Nonprofit managers must stay weary of cyberthieves

May 8, 2013

Nonprofit managers must stay weary of cyberthieves

Nonprofit organizations have a lot of critical data in their virtual infrastructure. Information about donors, contact details of investors in the organization and financial figures are just a few of the things that are at risk of being compromised at nonprofits, and suffering from a data breach can be devastating for an entity. Information security has to be top-of-mind for managers at these organizations, and recent statistics from Lieberman Software only make it more important to have the necessary defense infrastructure from cybercriminals.

According to the poll conducted in February at the RSA Conference 2013, 70 percent of IT security professionals would not feel confident betting $100 of their own money that their employer won't be the victim of a data breach in the next six months. Nonprofit managers must take this research to heart and ensure everyone within the organization is doing all they can protect critical information.

"These figures highlight the fact that IT security professionals realize that most organizations are woefully unprotected against cyberattacks," said Philip Lieberman, President and CEO of Lieberman Software.

Stay protected from cybercrime
Nonprofit decision makers shouldn't wait until after they've suffered a data breach to take measures to defend the organization from computer hackers and phishing attacks.

"While vendors of conventional security products – like firewalls and anti-virus – are constantly updating their tools to reactively protect against the latest threats, hackers are looking for flaws and engineering new attacks to exploit them," said Lieberman. "The reality is that 100 percent protection is nearly impossible to achieve, but there are still best practices for securing access to critical systems and data that many organizations tend to ignore."

As Lieberman stated, no entity can feel completely safe from cybercrime, but there are still some things nonprofit managers can do ensure the organization is as safe as possible. Here are some pieces of advice from the Better Business Bureau:

  • Don't blindly open emails: Nonprofit managers may not be able to predict who will be sending them emails, but if something seems suspicious, they should research the address and subject line before opening it.
  • Keep an eye on bank accounts: There is no limit to the information that cybecriminals can infiltrate, making it extremely important to check online banking sites frequently for any transactions or withdrawals that seem off.
  • Use strong passwords: Many times professionals will use simple words in email and computer access codes, but there is no easier way to get hacked than by having poor passwords.

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We first started using First Nonprofit’s Unemployment Savings Program when we were a small startup nonprofit.  We didn’t have an HR department and needed expertise in the event that an unemployment claim was made.  We knew we were eligible to be a reimbursing employer, but weren’t sure how to navigate that process.  They made it easy to set things up, plan for, and then manage claims when they came at a very reasonable cost. The amount of time and stress they’ve saved us dealing with all this has been worth way more than the cost.  We’ve now grown to a large nonprofit and do have an HR department but have no plans to stop using their services.  I highly recommend them to every nonprofit I come into contact with!


Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Chicago, IL

It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios.

Thresholds, Chicago, IL

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New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

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Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ

First Nonprofit has been easy to work with and makes the administrative process easier and smoother. We enjoy working with you.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY