Cyber Security

Understanding Cyber Security Definitions for Effective Governance

Cyber security definitions for Boards of Directors and anyone in a governance role. Real-world Australian examples from the not-for-profit sectors.

Cyber Security Key Points

  • Understanding cyber security definitions is crucial for not-for-profit organisations in the Australian sector.
  • Real-world examples highlight the importance of implementing robust security measures and frameworks.
  • View videos from Australia's leading cyber security experts


Safeguarding Digital Assets in the Not-for-Profit Sector

In today's increasingly digital landscape, the not-for-profit sector faces unique challenges when it comes to protecting valuable digital assets. 

As Board of Directors members and individuals in governance positions within organisation such as independent schools, aged care providers, human services providers, hospitals, and community service organisation, it is vital to have a comprehensive understanding of key cyber security definitions. 

This knowledge will enable you to make informed decisions and implement robust strategies to safeguard sensitive information and maintain trust with stakeholders. 

In this article, we will explore essential cyber security terms, provide real-world examples from the not-for-profit sector, and outline best practices for effective governance.

Cybersecurity Definition: What is it?

Cybersecurity encompasses a range of strategies, practices, and technologies designed to protect computer assets from digital threats. 

In the not-for-profit sector, organisation like independent schools rely on robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard sensitive student information, including academic records and financial data. 

By implementing firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and regular security audits, these schools ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their digital assets.

Ransomware Definition:

Ransomware poses a significant threat to not-for-profit organisation, impacting their ability to deliver critical services. For instance, an aged care provider may fall victim to a ransomware attack that encrypts patient records and disrupts the daily operations of care facilities. 

To illustrate the gravity of such an incident, let's consider a real-world example: an aged care provider in Australia experienced a ransomware attack that resulted in the temporary closure of several facilities, compromising the well-being and safety of vulnerable residents. Implementing strong data backup strategies, educating staff about email security, and regularly updating security software are crucial steps to prevent and mitigate ransomware attacks.

Multi-factor Authentication Definition:

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security to user authentication processes and is particularly relevant in the not-for-profit sector. 

For example, a human services provider that handles sensitive client information may require employees to use MFA when accessing their systems remotely. This ensures that only authorised personnel can access confidential data, reducing the risk of unauthorised access or data breaches. 

By adopting MFA, organisation can enhance their security posture and protect the privacy of their clients' personal information.

Data Breach Definition

Data breaches can have severe consequences for not-for-profit organisation, compromising the privacy and trust of stakeholders. 

Let's consider a hospital as an example. 

In a recent incident, a hospital's database containing patient medical records was breached, potentially exposing confidential information. The organisation responded by promptly notifying affected individuals, engaging forensic experts to investigate the breach, and implementing stronger data encryption protocols to prevent future incidents. 

This example highlights the critical need for not-for-profit organisation to implement robust security measures, conduct regular security assessments, and educate staff about data protection practices.

Please review our Cyber Webinar replay to learn more: 

Brute Force Attacks Definition

Brute force attacks target weak passwords and are a significant concern for not-for-profit organisation. 

An independent school, for instance, may face a brute force attack on its student portal, where attackers attempt various password combinations to gain unauthorised access. 

To mitigate this risk, the school could enforce password complexity requirements, implement account lockouts after multiple failed login attempts, and provide ongoing cybersecurity training to students, parents, and staff. 

By adopting these measures, organisation can strengthen their defences against brute force attacks.

Please see ‘Newcastle Grammar Cyber Attack’ governance snippet.

Phishing Definition

Phishing attacks continue to be a prevalent threat, targeting not-for-profit organisation across various sectors. 

Let's consider a community service organisation as an example. Staff members may receive emails that appear to be from trusted sources, requesting login credentials or financial information. If employees unknowingly disclose this information, the organisationation's financial resources or confidential data may be compromised. 

To combat phishing attacks, the community service organisation can implement robust email filtering systems, conduct regular phishing awareness training, and encourage employees to verify the authenticity of emails before providing sensitive information. 

By promoting a culture of vigilance and awareness, organisations can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to phishing attacks.

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP): What is it and Why Does it Matter?

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) enables remote access to computer assets, making it a valuable tool for not-for-profit organisations with distributed teams or remote workers. 

RDP can also be a potential security vulnerability if not properly secured. 

Let's consider a hospital that allows healthcare professionals to access patient records remotely through RDP. If unauthorised individuals gain access to the RDP connection, they could potentially compromise patient privacy and confidentiality. 

To mitigate this risk, the hospital can implement strong password policies, enforce multi-factor authentication, and regularly monitor network traffic for suspicious activity. By taking these precautions, not-for-profit organisations can ensure secure remote access without compromising sensitive information.

How Understanding Cyber Security Definitions Opens up a Boardroom Conversation

As Board of Directors members and individuals in governance positions within the not-for-profit sector, it is crucial to prioritise cyber security to safeguard valuable digital assets. 

By understanding key cyber security definitions and implementing robust security measures, organisations such as independent schools, aged care providers, human services providers, hospitals, and community service organisations can effectively manage and mitigate digital risks.

Real-world examples have illustrated the importance of cybersecurity frameworks, proactive measures against ransomware attacks, multi-factor authentication, data protection practices in the face of data breaches, defence against brute force attacks, mitigation of phishing threats, and secure implementation of remote access protocols.

By fostering a culture of cyber security awareness, investing in comprehensive security practices, and staying informed about emerging threats, not-for-profit organisations in Australia can protect their operations, maintain the trust of stakeholders, and ensure the privacy and confidentiality of sensitive information.

Let us embrace the challenge of cyber security, ensuring that our organisations are well-prepared and resilient in the face of evolving digital threats. 

By prioritising cyber security in governance decisions and fostering a proactive approach, the not-for-profit sector can navigate the digital landscape with confidence, safeguarding their mission and the trust of the communities they serve.


Similar posts

Governance Insights

Each week, join us in a governance 'fireside chat' where you ask the questions and we give you the answers.  The latest data and trends from the GovernWith platform are included in our Insights Sessions.