Six Risk-Based Questions for Nonprofits With In-House Computer Experts

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Nonprofits and other small and medium sized organizations must ask these six questions before their In-House Computer Expert Quits to avoid disaster.

Here’s an important question most nonprofits don’t think about: what would happen if the in-house IT guru suddenly quit? Most nonprofit leaders think it would only be a temporary inconvenience when, in fact, the opposite is usually true. Want to know how much you are at risk?

If you are the Executive Director, President, or leader of a nonprofit organization, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does your nonprofit organization have a written network documentation about its computer network?
    What software licenses do you own? What are the critical administrator passwords to your systems and devices? How is your computer network structured?  What hardware do you own and when do your equipment warranties expire?  Are there cloud vendors for email, online storage, etc. that you don’t’ currently have?
    Do you allow a single IT person to keep this information under their full control over your network and nonprofit organization?  If they suddenly left for any reason, this could lead to huge consequences for your nonprofit organization.

  1. Do you know where your organization’s backup files are stored and if they are being stored properly?
    If you are like most leaders on nonprofits, you’re too busy dealing with the “crisis of the day” to think about system backups and probably leave tasks to your internal expert. If your database gets fried and your tech is nowhere to be found, you might be in a lot of trouble.
  2. Do you have a written plan for restoring your organization’s network fast in the case of a disaster?
    If like most nonprofits you don’t have a fully tested disaster recovery plan for your organization, you could be at serious risk without ever knowing it until something happens. This is even more critical now in this age of cyber attacks where a cyber criminal may be using your network as a base of operation in attacking other nonprofits and businesses.
  3. Do you know where all your organization’s software is stored?
    Bad things can happen to computers and servers, and the situation can be made worse if you are not prepared. Taking a minute to organize and store your software in a secure place can save you a considerable chunk of money if you need to restore a program on your systems. If you don’t have access to the software or don’t know where it is located, you might be forced to buy the software again.
  4. Do you know what routine maintenance must be done to your nonprofit network?
    As a super busy executive, the truth is that the very idea of learning about and keeping track of all the servers, workstations, and peripherals on your network probably gives you a major headache, but it is important information to maintain. If your in-house expert leaves, who will take over?
  5. Do you know how to protect yourself from an ugly security breach if your in-house computer expert leaves?
    What happens if your in-house expert splits with no warning AND has access to your nonprofit organization’s network? As soon as humanly possible, you should disable his or her access, including remote access to your network and all cloud based applications (if you know what and where they are, that is, and whether a ‘backdoor’ was not put in place that you most likely don’t know about).

So how did you do? If you answered “no” to even one of these questions, you need to get the answers now before it’s too late.

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