The best first step any nonprofit can make toward protecting employee, donor, and volunteer data safe is by using updated software. If your organization is using Windows 7, for example, be aware that support from Microsoft ends in 2020, which will leave a gaping security hole for organizations who haven’t updated.

Amy Burroughs makes the case for using Windows 10 at nonprofits in this article from BizTech:

One of the best ways to protect this data is to make defense easy and automatic, preferably by building security into systems and processes. One reason experts are touting Microsoft Windows 10 is that it offers a range of native security features at both the user and the organizational level. Among these are changes to the software update cadence that give IT admins (or nonprofit leaders) more flexibility in how they receive updates and patches.

For organizations that haven’t yet made the shift to Windows 10, leaders should be aware of the pending end of support for Windows 7, the risks that presents for organizations that don’t upgrade by the deadline and the many security advantages built into Windows 10.


While Windows 10 offers numerous upgrades in productivity and performance, some of the biggest improvements are in cybersecurity. The best part is that these are built in, making protection for users almost effortless.

Windows Defender SmartScreen, for example, protects against malware and phishing by analyzing web pages for suspicious activity and alerting users to potentially malicious sites. SmartScreen also compares downloaded files against programs and sites that are known to be problematic and, again, warns users before they proceed.

User Account Control is an additional layer of anti-malware defense — so important that it’s been described as “a fundamental component of Microsoft’s security vision.” This feature lets organizations differentiate between standard users and administrative users, limiting the ability to install unauthorized applications and providing centralized oversight of system modifications.