The eight basic principles of cybersecurity for non-governmental organizations

NGOs intend to allocate funds to support the cause to which they are committed, and in such cases they often do not invest enough in cyber security, and they may also lack knowledge and expertise in this area. Here are some of the basic principles of cybersecurity that they should apply to address this:

  • Security policy

Non-governmental organizations must have clearly and precisely defined cybersecurity policies. But first they must know what to protect and how to protect it. They can create a set of measures and procedures that must be adhered to and that include every process, system and employee in the organization. It's important to remember that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, therefore implementing regular programmes for employee and IT staff awareness should be part of these policies for cybersecurity to become part of the company's culture.

  • Software updates

Software updates are essential for strong cybersecurity. It is necessary to ensure that both the operating system and applications are updated and protected with the latest patches to avoid security breaches caused by system flaws.

  • Strong passwords

Passwords act as an organization's first security barrier, protecting its users' data. Employees should ensure that their passwords are strong and complex, change them regularly and avoid repeating them. It is also recommended to implement multi-factor authentication as an additional layer of security for the NGO's employees and member credentials.

  • Backup copies

Keeping regular backups can ensure that data can be recovered in the event of a security breach. For effective storage, organizations should establish appropriate policies and technical measures, such as keeping multiple encrypted copies of critical data, as this facilitates retrieval if needed.

  • Trainings and raising awareness

Effective human risk management includes training all staff in cybersecurity. This allows them to recognize attacks such as phishing, social engineering and other threats. Organizational accountability can be improved by making its people human detectors.

  • Limited access

To avoid a network intrusion if a hacker manages to obtain the credentials of an NGO employee, it is best to limit permission and access to systems and only authorize users who have a legitimate need for access. Most software systems allow administrators to adjust the level of authorization based on each employee's functional roles.

  • Risk assessment

Regular risk assessments are necessary to identify and address deficiencies in systems and processes. This makes it possible to reduce cyber attacks through awareness of your vulnerabilities.

  • Monitoring and discovering breaches

NGOs should proactively monitor their systems to detect and respond to any suspicious or malicious activity. They must create solutions such as firewalls and intrusion detection and prevention systems to protect vulnerable data, systems and employees.