How Nonprofits Can Tackle Security Challenges in the Age of IoT?

 In Cyber Security, Security

In the age of the internet of things, Nonprofits are quite susceptible to cyber attacks. It today’s world, unethical data access carries many entry points that you need to be aware of. Since Nonprofits have to deal with a great amount of data, it requires them to deploy a much greater security control. Overall, deploying security measures depends on the risk exposure of the company.

NGOs that have more sensitive data than others will have to take cyber security more seriously because they are much more likely to be targeted. Another consideration that you need to have is the level of IT penetration in the NGO, which is something that has changed drastically in the last decade.

The level of IT penetration brings more risk exposure and allows for new types of attacks. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that certain NPOS will not be relevant for cyber criminals, while others will be top targets. NGOs have to then define what exposure is there and come up with the right controls to protect their data and systems.

Security Needs for Non-Profits

For a nonprofit organization, the symmetry between the level of sophistication between the threats that they can face, versus the level of investments and controls that they can put in cyber security. This makes it somewhat difficult for many NGOs to secure themselves properly. However, when it comes to preparing them for the private sector, one should not differentiate that much, because at the end of the day, many NGOs are small enterprises that use similar systems.

The only difference between the nonprofit and the small business is the end client that they serve. For a long time, there was a belief that they would not be targeted because of their nonprofit social mission. That has completely changed in the last decade and you find attacks against NGOs with noble missions.

One slight difference between the NGOs and private sector is that nonprofit organizations do not scale their cyber security capabilities along with their own growth. In the private sector, cyber security is prioritized as the company grows. Furthermore, organizations in the private sector offer critical services in many countries in the world. Nonprofits today do not enjoy this service which is why they are unable to access resources of cyber security.

Threats Specific to Nonprofits

The motive of hackers to target nonprofits can differ. If you look at cyber crime that is purely motivated by financial accumulation, then you will find that the hacker has the same reason to attack any organization. The amount of money that criminals can make by going after nonprofits is very high. Some nonprofits receive over million dollars of funding especially if they are helping a bigger cause.

If you look at NGOs that operate in slightly more politicized spaces, particularly in conflict regions, the motives of hackers can tend to be different. There is a lot more politics involved and sometimes religious reasons as well. This differentiates the nature of attacker you are facing, however, the nature of attack types stay fairly consistent.

You have to keep in mind that since nonprofits do not make good investments towards cyber security, the attackers do not need to leverage from advanced infrastructures to conduct their attack and get to their objective. Many times, attacks stem from something as simple as leaked a password that has been reused many times.

What Resources are Hackers Targeting?

Apart from the financial resources, there are also other resources that hackers are looking to target. This poses a threat for small to mid-sized nonprofits. The worst case scenario may not be downtime and business continuity, but it can pertain to how data oriented a business is. For a highly funded business, the scenario can be quite different.

Overall, data today is no less important than money. In some instances, hackers have stolen data from nonprofits and threatened them to sell the valuable data. Some nonprofits have data that consist of credit card information, social security information, and medical records. All of this can be subject to things extortions and threats.

Overall, there are several ways in which attackers can monetize data that is sensitive. Nonprofits may also be targeted simply because of the nature of their organizations. This pertains to the stories that they uncover and reveal to the public eye. You find this happening in the human rights space where nonprofits are targeted simply because they are exposing threats.

This leads to threats that have physical consequences and go outside the bounds of the virtual realm. They have physical consequences and drastic repercussions. This is also a part of the reason why institutes were setup. It can also draw connections between cyber attacks and impacts on human life, which may not be talked about enough but it can be very evident.

Nonprofits and their Need for Security

Nonprofits play an integral role in improving the state of the world, but they also have responsibilities. In particular, they have a responsibility in protecting the less fortunate. The challenges arise when it comes to protecting data using costly measures. Most nonprofits do not have the means to spend on cyber security and IT infrastructure.

This is why they need to resort to managed IT services that help them cut their costs before deploying additional layers of security. This will help them create room in their finances for cyber security.

Innovate and Secure With Prescient

Prescient Solutions can help nonprofits integrate innovative and cost effective measures of security. They have a range of solutions, tools, and expertise for helping nonprofits sort out their IT challenges in the most streamlined and sophisticated manner. From virtual help desks, to support, monitoring and cloud security, Prescient Solution provides it all. Not to mention, they also have a long line of experience of working with many nonprofits, and have countless of satisfied nonprofit clients.

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