Nonprofit organizations are highly vulnerable to cyberattacks. Because of a lack of financial resources, many nonprofits do not have the money to invest in the most advanced cybersecurity tools to combat hackers. However, money is not the only factor preventing nonprofit organizations from staying secure from cyberattacks.
According to a recent study released by the technology consulting firm Ponemon Institute, employee negligence represents the most common reason for loss data incidents. Nearly 60% of nonprofit organizations reported a data loss incident over the past 12 months as a result of an employee’s mistake in sending or receiving emails. If just one of your nonprofit employees mixes work and personal email accounts or cannot recognize a social engineering intrusion, your organization can become the victim of a cyberattack.
The same Ponemon study reported the most effective way to combat hackers involves implementing a comprehensive employee training program.
Recognize and Take Action Against Social Engineering Threats
The most common and potentially damaging cybersecurity threat to your nonprofit organization is social engineering attacks. The Ponemon study states almost 20% of all data breaches result from an illegal act called phishing. Performed on its own or combined with other types of social engineering acts, phishing lures a victim to take an action that reveals sensitive organization information.
Training employees to recognize and then act against social engineering attacks starts with verifying a sender’s name and email address. Another sign of a social engineering attack is an irregular email format that indicates the presence of a fake account. Employees can also call the source of a dubious email and ask for important information such as login credentials. They can hover a computer mouse over email links to ensure the validity of an email as well.
Make it Difficult to Gain Access
Employees of your nonprofit organization can be the wall that stops invasive cyberattacks by following the best password practices, as well as adopting a multi-factor authentication system. Train your employees to create long passwords that contain at least eight characters and a variety of characters, such as letters, numbers, and symbols. Changing between lower and upper case letters is another way to combat hackers.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) represents a strategy that adds at least one additional layer to your nonprofit’s digital security system. It requires users to present more than one verification factor to gain access to a digital resource. For instance, in addition to creating a difficult-to-hack password, an employee also requires a user to answer a security question, such as “What is the name of your high school.”
Make Cybersecurity Training an Ongoing Process
Training your nonprofit organization employees to combat hackers should be an ongoing process to ensure workers understand the latest strategies to prevent outside intrusions. Cybersecurity training should be an integral part of the onboarding process by training employees both in live and digital settings to recognize and take action against cybersecurity threats. Conducting practice drills gives employees the opportunity to implement the strategies they have learned when confronted with a cybersecurity threat. Practice drills help employees learn from their mistakes, especially when it involves not recognizing the attempts made by hackers to gain access to sensitive data and information.
At Ernst Wintter & Associates LLP, we provide comprehensive audit, review, examination and compilation services as well as tax services that fit your business needs. Our professionals have specific expertise in the financial services industry, nonprofit sector, and employee benefit plan audit requirements. Please contact us today.