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It's Critical For Board Directors To Know The Risks Of Data Sharing Platforms

Staying Cyber Aware: The Hidden Risks of Data Sharing Platforms


With the right data sharing platform, your nonprofit can successfully protect against hidden cybersecurity risks. Why is that important for your nonprofit board? Because a hacker is succeeding on the internet every 39 seconds, and they’re stealing 75 records every second. Those are important considerations since nearly all nonprofits engage in sharing data electronically on some level.

Electronic data sharing is convenient and easy, making it a popular tool for your board and staff to communicate and share information. While many of the risks of electronic data sharing are known, many are hidden. The main issue with cybersecurity risks is they’re always evolving, making it challenging for board members to keep their nonprofit’s data secure.

We’ll help you understand how file-sharing works, the dangers lurking behind it, and how to protect your nonprofit’s data.

Understanding Data Sharing and How It Works

With electronic data sharing, you can allow multiple people access to files at the same time. Your files could be stored on one computer and one or more other users could access those files from different workstations. With cloud-based systems, files get stored on a network file server where multiple people can access the data via a secure internet connection rather than retrieving it from a local workstation.

It’s generally possible to set up various user permissions for data sharing, such as read-only. It’s also possible to deny access to those who don’t need access to your data or shouldn’t have it.

The most important thing to understand about data sharing is any information you send is at risk while it’s being stored and during transmission.

What Your Board Needs to Know About Data Sharing Risks

Undoubtedly, your nonprofit manages various types of data that could pose a risk to your organization if it got into the wrong hands. Your board should be aware of the types of data that are at risk, who could be seeking it or leaking it, and how it can harm your organization.

Here are some of the types of data that could be leaked posing risks to your nonprofit:

  • HR information on your employees or volunteers
  • Client information
  • Member information
  • Donor information
  • Fundraising data
  • Results of COVID or other medical testing
  • Data contained in contracts

While hackers are working hard to extract data from the internet for nefarious purposes, your employees or volunteers may also be responsible for a data breach. Human error accounts for approximately 22% of data breaches. Information could be sent to the wrong person, or someone could attach the wrong file to an email. Users may also mistakenly send data to someone who isn’t authorized to have it. When staff or volunteers make computer mistakes or don’t follow your nonprofit’s protocols, it takes the data out of the control of your organization, and they can be costly mistakes.

Whether data breaches are caused by hackers or internal mistakes, poorly protected data can harm groups or individuals, carry legal consequences, and harm your nonprofit’s reputation.

Digital transformation lags in different various sectors and the nonprofit sector is one of them. Research shows that only 11% of nonprofits consider their organizations to be highly effective in digital technology. Many nonprofits haven’t taken advantage of CRM systems, AI, or machine learning which are digital solutions that are now staples in the corporate world and in other sectors. Cybersecurity tools are an important part of digital transformation.

Hidden Risks of Data Sharing Platforms

In addition to the convenience and ease of sharing data electronically, there are a few other benefits of sharing data over the internet. Data sharing platforms help to eliminate multiple file versions and prevent lost data during backups.

As an overseer of your nonprofit, take caution so the risks don’t overshadow the benefits of using a data sharing platform.

These are hidden risks for your board to look out for:

  • Proprietary data breaches and plagiarism issues. An employee or volunteer steals someone else’s thoughts, ideas, writings, or proprietary data that are connected with your nonprofit and uses it for themselves or sells it. This is an unlawful action, and it can be difficult to catch them without the proper data sharing platform and monitoring.
  • Insufficient network speeds and bandwidth. To work well or at all, data sharing requires a certain level of speed. The wrong data sharing platforms may cause you to lose data or make it difficult for your board members and staff to retrieve it.
  • Risk having your nonprofit’s data being exposed publicly. With every electronic transmission, there’s a risk of someone intercepting data. There’s always the risk of an external hacker or disgruntled individual sharing confidential information online.
  • Infections due to malware or a virus. Malware, viruses, and ransomware can infect your files and spread the problem to other systems and equipment. It can be timely and costly to clean up infections.

Staying Cyber Aware with Evolving Security Risks

Creating data sharing policies and educating users about cybersecurity risks is a good start to protecting your nonprofit’s data. That alone is enough to protect your nonprofit from cybersecurity risks.

Here’s why. About 39% of employees in the U.S. have received reprimands from their superiors over sharing sensitive data over the internet, but it often falls on deaf ears. According to research by Veritas, around 71% of employees admitted they’d continue sharing sensitive information in the future.

To ensure your nonprofit’s data is safe, you need to implement the right data sharing platform. The right technology is a data sharing platform that’s designed specifically with nonprofit boards in mind. With BoardEffect, you get state-of-the-art data protection for data sharing and continuous monitoring 24/7. Also, you get unlimited cloud storage for all your board documents, meeting minutes, and confidential data. Your board administrator has the ability to set up granular controls to protect confidential data from unauthorized access.

BoardEffect offers a high level of security with end-to-end encryption and meets NIST standards for security.

Your board needs a modern board management system for managing your board meetings, preparing board books, managing your board calendar, tracking documents, and automating workflows. It’s the most effective data sharing platform for nonprofit boards.

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