A YWCA Focus: Cybersecurity on a Budget

July 16, 2020

ROCK SPRINGS – When Wyoming citizens think of the YWCA of Sweetwater County, they think of their mission of eliminating racism and empowering women through their programs for childcare, after- school programs, financial literacy, and advocacy services provided to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.  Cybersecurity associations rarely come to mind, yet the YWCA has made data privacy and security procedures a priority.

Completing a two-year process on a nonprofit budget to reach their security and data privacy goals is no easy task.  It involved working with their IT provider purchasing new hardware and software through TechSoup (a nonprofit discounted service that provides brand name products); and a lot of planning, training, and cajoling.

“The key to the YWCA’s success was consistency of purpose,” said Laura Baker, the YWCA’s Cybersecurity Business Counselor for CyberWyoming. “They just kept chipping away at the subject until they reached their goals.  It was impressive working with them,” continued Baker.

Currently in cybersecurity maintenance mode, the YWCA reviewed their security and technology policies and procedures, reviewed their insurance policies, trained staff, migrated some functions to the cloud to save money, upgraded software, purchased new antivirus, revamped their point of sale donation processes, and installed state-of-the-art firewalls.

Physical security was also taken into account.  The reception desk was secured with a monitor screen so visitors couldn’t see the monitor, a physical walk through process was put into place, and the kiosk check-in for childcare was changed to in-classroom by staff for extra security. 

“It is the best we can do for now,” said Melinda Baas, Executive Director of Sweetwater County’s YWCA.  “COVID-19 was the motivation to say, let’s finish this security project at the Y and include working from home, so we shuffled money and got it done,” continued Bass.

Staff training included the use of encryption and password protection, the proper use of thumb drives, physical security, cloud system usage, computer sharing, cyberpsychology risk factors, and point of sale procedures at events. 

Another part of the process was ensuring that if the worst occurs, the YWCA would be covered by insurance. They worked with their local Wyoming Financial Insurance agent to look at their existing policy and fill the gaps of coverage. “We are seeing a seismic shift, with the number of cyber liability claims skyrocketing over the past several years. Cybercrime has become big business and no one is immune from these attacks no matter how big or small the organization. Even though The YWCA has taken all the right steps to mitigate their exposure, attacks still happen and when they do, they can be devastating to an organization. A well designed Cyber Insurance policy can help ensure that you have adequate resources available to respond appropriately in the event of a cyber-incident,” said Jessica White, Account Executive of Wyoming Financial Insurance.

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