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Keep your donor information safe with Little Green Light

Posted January 13, 2012 by Chris Bicknell

I recently read a good blog post by a group that adapts Salesforce for nonprofits, describing how a nonprofit board didn’t want to move into “the cloud” because they felt the cloud wasn’t secure enough. Six months later their town was hit with a major storm and their office was struck by lightning, which completely fried their servers. They had no backup, and their data was gone. We wouldn’t wish that fate on anyone, no matter where their data is, but it highlights a couple of reasons why a solution in “the cloud” is actually a more secure option.

Backing up your data is critical but often neglected

I’ve had experience working with many non-profits that struggled with backup plans for their servers and data. Unless your non-profit can afford full-time IT people, plus consultants for off-site and redundant backup, it is unlikely your staff will be in a position to do the kind of backup needed to keep your vital donor records intact. According to the 2010 Southwestern Pennsylvania Nonprofit Technology Survey, published by the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management:

“More than 20% of organizations report a manual system for data backup. This statistic can send chills down ones spine as manual systems tend to fall off in the face of more ‘urgent’ tasks despite the fact that data loss tends to the tragic and unexpected. If we add the Tape Backup, External Hard Drive and Removable Media responses, there may be over a third of organizations depending on a human to remember to back up mission-critical data.”

Like most web-based solutions, Little Green Light takes care of all this for you. We work with premier hosting companies who provide redundant systems and ensure that our servers are protected from unauthorized physical access, weather, and electrical damage. We also provide automated daily backups of your data, keeping each copy in multiple locations for at least 90 days, so no matter what happens to your physical plant, your donor data will be available at Little Green Light.

Access control can be improved

Beyond just peace of mind when it comes to backups, LGL gives you some additional security benefits that you might not get when you keep your servers in house. In my experience it’s common to have desktop computer passwords on post-it notes or simply to have no password at all. Often this allows anyone using the computer to have the same access as the computer’s main user, whether or not they should. For those using systems that charge per user it is also common to acquire a high level of access for the first few users. Then, when someone needs to use the system temporarily or on a limited basis they may be allowed to use one of those accounts, receiving entry to areas of the system they shouldn’t have access to.

With Little Green Light you can add unlimited users for no extra cost, and define the appropriate levels of access for each user. Deactivating and reactivating users is also easy; you can turn a seasonal employee’s account on and off at a moment’s notice. And lastly, we have password retrieval and reset mechanisms built in, so you should be less tempted to write down your password on a post-it note next to your computer.

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