It’s what we call our powerpoint presentations, text documents, and spreadsheets. It’s what we call photos from fundraising events, our nonprofit’s websites, and how we refer to almost all the information and digital materials we use on a daily basis.
So if something like data is so important and all encompassing in our work, and personal lives for that matter, why is there not more emphasis being placed on protecting it?
Too often, nonprofits roll the dice with their data, close their eyes, cross their fingers, and simply hope that nothing bad happens to their IT infrastructure. But the truth is, there are going to be breakdowns, regardless of how updated or state-of-the-art the facility is.
Getting CaughtIn our experiences, nonprofits from an array of sectors are still storing a lot of sensitive information native on their laptops - fundraising event details, financial statements, bank statements and internet banking details, donation and donor lists, and so many other valuable pieces of data. In today’s mobile world, nonprofits are getting caught by this rather archaic way of thinking by getting their laptop computers stolen, effectively losing all that information. One of the most useful innovations and tools our sector enjoys today just so happens to also be one of the most targeted and sought after items for thieves. While they’re making a quick buck off of your piece of technology, the damage they’re potentially causing to your nonprofit is incalculable.
Prepare for the dangers
So what can your nonprofit do to prepare for data disasters? Here are a few tips to get you started preparing your data disaster recovery plan.
Know what data is ‘mission critical’
Not all data is created equally. The first step to having a scalable plan for disaster recovery is knowing what data is imperative to the future health and success of your nonprofit, and what is not. Your financial data, payroll information, donor lists, and logistics for your massive year-end gala can all be considered mission critical.
Have an interim plan
Should disaster strike, and your nonprofit is left in the dark, it’s imperative you have a plan to get you through those first few hours, during which it’s going to almost certainly feel like you’re in a room full of chickens whose heads were just lopped off. One of the best places to start is ensuring you have a plan to get your communication infrastructure back up and running ASAP. Your phones, emails, and Internet should be first on your list.
Mind the gaps
There are problems, weak-links, and chinks in the armor of every IT infrastructure at every company in the world. It’s a fact of doing business today. By working with your IT team to identify and log those problems before they manifest themselves into larger more troublesome issues is one of the best ways to troubleshoot in a time of crisis.