This expert was taken from the ebook Computer Security for Your Church.
When we think about the many ways our churches serve their members, we don’t often think about things like technology or data security. In today’s growing digital world, though, a robust awareness of data security can be one of the most important ways to safeguard the privacy of your users and their families. Just as we wouldn’t broadcast information given to us in confidence in day to day conversation, so too in the digital world we need to ensure that the information our members and visitors entrust us with is kept safe and secure from those who would use it to cause harm.
For congregations with a preschool or daycare, this becomes even more important, because the federal laws governing the security of educational information (FERPA) and medical information (HIPAA) carry with them significant penalties for failure to keep students’ information private. Should a breach occur, the potential for costly lawsuits and fines presents a real risk for a careless congregation. For those bound by HIPAA or FERPA, the PCI standards (Payment Card Industry) are a solid foundation with plenty of documentation.
Fortunately, most of the basic things you can do to improve security aren’t actually expensive or complicated. Some are common sense; some less so. Over the course of [this ebook] we’ll explore simple things congregations and schools can do to ensure that their members and students have the privacy they deserve.
Keep in mind, though, that this is intended as a starting place, not a be-all and end all rule of digital security. The threats are always evolving, and keeping up to date is essential to an ongoing data security plan. Connect with local IT professional organizations to see if they have any security email lists, as well as the security lists for any major software systems you use regularly.
In fact, two of the simplest ways of securing your church’s data are decidedly low tech and come from improving your physical security and your staff training.
To continue reading and learning about keeping your church's technology secure, download our free ebook Computer Security for Your Church.