Practical Advice to Keep Your Nonprofit Safe Online

Practical Advice to Keep Your Nonprofit Safe Online

Microsoft has asked the world to share one simple tip for using the Internet safely, charging people to #Do1Thing. And in September, TechSoup.org received a grant from Microsoft to launch "The Safer Online for Nonprofits" – a campaign focused on providing nonprofit organizations with sensible guidelines for online safety.

Because nonprofits do not typically have the luxury of having a dedicated IT department to protect their organizations from security breaches, it is especially important that this knowledge is shared in this community. Additionally, nonprofits rely on the goodwill of donors, who trust their personal information with the receiving organization. Because we believe the internet shouldn't be a scary place – and because we're overachievers – we put together not one but four of our best tips for nonprofits:

  1. Check the URL bar (where the www is) for a lock icon. That means that the website is encrypted with HTTPS (aka Transport Layer Security) and any sensitive information you enter, like a credit card number, is safe from middle man attacks. It is also important to note that if your website accepts donations online, it is critical to encrypt your website with HTTPS – for both security and, to a lesser extent, search optimization. You can read more about how encryption affects search optimization here.

  2. Avoid obvious passwords and change them regularly. Between the recent Gmail hack, iCloud attacks, and Heartbleed this year, it is important to make each password unique and consisting of a random set of numbers and letters. The more random, the stronger it is! You can read more about password safety here.

  3. Never open email attachments or click links from addresses you do not recognize. If a questionable email comes from an address you do recognize, hit the "reply" button and see if the address changes. If it does, it's a bad email in disguise! Learn more about email viruses here.

  4. To ensure security and prevent costly downtime, nonprofits can enlist the help of a remote help desk. A remote help desk is an off-site team of support technicians that are on-call to assist with a huge range of technical problems – including viruses. They can perform nearly all of the same support tasks that an onsite IT department can perform, and at a fraction of the cost. Computer problems can kill productivity. Remote help desks come to the rescue quickly.

If your nonprofit organization could benefit from IT assistance and you’re in the Chicagoland area, give us a call at (773) 241-3007. We’ll be rooting for your nonprofit and handling your technical issues, so you can continue to make the world a better place.

Sara Seibt 
Managed IT Services