In January 2017, Family Service Rochester (FSR) Executive Director Scott Maloney arrived at work to find his organization at a standstill. It had become the victim of a cyberattack. All files were encrypted and a ransom demand was made to unlock them. FSR didn’t have to pay as they had back-ups; however, recovering the data was just a fraction of the work and expense that would follow. “We did everything, every upgrade, every security recommendation from our IT company that was brought to us,” said Maloney. “We thought we were safe!”

Because FSR’s client data was exposed, specific federal and state legal requirements had to be met to alleviate possible damage to every person who, past and present, had been served by the organization. At the same time, an IT system analysis was needed to understand how FSR’s IT system was breached and what was needed to prevent future intrusions.

Read the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities' case study, We Thought We were Safe, for the full account of how FSR was affected by the cyberattack, why the eventual costs to this 125-employee organization climbed to six figures, and how they had to revamp their IT infrastructure and staff training to ward off future attacks.

As Maloney relates, FSR felt it had done what was needed by employing an outside firm to protect their files. However, that firm did not provide all the information, training, and other safeguards required to be more fully protected. In addition, FSR found that its insurance did not cover all areas of the recovery. Fortunately, FSR was able to absorb the cost; however not all organizations are able to do so. Recent statistics show, nearly 60% of small businesses hit by cybercrime fold within six months of the attack due to the expense.

This candid case study documents not only what FSR had to do at all levels of the organization to be better prepared for cybercrime, but also how the Alliance is now providing customizable cybersecurity services to help protect community-based organizations. Maloney doesn’t want other organizations to experience what he and FSR had to endure, and the Alliance is prepared to help nonprofits avoid a similar fate.

Read the case study and learn more about the services, including monitoring, awareness training for staff, and cyber liability insurance, online.