonprofit community is one such industry. From social and health services to shelters and food banks, the resources nonprofits provide are a lifeline for many. As COVID-19 spread across the country, nonprofits had to switch tactics and strategies to stay afloat without sacrificing these essential services.
Though the size and scope of nonprofits vary widely, many run with skeleton cybersecurity crews (if any at all) and outdated software and hardware, making them particularly vulnerable to cyberattack and data loss – and the devastating downtime that often follows. Adding to the challenge, many nonprofits are behind the curve when it comes to implementing cyber protection policies and training. In fact, in a 2018 survey, only 29% of nonprofits stated plans to adopt security measures.
Another 2018 survey found more than 40% of nonprofits lacked a single staff member dedicated solely to IT. The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to widen that gap in technical expertise. With financial assistance hard to come by, many nonprofits have had to furlough or lay off employees. Between February and May alone, nonprofits across the nation cut 1.6 million jobs (almost 13% of the sector’s total), further stretching already thin IT staffing. This number is only expected to rise as traditional funding sources run dry and more people turn to such organizations for their services.
With such limited resources at their disposal (and heavy reliance on volunteer and part-time staff, in general), many nonprofits are ill-prepared to counter the daunting cyber threats of the day. As more and more records and operations move virtual, outside hackers can take advantage of unsecured systems to steal or encrypt an organization’s most sensitive information, from donor data to key planning documents.
Last year, for example, a Washington food bank suffered a ransomware attack that left only one computer operational and cost the nonprofit $8,000 in replacement costs for the infected systems. More recently, a technology provider for more than twenty nonprofits and universities was targeted as well, with hackers holding fundraising data hostage until paid a ransom – and threatening the public’s trust in those institutions.
Though dealing with a cyberattack is no cakewalk for any organization, for-profit institutions tend to have more funds at their disposal to make up for downtime. Nonprofits, on the other hand, often lack that luxury. Without the right cyber protection, backup, and disaster recovery tools, the resulting downtime and recovery process can be particularly crippling for nonprofits.
Giving Nonprofits a Fighting Chance
For most organizations, just finding the funds, knowledge, and employees needed to keep their services running is tough. Protecting data and systems can seem like an overwhelming challenge to add to the mix. However, with so many communities relying on the services nonprofits provide, such organizations can hardly afford to relegate cyber protection to the back burner.
One of the first steps to shore up cyber protection is adapting tools and policies to match the cyber threats of today – and better protect against those of tomorrow. Part of that effort involves upgrading hardware and software, since updated and ‘in-season’ hardware and software are generally more secure than legacy models with well-documented weaknesses and access points.
Another critical step is education – making sure all employees and volunteers understand the different threats out there and what they can do to protect against compromise. Ensuring all users with access to an organization’s network are equipped to recognize phishing threats and suspicious URLs and attachments will help minimize risk and keep systems and data safe from hackers.
Let Acronis SCS Be Your Nonprofit’s Cyber Safety Net
As a nonprofit, your mission deserves all your attention. Acronis SCS’ innovative, cost-effective, and easy-to-use solutions make cyber protection simple – and help you stay focused on that mission. Acronis SCS Cyber Backup , for example, provides best-of-breed backup and disaster recovery capabilities to minimize downtime, with AI-based Active Protection against thousands of ransomware strains, including zero day attacks.
Looking for a more comprehensive endpoint protection software with backup? Acronis SCS Cyber Protect Cloud and our forthcoming on-premise offering provides your organization with a one-stop-shop for integrated data protection and cybersecurity, combining backup and recovery, anti-malware, and endpoint security and management in one management console. With special remote work security features, like third-party videoconferencing app protection, URL filtering, and remote desktop, these tools ensure all your organization’s endpoints stay #CyberFit, without requiring users to become IT experts.
No matter your nonprofit’s cyber protection needs, Acronis SCS provides a foolproof and future-proof way to keep your sensitive data and critical systems secure. Contact us today to learn more about our fit for your computing environment.