According to a new report released by the UK government, many of the UK’s charities lack critical awareness of and resources necessary to address today’s cyber threats.
The report also found that charities are just as vulnerable to attack as private-sector businesses, yet they are several steps behind in terms of defending against a cyber-attack. Charities often times hold personally identifiable information on their donors, including financial details, addresses, and other types of personal details. Therefore, these organizations need to be held to the same standards as that of private businesses if they are going to handle sensitive details on its donors.
The reason cybersecurity is lacking within this industry is because awareness of cyber threats can be lacking and because cyber security is often left to the outsourced IT provider to deal with, instead of sharing the responsibility amongst all departments equally. While the IT department may be the first line of defense, educating staff within all departments of cybersecurity best practices is a must, regardless of their line of work.
One key issue UK charities face is the lack of available resources to fund a permanent IT Security employee in house. This often puts the burden on CEOs or even members of the finance department to help pick up the slack. Security training is rarely given to staff and volunteers as it’s generally seen as too expensive or difficult to arrange given the large number of remote workers.
The report concluded:
“There is a need for basic awareness-raising among staff and trustees, and upskilling of those responsible for cyber security – so they know the basic technical controls they can put in place. It may also help to disseminate government information and support via the organizations with which charities already have established relationships, such as the Charity Commission. Finally, making use of private-sector expertise among trustees may also help individuals within charities to champion the issue.”
Charities have a lot at stake if they chose to not take cyber security seriously. From a damaged reputation, financial losses or loss of sensitive data, to impacting a charities ability to help those in need, the losses are endless.
NNT recommends implementing the CIS Critical Security Controls at a minimum to help improve your security hygiene. This is a go to resource for any individual looking to expand their understanding of cybersecurity best practices.
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