Organizations of all sizes are at risk of cyber attacks. Ministry response teams are particularly vulnerable as they are often made up of teams of volunteers working remotely, and have access to sensitive personal data of those whom you are serving.
A cyber attack can have a devastating impact on a ministry, leading to data breaches, financial losses, damage to reputation, or worse. MII receives calls about once a month from different ministries experiencing a Facebook crisis because poor password policies created an opportunity for someone to log into their social media account and create havoc. To help your team stay safe, MII has gathered some suggestions for how ministries can help to keep their teams safe from cyber attacks and their ministries running smoothly.
Use Strong Passwords
This is a must! To ensure the security of your follow up team’s information and the data and information they collect, it is important to utilize strong password policies. Yes, a policy is necessary. Create a strong password policy for your ministry that requires teams to create passwords that have a minimum password length and strength (use a combination of symbols, numbers, and capitalization in every password). Passwords should NEVER be reused across different accounts. Reusing passwords creates an opportunity for a hacker to find one password, and then use it to access all of your different social media platforms, websites, and more.
Buy and Use Password Keeper Software
After reading that first tip, many of you will groan just thinking about how painful it is to deal with hard passwords. Thankfully, there are tools to help you deploy a strong password policy. For a relatively small annual fee, tools like LastPass, Keeper, and Dashlane will manage your passwords for you. For those of you that don’t know, a password manager is a software application that can help you create and store strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts. Rather than relying on memory, your team can use an auto-fill feature to securely log into all of your sites and applications. This will make it much more difficult for threats to your team’s cybersecurity to guess your passwords.
Keep Software Up to Date
Software updates often include security patches that can help to protect your systems from vulnerabilities. This is particularly important for your servers and website software (WordPress, for example). It is important to keep your software up to date to ensure that you are protected from the latest threats and malware which works around outdated security techniques. By installing software updates as soon as they are available, you can help to protect yourself from such threats. Be sure to keep things up to date on all of the software you use, not just your device, as threats may arise to specific services such as your browser or email provider.
Deploy Multi-Factor Authentication
The use of multi-factor authentication is also advisable. Multi-factor authentication (MFA), sometimes called two-factor authentication (2FA), adds an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring users to enter a code from their phone in addition to their password when they log in.
Backup Your Data
Prepare for the worst – You’ll likely be hacked or experience a data breach at some point, so it is important to be prepared to act quickly when that happens. In the event of a data breach, you need to have a backup of your data so that you can restore it quickly. You should back up your data to a secure off-site location on a monthly basis.
Train Your Team on Security Policies
You, and people on your team are your biggest cyber threat. Most data breaches occur because someone clicked on a malicious file, re-used a simple password, or simply left their computer open while being away from their desk. It is important to educate yourself and your employees about cybersecurity risks and how to protect themselves from them. This includes training on topics such as phishing, malware, and social engineering. A quick Google search for “cybersecurity training for employees” will give you many options for training your team on how to keep their personal and ministry information secure.
Cyber threats are a constant battle. Taking these steps can protect your team and those to whom you are ministering. Rather than ignoring these threats or “hoping” that nothing bad happens, follow these simple steps to protect your organization against bad actors. We can’t eliminate all possible threats, but the suggestions above will go a long way to keep your ministry and your people safe.
Guest Post by Media Impact International (MII)
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