TechCon panelists: Better data tracking and security is needed for nonprofits

Microsoft Excel spreadsheet open on a Mac computer.
Microsoft Excel spreadsheet open on a Mac computer.

TechCon panelists: Better data tracking and security is needed for nonprofits

They highlighted the need to invest in better technology – even on a limited budget
December 6, 2019

Among the main takeaways from NYN’s Nonprofit TechCon yesterday: Take a break from Excel spreadsheets, and invest in multi-factor authentication. 

When it comes to collecting data, panelists emphasized the need to invest in software other than Excel for tracking information.

“It’s a great tool for analyzing data, especially if you’re kind of doing it on your own and you want to run some pivot tables and stuff,” said Aaron Godert, chief operating officer at GiveGab. “But it should not be your data of record for your donors.” He encouraged organizations to get donor management systems suitable to their size and pointed spreadsheet fans to Airtable as an alternative. 

Panelists throughout the day highlighted other tools to get ahead, such as using Canva or Animoto to build visuals for social media and getting automated marketing support from HubSpot. But it’s crucial that an organization knows how to fit those tools into both its infrastructure and future plans, said Dale Tuttle, partner at Withum Digital.

“It’s almost always appropriate to move your stuff to the cloud, speaking technically,” he said. “If you’re running only on-premises, you should really think about moving to the cloud for security alone.”

Naturally, panelists talking about cybersecurity also noted the challenges that cloud technology can bring.

“Where I find the biggest risk in cloud adoption is not where you enter … it’s when you start to move from one to another,” said Nick Selby, director of cyber intelligence and investigations at the NYPD. “We’re not good at understanding the risks of moving intra-cloud.” 

When it comes to security measures, there was general agreement that multi-factor authentication is an important investment, especially given how often people use flimsy passwords to protect their information.

“A lot of you are using Office 365 – that comes at a discount or free to nonprofits,” Paul Hibert, partner at Network Doctor, said. “And included with Office 365 is dual-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication. Things like that need to be enabled.”

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.