Non Profit Cybersecurity

Non-profit Cybersecurity: Challenges & Solutions

Posted on May 9, 2022

Estimated reading time 7 minutes

What does it mean to have effective data governance in the third sector?

Non-profit cybersecurity challenges are mounting as cyberattacks events become more frequent. The UK government’s Cyber Security Breach 2021 Survey found 26% of charities had a data breach in the last 12 months. Like previous years, threat actors follow the money, with 51% of high-income charities reporting breaches.

As a result, data security is a growing worry in non-profit organisations. With tech-minded talent poached by private-sector salaries, establishing a basis for effective data governance in the third sector is challenging — but not impossible.

Continue reading to discover how you can implement a robust cybersecurity strategy that is attainable for non-profit organisations, using cloud-first tools and a Zero Trust approach.

Challenges for non-profits in cybersecurity

Attacks are growing in volume and complexity

Recent Accenture data showed cyberattacks increased by 125% in the first half of 2021, meaning the global security threat is mounting. Every type of organisation is now a target as hackers realise they can leverage stolen data or place network access under ransom. Yet, charities and other non-profit organisations face unique challenges that position them as interesting targets for threat actors.

Potential data breaches can affect more than the organisation itself as third sector bodies often hold casework records on their beneficiaries. As a result, those closest to the organisation may face acute harm ranging from identity fraud to blackmail.

At the same time, cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated. Although phishing email remains the most common attack vector, threat actors have become highly proficient in social engineering methods.

These attack campaigns involve high-level deception and emails or web pages that look genuine, meant to trick readers into providing login details or financial information. Non-profit organisations must adopt a more comprehensive approach to their cybersecurity for today’s environment.

The third sector lags in modern IT security governance

The sudden shift to working from home has made non-profit cybersecurity more difficult. IT networks have become more porous as the network perimeter has grown, giving new opportunities for threat actors. Although non-profits are not alone in experiencing this vulnerability, they are more exposed, as many lack sufficient IT governance.

Historically, the third sector has struggled with cutting-edge IT-enabled strategies, because it’s challenging to maintain investment in new technologies. On-prem IT assets are costly and come with limited lifespans, and attracting talent for effective IT security is difficult against the private sector let alone in the current market where there is a shortage of skills.

Worryingly, data from the UK government’s Cyber Security Breach 2021 Survey showed that this digital skills gap exists even in senior leadership. Although 68% of trustees rated cyber security as a high priority, 23% have never actually received an annual security report. A further 29% received a report once or less than once a year.

Therefore, visibility of their security performance should be the first objective. Following this, third sector bodies require new cybersecurity technologies, access to the right skills to implement them,and updated guidelines for cybersecurity and privacy management on an ongoing basis.

What are the best non-profit guidelines for cybersecurity and privacy?

The latest cloud tools offers third sector and non-profit organisations ways to enhance their cyber security easily. As a leading Microsoft solutions provider, we recommend a customised strategic roadmap that embeds cybersecurity within your organisation without compromising day-to-day operations. This roadmap should resemble the following:

  • Implementing a zero trust model: Zero-trust is the new industry standard of organisational security and minimises vulnerabilities within your IT network security effectively.
  • Utilising identity-based network access: Identity-based network permissions provide employees with access to the files and software they need and no more. Similarly, time-linked access rights prevent user permissions from creeping up over time — limiting vulnerabilities from the bottom up.
  • Establishing modern end-point management: Each additional networked device is another way for threat actors to access your data. Therefore, you can protect your network by securing the devices that access it — stopping breaches at their source.

What are the non-profit cybersecurity outcomes?

If you implement the combined cloud-enabled cybersecurity suite outlined above, you’ll gain:

  • Complete visibility over your network’s activity and permission configurations.
  • A proactive approach, protecting against attacks via near-real-time alerts and remediation informed by the latest security playbook.
  • Live insights on your cloud utilisation and spend, helping you identify more efficient ways of working and opportunities to save money across your organisation.
  • Simplified compliance, helping you abide by cybersecurity best practices, company policies and regulatory standards, minimising GDPR fines.

How can Atech help?

We were recently awarded a Gold Partner award in Security from Microsoft, meaning we’re highly experienced in Microsoft cloud tools and security solution deployment. We bring this insight and experience to our clients, creating scalable security solutions for their needs each time.

Our team is extremely passionate about cybersecurity and continually scans the tech horizon for new threat methods and cloud innovations. As a result, we’re at the forefront of cybersecurity challenges across multiple sectors and can offer tailored security programmes for non-profit cybersecurity challenges.

We can implement AI-enabled cloud tools like Microsoft Sentinel, helping you address the rising attack volume and access the world’s largest threat database to establish a proactive approach to threat detection and remediation. We also provide solutions against social engineering campaigns, like BEC protections for senior leaders and simulated phishing attacks, for an extensive cybersecurity approach.

Best of all, as an external provider, we deliver more cost-effective services to non-profit organisations than in-house management. By partnering with us, our clients access strategic advice on cybersecurity or productivity challenges and leading cloud security solutions.

Non-profit cybersecurity solutions: the Zero Trust network approach

A new approach to non-profit cybersecurity is vital in today’s dynamic threat landscape.

Using an identity-based Zero Trust network model, you can equip your organisation with effective IT network security tools and protect your data from breaches at scale.

Microsoft cloud technologies offer leading security standards at cost-effective rates, meaning you can easily safeguard your data and accelerate your productivity at the same time.

Access expert non-profit cybersecurity support from Atech

Atech is a nine-time Microsoft Gold Partner and is a leading UK cloud solutions provider.

We have extensive experience in helping non-profit clients shore up their security architecture and utilise cloud tools effectively via affordable, customised support.

Get in touch to learn more about our expertise and services, and establish a modern data governance plan in your non-profit organisation today.

James Pearse
James Pearse CTO

James is the CTO at Atech and leads the team of Security Architects and SOC analysts to deliver an intelligent, proactive and tailored service. He helps our customers unlock the potential of Microsoft Security.

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