In my technology career I’ve seen a lot of crazy things, but none as crazy as how some non-profits bury their head in the sand when it comes to technology spending and planning. I understand the need to balance revenue/donations against costs, but there comes a time when you can’t treat technology like a household good that can be cut back when funds get tight.
Let’s review the story of Little Red Door, a great non-profit that assists cancer patients. They were hit by a ransomware attack that encrypted and held hostage their critical client files and financial data. Most businesses would have a hard time coming back from a ransomware attack, but could usually restore their data from backups. It appears that Little Red Door didn’t have a backup solution setup to adequately backup their data and they are now rebuilding much of their data from scratch.
From my expereince it’s very common for non-profits to cut “extras” like backup of their data from budgets as it’s seen as a luxury they can’t afford or don’t really need. I can’t stress enough how vital it is to not think in a silo when it comes to technology costs, but to have a big picture strategy that covers a business (non-profit or not) in case of data loss/corruption.
In addition to skimping on technology made to protect a business I’ve seen many non-profits utilize “techie volunteers” to save money because they know more about technology than the board members and executives of said non-profits. What’s worse than skimping on adequate data backups is when these “techie volunteers” don’t even know enough about technology best practices to recommend data backup products and other technologies that can protect and push forward the non-profit.
I hope this story, which is becoming more commonplace, pushes your non-profit (or maybe for-profit) business to question your technology strategy. Are you burying your head in the sand when it comes to potential technology pitfalls or proactively planning and executing on a plan to protect and push your business forward?