Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 34 seconds

Moving Your Donor Data to the Cloud

Cloud-Security-3If your organization is considering migrating your donor information to the cloud, you are probably concerned about the safety of your data. The recent attack on Anthem that resulted in the largest data breach in history might lead you to believe that hackers only target big companies and organizations. The truth is hackers actually tend to pick smaller companies and nonprofits figuring, rightly so, that they have lower levels of security.

So how do you keep your data safe in the cloud?
First, use a trusted provider. Do your research and ask questions. Yes, technology evolves but your cloud provider should evolve with it. Make sure the company uses current technology, and most importantly takes security seriously.

Don’t be afraid to ask your cloud provider if they use both internal and external firewalls. You should also ask about access to their servers, is it gated through non-standard ports to help prevent unauthorized access. Also, are all the servers housing your data using secure, encrypted protocols like HTTPS?

Malware, Trojan horses, there is no end to the methods hackers will employee to try to infiltrate your data. To ensure your data remains secure your cloud provider should use corrective patches, antivirus protection, backups, egress blocking, and administrative passwords. Yes, that seems like a lot, but you can never be too cautious with your donor data.

You may think that all you have in the cloud is names and addresses, but to a hacker that is a goldmine. Another way to keep your data is secure is to think about what you are storing in the cloud.

Keep in mind, even if you’re just using Google Drive to store spreadsheets containing donor information that is using the cloud. That data is potentially at risk. So does that spreadsheet really need to contain donor social security numbers or donor passwords?

Your cloud provider should have a way to prevent unauthorized users, such as firewalls and intrusion-detection systems. These protect outsiders from changing your data or accessing confidential information.

Unfortunately, security breaches can be the result of human error. One of the biggest errors is mistaking good electronic security for total security. There is no such thing as total security.

Simple things like using strong passwords, remembering to log out of remote terminals and not leaving a computer on when away from it are all small simple things you staff can employee to keep the data safe.

Criminals have a way around your firewall; it is your employees and volunteers. Anyone of them could become the victim of a social engineering scheme designed to collect their log on information so hackers can gain authorized access to your system.

It is important to remember, protecting your data is not just an IT issue it is an issue for the whole organization. While there are risks to having your data in the cloud, the benefits far outweigh the potential risks.

If you use trusted software/providers, think twice about what you are storing in the cloud and follow you good password protection you can keep your data safe.

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