Report : Asset Management | March 22, 2023

Make cybersecurity a priority for your nonprofit

Updated January 26, 2024

Read time: 3 minutes

The bad guys are always looking. Consider a private foundation that moved to a new location in midtown Manhattan. Minutes after connecting a network server in their new office, the staff detected hundreds of pings on the server. That quickly, hackers were testing the new IP address to assess vulnerabilities. Fortunately, the foundation took immediate steps and worked with an IT consultant to protect its network. In this case, no harm was done, but a valuable lesson was learned. 

Think of the hackers who targeted the foundation’s server as burglars walking the streets of a business district searching for unlocked doors. Cybercriminals don’t care that you’re a nonprofit—a mission-driven organization focused on the causes you serve—they’re just looking for easy pickings. They see an opportunity to access information about your donors, and they gamble on the chance that you are unaware of the threat they pose. Hackers may even target nonprofits, knowing that you have fewer technology resources than your for-profit neighbors and that your staff may have multiple responsibilities in addition to IT. 

Unfortunately, nonprofits often lag on cybersecurity. Nonprofit cyberconsultant Community IT says that over 70% of nonprofits have not performed vulnerability assessments, most nonprofits don’t provide regular cybersecurity training to staff, and a majority don’t require multifactor authentication.1  

Clients often ask us how they can remain vigilant against cyberattacks. And while Vanguard doesn’t provide customized cybersecurity reviews, we have assembled a guide, Cybersecurity for Nonprofits: Improve Your Defenses, which lays out some straightforward steps you can take to combat cybercrime. You’ll find immediate actions you can take to strengthen your defenses, longer-term strategies to protect your organization from the threat of cybercriminals, and suggestions for further reading on this important topic.