UTSA to Offer Cybersecurity Help to Nonprofits

You lock your doors when the office closes. You test your fire alarms regularly. You may even practice tornado drills. Yet most nonprofits leave the doors wide open to their internet, email and websites ready for hackers. Practicing these bad habits could crash your nonprofit’s ability to work and your reputation. No one wants that headline running on the nightly news.

I have been talking with a group at UTSA that is focused on helping nonprofits in this area at no cost. BTW: UTSA is arguably THE leading cybersecurity training program in the nation. We have programs right here at home that are the best in the world at developing cybersecurity experts, policies and practices. Dr. Greg White, and his team at UTSA are inviting nonprofits to take advantage of their resources and sign up for a new program that can help you fix your bad habits. 

Through UTSA’s Center for Information Assurance and Security, they will work one-on-one for two semesters with nonprofits paired with a student and a local professional business mentor to assess, fix and develop plans to lower cybersecurity risks in nonprofits. All you have to do is email them and say you need help.

“Most nonprofits don’t know what they don’t know about how open they are to getting hacked; and this concern for our community is why we created this project.”

“No matter the size of the nonprofit, if you are not afraid of cyber attacks, you should be,” Vic Malloy, Project Manager for CIAS tells us. He noted that some of the largest, most respected nonprofits in San Antonio are at high risk. 

If you are interested in this program for nonprofits, email UTSA here by September 15th.

“Every nonprofit of every size can benefit in many ways from this effort, because we all need to be reminded of the small things like password protection, and providing the right tools for volunteers who do data entry to keep vital information secure,” he said.

The UTSA program provides supervised work from a training program for students to work directly with up to 20 nonprofits starting this semester to do an assessment, provide immediate fixes to high risk areas, work with the nonprofit on developing policies and practices throughout the organization and provide a plan for moving forward so your donor, client information, employee information as well as credit card information, emails, website are secure.

“People are surprised that something as easy as vendor access to the internet opens the door for a hack and it creates national headlines. That’s what happened at Target,” Malloy warned. “Most nonprofits don’t know what they don’t know about how open they are to getting hacked; and this concern for our community is why we created this project.”

The program is a part of a collaboration between the MITRE corporation and UTSA. The business mentors are being recruited through the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.

This program is a model that UTSA hopes to share and replicate throughout the country. Nonprofits in San Antonio are fortunate to be able to take advantage of this resource from our hometown.

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