First the problem was getting fundraising software and accounting software to talk to each other. Then the problem became monitoring what they were saying to each other, or, making sure someone outside the organization wasn’t listening to the conversation for “private inurement.”
Holly Ross, former executive director of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) in Portland, Ore., suggests strongly that nonprofits protect the organization from risks associated with technology. Ross offers the following techniques. Some of them seem so basic, yet many times they are disregarded. They include:
- Firewall. This is a gate between the outside world and an organization’s network of computers. It is essential to have a firewall set up to keep spammers, hackers and other malicious people from infiltrating an organization’s network.
- Antivirus protection. Antivirus software should be installed on each of the computers in an organization’s network.
- Backup. Most people view backing up as insurance for extreme situations such as natural disasters, but the backup is most important in many day-to-day situations.
- Passwords. The simplest way to protect an organization’s data and files is to put in place a strong password policy. Ensure that staff use different passwords for logins and change their passwords regularly.
- Physical security. Equipment such as laptops, printers and desktop computers should be secured to desks with cable locks so they can’t be removed.