Wise Giving Wednesday: Sensible Cybersecurity
The more we depend on technology, the more vulnerable we can be to cybersecurity issues, unless active steps are taken to avoid potential trouble. For this Wise Giving Wednesday, we focus on basic measures that are relevant to both donors and charities in addressing online security issues.
We have so much to remember in our daily lives that we sometimes cut corners, just to make things a little easier. A simple password might seem practical, but it could put your personal information or organization’s data at serious risk. To be safe, experts recommend using 12 characters, with some combination of lower-case letters, upper-case letters, numbers and two symbols. Although this might require you to keep a written password index or sign up with an app that provides a “safe” for all your passwords, a stronger password is an inexpensive and helpful way of strengthening security. For added protection, organizations also might consider a two-step verification process, for accessing their networks, such as a code number that is sent to an individual’s phone. Periodically change passwords, at least every six months.
Charities and individuals should make sure they individually backup up all their data. The more frequent the backup, the better protected one will be from ransomware attacks or a laptop that gets fried due to a power surge, beverage spill or accident.
Measures Against Malware
Charities and individuals can subscribe to a malware and virus protection service that automatically updates security for all the laptops and computers in use. This will help prevent inappropriate and malicious programs from being accidentally downloaded. Equally important is to watch out for suspicious emails that ask you to click on a link, they can also be in disguise by making it appear they come from an official source or colleague. Sometimes there are clues in the false emails such as misspellings in the message and/or the sender having an odd-looking address.
Respond and Recover
Make a practice cyber incident response plan, so that you know what to do in case a serious problem emerges. For charities, each staff member should know what steps they should automatically take if a breach occurs. For individuals, have an accessible and secure place that stores all your passwords in case you need to change them quickly, you won’t have to search for them. Know which authorities may need to be contacted.
This is just a short list of possible protections, there are other steps that can be taken, but we hope this provides a trusted place to start.
Heart of Giving Podcast
This week’s Heart of Giving Podcast includes a detailed interview with Martin “Marty” Rodgers, who serves as Accenture's market unit lead for the US South and the office managing director for the Washington, D.C. Metro Area. Marty is an outspoken advocate of social responsibility and is committed to inclusion and diversity.
We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:
Finally, remember to let us know by going to give.org/charity-inquiry if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.