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Closing The Cybersecurity Gap For Nonprofits | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


In an increasingly digital world, the threat of cyberattacks looms large, affecting organizations of all sizes and across all regions and industries. Nonprofit and humanitarian organizations, in particular, face unique challenges as they work tirelessly to provide assistance and support to vulnerable communities. Okta recognizes the importance of cybersecurity for these organizations and has taken significant steps to address the widening gap. Okta for Good, the company’s social impact initiative, recently announced several initiatives aimed at bolstering cybersecurity for nonprofits.

The Urgent Need for Nonprofit Cybersecurity

In a recent blog post highlighting the growing need to secure the most vulnerable organizations, Erin Baudo Felter, VP of Social Impact and Sustainability for Okta, shared research from the 2023 State of Humanitarian and Development Cybersecurity Report by Nethope, revealing alarming statistics. A staggering 59% of large humanitarian organizations believe their cybersecurity practices are underfunded, while 65% consider them inadequately managed. Additionally, most organizations reported a significant increase in risks to their cybersecurity over the past year. Okta recognizes that cybersecurity is not just an issue of physical safety but also critical for protecting the organizations’ mission and the lives of those they serve.

Okta’s Commitment to Closing the Gap

Okta for Good has allocated over $1 million in the last year to enhance cybersecurity in the social sector through its Nonprofit Cybersecurity Portfolio. To further advance this mission, Okta is announcing a $100,000 grant to the UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC). The grant will support the Cybersecurity Futures 2030 project, which aims to identify emerging cybersecurity trends and risks for governments, industries, and civil society. The initiative seeks to foster collaboration in addressing future challenges.

The Humanitarian Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC)

Okta is celebrating the upcoming one-year anniversary of the launch of NetHope’s Humanitarian Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC). This groundbreaking partnership between NetHope, Okta, USAID, and the Cyberpeace Institute provides coordinated cross-sector support for the information security needs of nonprofit agencies and vulnerable communities worldwide. The ISAC has played a crucial role in equipping responding nonprofits with the necessary tools to understand cyber risks and take actionable steps to mitigate them.

I had an opportunity to catch up with Erin about the new Okta for Good initiatives and one of the topics we discussed was the concept of an ISAC. We agreed that the ability to freely share information is a game changer and really helps organizations understand the threat landscape and be better prepared.

I told her that I am familiar with the various industry specific ISACs out there—and that I recognize there are some threats or scenarios that are unique to a given sector—but that I also believe that much of cybersecurity transcends those factors and that it would be good to have a broad, state or national-level ISAC that is not industry-specific.

Erin agreed. “That’s a really good point. I haven’t heard of anybody talking about it outside of sector-specific ISACs, but it’s so true. There’s value in it for anybody. As it becomes more of a threat for everybody, there’s value in something like that.”

Real-World Impact

In her blog post, Erin also highlights an example of the ISAC’s impact during NetHope’s response to the Turkey and Syria earthquake. Nonprofits involved in the response received comprehensive briefings on threat analysis, attacker techniques, risk factors, and recommended safety measures. Thanks to funding from Okta and Cisco, organizations could consult with a virtual Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for threat intelligence, guidance, training, assessment, and surge response throughout their disaster response efforts. These collaborative efforts demonstrated the practical application of cybersecurity measures to safeguard vulnerable communities.

Uniting for Digital Protection

Okta acknowledges that addressing cybersecurity challenges requires collaboration and commitment from all sectors. One of the things I have appreciated as I have followed Okta for Good and talked with Erin over the past couple years is that it is not a marketing ploy and Okta isn’t trying to own the story or make headlines for itself.

The company invites its customers, partners, and employees to join the movement of digital protection for the most vulnerable. It suggests various ways to get involved, such as becoming a funder, supporter, or expert advisor for NetHope’s Humanitarian ISAC. Additionally, Okta encourages participation in the CyberPeace Builders Program, which offers expert cybersecurity assistance to civil society organizations. Supporting and volunteering with organizations like Codepath and the UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, which focus on training the next generation of cyber talent, is also advocated.

Making Good Even Better

Okta for Good’s commitment to closing the nonprofit cybersecurity gap demonstrates the company’s dedication to ensuring that everyone, including the most vulnerable, can safely utilize technology. By partnering with governments, nonprofits, and other organizations worldwide, Okta strives to increase cybersecurity awareness, adoption, expertise, and support. The recent initiatives announced by Okta for Good, coupled with ongoing collaborations and investments, showcase Okta’s holistic approach to cybersecurity for the social sector.

Erin acknowledged that protecting all of us takes all of us. Effective cybersecurity really is a team sport, and the proverbial saying that a rising tide lifts all boats seems to apply as well. Recognizing the ever-expanding threat landscape and the challenges of hiring technical talent, Okta stresses the need for collective effort and invites stakeholders from all sectors to contribute to bridging the cybersecurity gaps in the nonprofit sector.

Okta for Good’s dedication to cybersecurity for the nonprofit sector aligns with their broader vision of enabling everyone to use technology securely. By addressing the unique cybersecurity challenges faced by nonprofit and humanitarian organizations, Okta aims to ensure that these organizations can continue their vital work without compromising the safety and privacy of the communities they serve.

The Okta for Good website provides a wealth of information and resources for those interested in learning more or getting involved. The website highlights the initiatives and partnerships undertaken by Okta, along with the stories of impact and success achieved through their cybersecurity efforts. It serves as a hub for individuals, organizations, and experts to find opportunities to support and contribute to the cause.

As cybersecurity continues to be a critical aspect of organizational resilience, Okta’s efforts serve as an inspiring example of how the private sector can contribute to the greater social good.

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