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7 Ways to Protect Your Colleagues Online Today

If I am being honest, as much as I have questions about technology, it really has saved us during the pandemic. Without tech and the internet the world would have become completely disconnected from all of the huge global events that 2020 brought (and each other). But it is more than just connectivity, tech has evolved us, and brought organizations a new, hybrid style method of working remotely. There are a few concerning parts to these digital advances, which have led to an increase of cyber attacks on individuals, businesses and shockingly even nonprofits.

It is not a surprise to say that the damage cyber crimes can cause to an organization’s reputation and finances is not to be taken lightly. All a hacker needs is to have access to a network or device that is linked to your organization and the rest is history if not acted on quickly. Now this is not a surprise to the world of finance, business enterprise, the public sector and so on, but what would a hacker want with a non-profit? Simple, the same money, data and personal information, with way less firewalls.

According to one study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, problematic internet usage has risen to a rate of one-third during Covid-19. This stuff matters and we need to take charge now.

So what do you do? The only thing you can do; learn. We must all commit to keeping our organizations. but in order to do that we must look at our personal cyber habits. What we know, and how we protect ourselves online will, without doubt reduce the risk we bring into our organization, non profit or church.

You are the first line of defense for your organization. You and your colleagues need to make conscious efforts to prevent risk to your organization, church or community. It is easy to say that the best way is to just “stay safe online”, but what does that actually mean? Internet safety can span from preventing identity theft, filtering the kind of content you make public as that your Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is not easily sought out. We at 1600 Avenue are going out into the most vulnerable members of the community and sharing some specific, yet easy ways to keep YOU and YOUR organization, church or community safe.

Here are 7 things that you can start practicing today when trying to up you organization’s cyber safety and team cyber culture:

  1. Read between the lines, and review privacy and security settings carefully. Instead of going with the default settings, decide which accounts, softwares and social media apps will be able to access each function. Consider the consequences of each setting.

  2. Teach yourself, and then your colleagues steps to take when increasing what we at 1600 Avenue have coined “privacy hygiene." We can show you more at the 1600 National Cyber Security Center, For Community (1600 NCSC)

  3. Trust & data ethics. Define and name what we are talking about and thereby increase your colleagues' understanding of the value of privacy and personal information. Behind the data, there are people trusting you to handle their details.

  4. Avoid sharing company links or meeting links to people outside of your organization or to non-permanent staff. Seeing as though a lot of nonprofits rely heavily on volunteers and or seasonal help, it is imperative to limit the amount of organization information that can be accessed by these individuals.

  5. Do not become a product of big business. They say, "if you are not searching for a product, you turn into one" (The Social Dilemma, Netflix 2020). You turn into a product becoming a data point on a list for corporations to sell or share. This is the largest digital violation of our human rights.

  6. Set the tone from early hiring and onboarding protocols where you can set the company culture and tone from the first day. Make sure good cyber behaviours are learnt as new colleagues go through organization’s policies, password set up, etc. Make privacy a priority.

  7. Learn more. The cycle never stops, like a virus it changes and becomes more sophisticated. You can never know enough. It is worth looking for online community education and apps that will advocate for those most vulnerable. The goal is to spread this awareness like wildfire and spark what will be a shift in internet and mobile phone usage. Share with your other colleagues, share with your families.We are building the future we want to see, using technology for what we need, without letting it use us!

As with any new idea or movement, all of this will take time. The more we can raise awareness, though, the more we can support and offer resources for equitable solutions. We are trying to take care of our most vulnerable.

Learn more here – and discover what 1600 NCSC and The Privacy Survival Kit can do for you

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