Technology is now playing a critical role in daily operations for most businesses, and yet there are still many industries which don’t prioritise their cyber security. The care and charitable sectors fallinto this category and yet when considering the sensitive data held, it’s critical that online security is a priority.
Organisations like the Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales’ (WCRC) Community Ambassador Cartrefi Cymru, a not-for-profit company that supports those with learning disabilities, has invested significantly in digital technology and understand the importance of safeguarding sensitive information and ensuring the resilience of its systems. In collaborating with the WCRC, Cartrefi Cymru has been able to take proactive steps in protecting its organisation against cyber threats.
Geraint Jenkins, Operations Director at Cartrefi Cymru, Geraint says: “As a WCRC Community Ambassador, I am deeply committed to advocating for the crucial cause of cyber security in the care and charitable sectors. Witnessing the transformative impact of technology on these organisations, I understand the pressing need for robust cyber security measures.
“This partnership provides an opportunity to collaborate closely with the WCRC, a recognised authority in the field, and gain access to invaluable resources and expertise. The support offered will enable us to further fortify our organisation's digital defences, enhance staff awareness, and extend our reach in educating others about the significance of cyber security. Together, we can foster a safer digital environment for both our operations and the people we support."
Here, Geraint explores why cyber security is so crucial for the care and charitable sectors and the benefits it brings to organisations, staff, service users, and stakeholders.
Safeguarding Sensitive Information
The care and charitable sectors handle vast amounts of sensitive data, including personal, financial, and medical information. This data must be protected from unauthorised access, theft, and misuse. A cyber breach can have severe consequences, such as compromised client confidentiality, legal ramifications, reputational damage, and financial losses. By implementing robust cyber security measures, organisations can safeguard sensitive information and maintain the trust of their stakeholders.
Ensuring Continuity of Services
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the care and charitable sectors rapidly adopted digital technologies to ensure uninterrupted service delivery. This increased reliance on digital platforms, cloud-based systems, and remote working heightens the sectors’ vulnerability to cyber threats. A successful cyber-attack can disrupt operations, hinder critical services, and compromise the well-being of vulnerable individuals. Prioritising cyber security measures helps organisations minimise the risk of such disruptions, ensuring the continuity and reliability of services.
Protecting Staff and Service Users
Care and charitable organisations have a responsibility to protect both their staff members and the individuals they support. Cyber security breaches can lead to identity theft, fraud, or even the manipulation of personal information, putting staff and service users at risk. By investing in cyber security training and awareness campaigns, organisations empower their teams with the knowledge to identify and respond effectively to potential threats. This proactive approach helps mitigate risks and creates a secure environment for everyone involved.
Preserving Trust and Reputation
The care and charitable sectors rely heavily on the trust and support of donors, funders, and the public. A cyber incident resulting in the compromise of sensitive data can severely damage an organisation's reputation. Trust is difficult to regain once lost, and negative publicity can impact fundraising efforts and partnerships. By proactively addressing cyber security concerns and demonstrating a commitment to protecting data, organisations can instil confidence and maintain the trust of their stakeholders.
Compliance with Data Protection Regulations
The care and charitable sectors must adhere to strict data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Failure to comply with these regulations can result in substantial fines, legal penalties, and reputational damage. Implementing robust cyber security measures ensures compliance with these regulations, protecting both the organisation and the individuals whose data they handle.
As the sectors continue to embrace digital technologies, prioritising cyber security is no longer an option but a necessity. Organisations like Cartrefi Cymru have demonstrated the importance of investing in digital maturity and collaborating with cyber security experts, and the WCRC to protect sensitive information, ensure service continuity, and preserve trust. By focusing on cyber security, the sectors can enhance resilience, safeguard staff and service users, and maintain their vital role in providing care and support to those in need.
If you would like to learn more about a brand-new care sector initiative which has been launched by the Welsh Government which offers training on how you can improve your organisation’s cyber security then read our blog here or to book bespoke security awareness training for your team, then contact the WCRC at email@example.com.