Updated: Mar 11
As the church takes more and more internet based technology and services on board to deliver content to its congregations, its easy for us to forget about the importance of security and the risks that always comes hand in hand. As our digital presence increases so does our threat landscape.
You may have heard of the term 'Internet Of Things' (IOT). If you haven't then let me explain. The human race is leveraging smart or internet based technology to serve our needs faster. Almost every product being manufactured now, is being built with smart technology or its connected to an app and in all these cases needs to be connected to the internet to work.
Everything is internet based now, from the washing machines at home, the cars we drive and from lightbulbs to computers. These devices come together to generate the Internet of Things. So essentially anything the Church owns that connects to the internet is an IOT device.
As we connect more technology, like the cameras for our live streaming, the printers in the church and the devices we use to connect to zoom, all have IP addresses that connect the internet. Think of these devices as open windows. The more devices you add to the network, the more open windows you are creating.
The reason we call them open windows is because its these devices allow cyber security criminals to gain access to your networks and ultimately steal data or deliver malware. So as we grow our devices we increase our threat landscape in which these hackers can operate.
Why should Church care about Cyber Security?
Tony and I have worked in the IT industry for 20 years and we have seen that from all the cyber attacks that happen daily, they do not discriminate or avoid any company or charity. The sole purpose of the attack to steal, hijack or control data, especially personal identifiable data.
With the church taking more payments from online giving, holding more and more personal details of church members to communicate and using more internet based technology and services, we are just as much a target as a multi million pound company.
Also church is not exempt from the GDPR legislation that passed 25th May 2018. We are liable for all the legal repercussions and fines that come with any cyber security breach. So having a good security posture across the church will not only protect the church from legal challenges but also protect its congregation and their personal risk.
Is it just Technology that creates risk?
Our threat landscape goes beyond just the laptop with antivirus software on it. Like I said before its any device that we have connecting to our network, the public WIFI you provide to the congregation members, the new websites we are building and even our mobile phones.
More and more technology companies are designing inbuilt protection which helps keep us protected, however human behaviour is a significant contributor to our cyber threat. Simple cyber awareness training can reduce risk of cyber attacks by up to 70%.
Is there a silver bullet?
Unfortunately there is no silver bullet to protecting your church from all cyber threats. If you think about cyber crime, we are only able to bring out protection against threats we know about so its impossible to protect against what is coming.
Cyber security is about creating multiple layers of security to slow down and detect any unusual activity as early as possible. Cyber security has to be about best endeavors and having a security policy in place that demonstrates best practice is critical. If a burglar comes across house with layers of security like guard dogs, motion cameras, video cameras but the house down the road has none of these, Where do you think they will burgle?
How can 9Fruits Services help?
We use cyber essentials as a perfect best practice guide which is a United Kingdom government information assurance scheme that is operated by the National Cyber Security Centre. It encourages organisations and charities to adopt good practice.
We provide free security assessments, training services and help you make your digital church a secure one. So if you need any support or want to learn more about cyber security, then contact us for free.