The Government is urging charities to up their game when it comes to cyber security, following new research which reveals many staff are not well informed about the topic, with awareness and knowledge varying considerably across different charities.
The study, carried out by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, also shows those in charge of cyber security, especially in smaller charities, are often not proactively seeking information and relying on outsourced IT providers to deal with threats.
Digital Minister Matt Hancock said: “Charities must do better to protect the sensitive data they hold and I encourage them to access a tailored programme of support we are developing alongside the Charity Commission and the National Cyber Security Centre.”
Where charities recognised the importance of cyber security, this was often due to holding personal data on donors or service users, or having trustees and staff with private sector experience of the issue.
Charities also recognised those responsible for cyber security need new skills and general awareness among staff needs to raise.
Charity Commission chief executive Helen Stephenson said: “Charities have lots of competing priorities but the potential damage of a cyber-attack is too serious to ignore. It can result in the loss of funds or sensitive data, affect a charity’s ability to help those in need, and damage its precious reputation.
“Charities need to do more to educate their staff about this threat and ensure they dedicate enough time and resources to improving cyber security.
“We want to make sure charities are equipped to do this, and we encourage them to use the advice on our Charities Against Fraud website. We also continue to work closely with the DCMS to help charities protect themselves online.”
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