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NPO’s and volunteer security nightmare

April 5, 2019

Not-for-profits have an unusual issue regarding security. Firms that have trained, paid full-time employees have a strong level of control over the actions of their workers.

NPOs, however, may rely heavily on volunteers whose time in the office may be minimal and sporadic. You may feel grateful for their dedication and be less likely to subject them to rigid security training.

Also, a threat of punishment for those who make inadvertent errors that create security risks isn't going to be acceptable in the “volunteer” environment.

Though it may seem a waste of precious volunteer time, you need to consider implementing ongoing training and reminders to all volunteers about what they can do to protect your data and digital infrastructure.

The 2 most common human errors are falling for phishing scams and bringing storage devices to your office and introducing them to laptops and other devices.

Think of the volunteer who creates a brochure for you in their home office, then downloads it to your office PC. This is an excellent backdoor for a virus or malware to break into your infrastructure.

Remind your volunteers on a consistent basis that no outside storage devices are to be brought into the office for use on the NPO’s equipment.

Secondly, provide training on how to recognize phishing scams and the risks of opening unfamiliar emails and links. Finally, for volunteers who work from home, consider using safe shared software platforms like Google Drive or Microsoft 365.

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