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Securing Data Collection for Associations

While much of the data security conversation falls into for-profit industries, more discussions should include non-profits and associations as well. The number of associations has nearly doubled in the last few decades, and in an era of “big data” and constant data collection it’s imperative to have the proper measures in place lest your organization falls victim to potential threats.

What types of data does your association collect? Perhaps the most critical is the data and information of an association’s members. This data may include such things as name, phone numbers, or addresses. Many association members pay dues or make consistent donations from a bank account or credit card. These days many associations store this information to be called later which allows them to automatically charge dues to members or keep track of donations/income. Some associations may even require a Social Security number or other private identification. This is the type of data that can be really vulnerable and valuable to a digital intruder.

Consider if your association had a data breach and your member’s credit card numbers, bank account information, and social security numbers were stolen. Your organization would suffer reputational damage, members would leave, and the cost to remedy the breach would be very expensive. What could you have done to prevent such a thing? How do you reassure members  that their valuable and sensitive data remains secure?

  • Evaluate the current state of your data’s security: Known as a security or risk assessment, it outlines the measures you currently take to protect your data, and the possible risks that are out there.
  • Understand your disaster recovery methods: Malicious software or even a heavy weather event could be a threat – completing consistent backups and having a disaster recovery plan is just as imperative as securing your data.
  • Business continuity: Determine who will be responsible for data backup and/or recovery, outline the steps to take and what other members of your team will be notified or involved.

Overall, data security and disaster recovery methods are extremely imperative to running a successful association and maintaining trust with your members and others in the community. If your association is unsure of how to move forward, consult with cyber security experts such as Neovera who can help with risk assessments and business continuity plans.