The Charities Security Forum (CSF) is launching a mentoring programme designed to enhance IT security knowledge and practice in the UK non-profit sector. Many charities in the UK non-profit sector lack dedicated information security personnel, and mentoring is being seen as the solution with benefits for both mentor and mentee. By Helen Beckett [Published 14/07//2010]
Credit card payments risk
CSF’s mentoring scheme will pair less experienced or non-security people with more experienced practitioners within the member charities. The security forum has grown from six to 60 member charities since it's creation in 2007 and includes big names such as Barnardos, Oxfam, the RSPB and Shelter.
Many charities rely on credit card donations but, according to the latest Information Breaches Security Survey, about 10% of them do not encrypt the information. The CSF admitted that some members will not have heard of the card payment standard for information security - PCI DSS.
Behaviour biggest risk
For all organisations, including charities, the focus has shifted to managing behaviour and risk, rather than technical breaches. According to the IBS survey, conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, reported virus infections over the past ten years have strikingly declined.
"Virus infection has dropped from the largest cause of security incidents (which it has been for the last decade) to fourth place out of five. Meanwhile, the number of companies infected has fallen back to levels last seen in 2000,” concluded the survey.
In contrast, unauthorised access by outsiders is not declining and remains at four times the level seen in 2000. The survey says there is no room for complacency and flags up areas of exposure it discovered.
- 13% have detected unauthorised outsiders within their network.
- 9% had fake (phishing) emails sent asking their customers for data.
- 9% had their customers impersonated (e.g. after identity theft).
- 6% have suffered a confidentiality breach.
Mentoring mutually beneficial
The CFS programme will not only facilitate skills and knowledge transfer but also enhance the professional development and managerial skills of the mentor.
"A successful mentor/mentee long-term relationship can work wonders for the development of skills in both the mentor and the mentee”, confirms soft skills training company, the Impact Factory.
The Glasgow Institute of Counselling confirms the mutual benefits of mentoring for both parties:
"For the mentors it increases their levels of personal satisfaction and fulfilment by fostering creativity and objectivity. It enhances their professional synergy with the organisation. It also fosters development of advanced interpersonal communication skills," says education business manager at the institute, Simon Carr.
And for the mentored there are also career benefits, says Carr: "It opens a path to promotion and better job prospects by increasing the confidence and self esteem."
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