As different churches embrace online church, one of the questions that come to mind is how to combat issues regarding online security.
The Menace of Cybersecurity
The issue of cybersecurity has been one of great concern for leadership in churches, businesses and organizations of every kind. Organizations like churches are susceptible to attacks from hackers and scammers, as they usually have in their possession, large volumes of data. A large number of churches have been victims of these attacks, losing tons of money in the event. And seeing that more churches have begun to embrace digital technology for many of their dealings, including church donations and offerings, it is essential to discuss this. Good stewardship and responsibility demand that churches take proactive steps and implement effective cybersecurity plans against this menace
We get that the concept of cybersecurity can be overwhelming to many, and sadly, too many churches may not have a comprehensive strategy in place to prevent attacks from those who may desire to perpetuate this harm. But the key to avoiding such tragic situations is to ensure that your church is well prepared for any cybersecurity threat that comes your way.
To help you and your church out, here are five tips to tighten your church security online:
1. Know and Understand the Different Hacking Methods
There is a bucketful list of ways in which a hacker can try to infiltrate your systems. While there are many different ways of hacking, they are all very similar in terms of how they work. So basically, hacking is when someone attempts to gain access to personal information or data your church possesses. They do this using some sort of technology to break into your network. Usually, some of the aftermath of successful hacking include; inability to log on to accounts – likely meaning the password was changed without you knowing, missing files which appear to have been removed, large number of pop-ups, and in extreme cases, mysterious deduction of funds.
Phishing is another form of hacking that involves the hacker attempting to pose as a legitimate company or organization. For instance, the scammer tries to trick churches into giving them their usernames and passwords by claiming that a staff’s account has been compromised. They could do this by sending malicious emails or creating a fake website. Many organizations and churches can distinguish a legit email from one that isn’t. But the trick is that the scammers send to as many people as possible, knowing fully well that there will always be people who will fall victim to fake emails. Most often than not, you can characterize phishing emails by nosy requests and grammatical errors.
Then, there is malware and ransomware. The former involves a scammer trying to trick you into installing software that they then use to access your systems while the latter involves the hacker trying to block you from accessing certain files or your website altogether. As the name suggests, the idea is to get you to pay ransom to regain control of your system. One of the ways to know these types of sites is through excessive amounts of pop-ups, your computer becoming extremely slow or even when it starts to download the software without your approval.
2. Assign an Expert to Be in Charge of Your Church Digital Security
Now that you are well-knowledgeable in the different tricks that hackers may use to gain access and control of your church systems, you’re going to need to hire an expert who can be in charge of your digital security. Having an IT professional on board is a great way to manage your church security online.
3. Make Sure You Train Staff on Best Security Practices
You need to adequately inform anyone who has access to your church’s online systems on the best practices for maintaining the integrity of your cybersecurity. Fortunately, most of the basic things you can employ to improve your church security online are not so expensive.
There are different third-party IT companies you can contract the task of training your staff in on digital security. These IT firms can also keep you updated on security lists for the major software systems you use regularly.
4. Stay Well-informed on the Cyber Security Industry
The golden age of technology has emerged with both its good and bad side. While there are many great things we can do as technology continues to progress, unfortunately, scammers and hackers are also using advancements in tech to become more cunning with their techniques.
Therefore, you must stay abreast of developments in the cybersecurity industry, particularly any emerging threats within it.
5. Adopt a Secure Church Management Software
Many cyber attacks will be avoidable if your church has a formidable system in place. Adopting a safe and secure Church Management Software is highly recommended to help you better manage your church’s information, data, and finances.
ChurchPad offers multiple solutions to help you keep your church organized and functioning to the highest degree. Our solutions are topnotch as touching issues of security, and ensuring that you and your congregation’s information is safe is our top priority. For example, our Text-to-give system is set up such that your card details are stored securely behind the whole interface and that all your information is heavily encrypted.
With a management software like ChurchPad, your members can give and make donations without having to worry about any of their data being compromised.
Implementing an effective cybersecurity plan is not so different from buying insurance. While you are not always excited to pay the premiums, you are glad that you have the protection when you need it. In simple terms, reliable cybersecurity measures are essential and should be set up in any technology-enabled ministry environment.