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Here’s Why Charities Loved Our Cyber Security Webinar

We recently invited a diverse group of charities to join a webinar on cyber security resilience aimed at the non-profit sector.

Non profits occupy a special place on the Intersys client list and over the years we have supported a wide range of voluntary organisations with their IT and cyber security.

We co-hosted the event  in association with our partners at Microsoft Tech for Social Impact, who provide significant discounts and grants on Microsoft software products to charitable organisations around the world.

Intersys’ own  Mark Kirby, Executive Director and IT Strategy Specialist, and Naveed Iqbal, Microsoft Tech for Social Impact’s UK Ambassador, jointly hosted the session.

Charities are Soft Targets

As cyber attacks continue to proliferate, the sad truth is that charities have become a prime target for hackers. 

Cyber criminals are focusing on them because they store a vast range of sensitive data including PII (personally identifiable information) and financial details, to name a few. 

The Kokoro cyber attack that exposed the donor data of over 40 UK charities, including the RSPCA recently, is a case in point.

An NCSC report shows that charities are the third most targeted vertical behind governments and financial institutions. 

They are often reluctant to spend funds on cyber security because they prioritise frontline work and feel the pressure to maximise the value of donations. 

However, the reputational damage of a cyber attack can be particularly damaging for organisations that rely on their donors’ trust and goodwill. 

The Dangers of Outdated Microsoft Software

All too often we have seen charities using end-of-life Microsoft software such as Office 365 instead of the newer Microsoft 365. The dangers of continuing to use outdated software are many and can have serious repercussions for IT systems. 

It’s simple  — when you run outdated software, you say goodbye to security updates, bug fixes, patches and monitoring.

Advice for Charities to Stay Cyber Secure

Mark Kirby, who began his IT career managing tech for a major UK charity, shared his top tips for non-profits to stay secure. 

He introduced attendees to Intersys’ hierarchy of cyber security needs —  a model for cyber security based on the internationally recognised NIST framework but simplified and streamlined for non-profits on a budget. He said it was a great way to get a baseline performance of a charity’s cyber security before starting to improve it.

“I understand what it means to deliver IT on a charity’s budget. Every pound you spend is a donation, so you have to maximise value from all your investments,” Mark said. 

Mark reassured attendees that while it wasn’t realistically possible to achieve every priority in the hierarchy, getting to the compliance level was a good aim. 

The hierarchy covered everything from the very basic requirements such as identity protection and email filtering all the way to more advanced controls such as continuous vulnerability scanning and a Red Team.

Fantastic Discounts on Microsoft Products

Microsoft Tech for Social Impact’s UK Ambassador Naveed Iqbal shared the various ways in which Microsoft has been helping non profits globally. 

This includes providing 3.2 billion in grants and discounted software services to charities last year alone and equipping 330,000 non-profits with secure and modern cloud services.

He shed further light on some headline offers available to non-profits such as grants and discounts on Microsoft 365, Power BI Desktop, Power Apps, Surface devices, Power BI Pro and Dynamics Sales Enterprise. 

An Informative Q&A

The webinar ended with a Q&A session packed with more tips and advice. 

Charity staff quizzed us about the latest tools and functionality available in Microsoft 365, suggestions on making hardware more secure and the importance of using complex passwords.

In a post-event feedback survey, 100% of attendees said that they found the webinar valuable.

We’d like to thank all the charities and other organisations who attended. A special thank you goes to Microsoft Tech for Social Impact for having faith in us as a trusted partner and sharing the fantastic offers available for non-profits.

We’re hoping to roll out these webinars more regularly, so watch this space in the New Year and do check out the full video on our YouTube channel.

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