Non-Profit Leadership: The High Price of Cyber Safety

Non-profit organizations faced challenges during the pandemic, including health, safety, and financial issues. Now, they're dealing with increased safety concerns, cybersecurity threats, and resource allocation to ensure protection.
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Non-profit organizations have been on quite a journey since the pandemic. As you may remember, we were providing health and safety measures and equipment during the pandemic while working through issues with our clients and staff. It was a challenging time emotionally, health-wise, and financially.

However, since that time we also have had additional challenges in the area of safety, particularly with all the increased threats of mass shootings in our schools and the increased levels of violence. Most schools and non-profits have had to review safety procedures, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for safety measures for their facilities and even hire more security staff for the protection of staff, students and their environment.

Lakeside has stepped up its lock-down capacity, placed cameras in our vans, increased our video technology, and applied for other grant funding to enhance our security measures. In our schools and non-profits, we are all working to be vigilant for safety in our organizations.

Another area that is full of challenges is the world of cybersecurity. We are having constant discussions about protection of our technology. We have become very dependent in our work with students on technology. Our students have computers, phones and tablets that are all vulnerable to outside hackers. We are taking every precaution to guard our technology systems from those who would intrude into our technology space and attempt to compromise our capacity.  We have to guard our records, our students’ privacy, our staff, and our systems.

I know our technology staff live in fear of cyber-attacks. We are learning daily of more innovative ways that international hackers and intruders are attempting to get into our national systems to interfere with our ability to operate. It is quite challenging to be able to monitor and prepare for the next attempts to break into our systems. It is another way that we are spending significant time, effort, and resources to protect and keep our staff and students safe from identity theft, email violations, or even a shut-down.

It is unfortunate that we have to expend extra and intensive time, effort, personnel, and resources to keep our non-profits safe. It adds such a burden to an already stretched set of resources. We have been thankful for help from government grants to help us with some of these expenses. Yet there is always a looming sense of what could happen next if we dare let down our guard.

The consequences are too high for any non-profit or school to be less than vigilant about keeping their organizations and people safe. However, it has become a normalized reality that is grievous since we have so many other more productive and positive places we could be using our personnel and financial capital to enhance our mission. Truly we are paying a very high price for our safety because of the intense risks that we are experiencing in our society and globally.

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