Understanding and Mitigating the Cyber Threat to Charities

Charities face cyber threats that have the potential to undo the essential work they carry out. In this article our specialist charities Account Director Houweida El Ashkar reviews the cyber threat landscape for charities as we speed towards 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to industries across the globe, and the charities sector is no exception. Predominantly, charities pre-COVID operated a face-to-face and on-the-ground engagement model. However, when COVID-19 hit and lockdowns were enforced, this was no longer possible. Charities were forced to react quickly by adopting an online digital experience for their beneficiaries, donors, and supporters.

Technology has proven to be vital in sustaining an operating model during the pandemic. Devices, connectivity, and software have enabled charities to continue delivering invaluable services to their communities. It has allowed for collaboration and access to data, thus enabling charities to process requests more efficiently and continue to deliver positive social impact within disadvantaged communities.

However, by moving further towards the online world, charities have had to become vigilant to protect themselves from cyber-attacks. Taking into consideration governance, compliance, GDPR and cyber security threats, being cloud-ready has become the fundamental topic on everyone’s agenda.

What is Expected from Charities Today?

There is a new level of expectation on charities when it comes to governance and compliance. With GDPR and PCI, the need to meet these requirements is no longer an option but a mandate. This is not without warrant – a cyber-attack can dismantle and bring a charity to its knees. Donor information, personal details including banking details, and safeguarding of sensitive information require the highest level of cyber security.

According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, 26% of charities faced a security breach in 2020, with high-income charities being the hardest hit at 51%.

Developer Blackbaud was targeted by a cyber-attack in May 2020, in which hackers broke into the developer’s systems and stole personal data relating to donors and others who had shared those details with Blackbaud’s customers.

This highlights how with each new software application implemented within the charity, a cyber security plan needs to follow suit in order to ensure end-to-end encryption for all applications, devices and software being used by the charity.

How Six Degrees Keeps Charities Cyber Safe

Six Degrees conducts regular cyber security assessments for charities, testing the level of security and threats their online environments pose. Through these assessments, recommendations and options are provided on how to combat the threats charities face.

As one of the UK’s only Microsoft Azure Expert MSPs, we offer our industry-leading Managed Detection and Response (MDR) service to keep charities protected from cyber-attack, 24×7. MDR leverages the industry-leading Microsoft Defender for Endpoint security platform to deliver proactive cyber incident management, prevention, and analysis – right down to the endpoint. Working with charities, we become an extension of their IT team, providing confidence that they have a team of specialists protecting them from cyber-attacks.

Choosing to partner with Six Degrees embeds confidence for all our clients. An ISO and NCSC-accredited partner, Six Degrees is the trusted secure cloud partner organisations across the UK rely on.

With affordable solutions and managed services to cater for charities of all sizes, now is the time to get in touch with our Six Degrees consultants to learn more on how to protect your charity from online cyber-attacks.

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