Kharmela Mindanao

By: Kharmela Mindanao on January 7th, 2022

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Microsoft Security Program for Nonprofits Explained

Tech Tips | Microsoft 365

Non-profit organizations and non-government organizations (NGOs) collect a large amount of data. All donors, team members, and beneficiaries have information in their hands. 

Unfortunately, non-profit organizations are not exempt from cyber attacks. You have assets and data that need protecting.  

This is data that hackers can use for cybercrimes.  

Microsoft decided to help organizations protect themselves from security breaches. They announced their Security Program for Non-profits in late October 2021. 

As a Managed IT Service Provider, we've helped our clients manage their cybersecurity. Microsoft's security program is another tool our clients - such as NGOs in the healthcare and education industry -  can make use of. We'll be taking a closer look at this product and answering the following questions.  

  • What is the Microsoft Security Program for Non-profits? 
  • What are the features of the Microsoft Security Program for Non-profits? 
  • Who qualifies for the Microsoft Security Program for Non-profits? 

What is the Microsoft Security Program for Non-profits? 

Security Program for Non-profitThe Security program for Non-profits is a set of security offerings. It's meant to complement Microsoft's security suite.

You can use it to monitor cyber security attacks. It can also enhance your IT security infrastructure. The program can also train users about the best security practices for non-profits.  

What are the features of the Microsoft Security Program for Non-profits?  

It's essentially a suite where you can see all your organization's security settings. Microsoft designed features of the security program for improved security monitoring and protection. It uses existing security options from Microsoft and has three key features:  

  1. AccountGuard 
  2. Free Network Assessment 
  3. Training Courses 

AccountGuard for Non-profits 

Microsoft Account GuardAccountGuard for Non-profits is a measure against cyber security threats. Microsoft designed it with highly targeted organizations in mind.  

It's also a Microsoft Defending Democracy Program and Microsoft Philanthropies project.  

AccountGuard overlaps with other departments because Microsoft initially offered it for political customers. Launched in 2018, it was meant for campaigns, parties, and think tanks.  

It's available in multiple countries, protecting nearly 2.5 million email accounts worldwide.

According to Microsoft, AccountGuard provides the following services:  

  • Security notifications for cyber threats by blacklisted companies. 
  • Email notifications to the organization if a registered Microsoft customer account is compromised.
  • Baseline recommendations for remediation to the participating organization if a compromise is confirmed
  • Best practices and security guidance, specifically tailored to the non-profit space 
  • Access to cybersecurity webinars, workshops, and private preview opportunities for new security features
  • Discounted security software licenses and/or discounted hardware security keys provided by Yubico. However, this depends on availability in your region. 
  • A direct line to Microsoft's Democracy Forward & Philanthropies teams for security issues and questions 

It also has the added benefit of being free for qualified non-profit organizations. You just need to prove that you are a non-profit or an NGO. These requirements are listed below in the qualification section.  

Free Network Assessment 

In the Microsoft Security Program for Non-profits, you get a free network assessment. Microsoft partner providers will take a deep dive into your IT. They'll check where hackers can breach your organization. Partner providers will also suggest steps to take to improve these security weaknesses. They'll give suggestions to protect your network tailored for you.  

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Training Courses 

Lastly, you get a training course. This is the last bonus feature of the Microsoft Security Program for Non-profits. There are multiple training courses for security settings. Having your staff know about them will help secure your organization from cyber-attacks. Some of the training courses for Non-profits are:  

1. Administrator's Security Toolkit 

This course is meant to familiarize your staff with the security settings and tools within the Microsoft 365 suite. Again, this is best utilized by your IT staff, but all employees can benefit by being familiar with the security toolkit.  

2. Security Skilling Hub 

This hub is for IT administrators. It contains a library of resources for your IT department. They'll learn how to support your organization's network security infrastructure in this hub. This is also a good resource for practicing to get Microsoft certifications.  

3. Microsoft Security Virtual Training Days 

Every so often, Microsoft will have free Security Virtual Training Days. These are meant for your staff to learn to work securely from anywhere. Working from home has become the standard for specific industries. Now is the best time to have a team that can set up a digitally-protected environment.  

4. Microsoft security courses 

These are security courses explicitly designed for Microsoft's security, compliance, and identity solutions. They focus on streamlining cloud and security management and are designed for your IT administrators.  

Who qualifies for the Microsoft Security Program for Non-profits? 

All non-profit and non-government organizations can apply for the Microsoft Security Program for Non-profits.  

You may also get a discount for this program if you're registered with your local government as a non-profit organization. Other requirements for this are operating on a not-for-profit basis and having a mission to benefit the local community.  

Some ways, according to Microsoft, for you to help the community are "providing relief to the poor, advancing education, improving social welfare, preserving culture, preserving or restoring the environment, promoting human rights, or establishment of civil society."  

Need more information about the Microsoft Security Program? 

Overall, the Microsoft Security Program for Non-profits aims to help non-profit organizations succeed in the current digital landscape. It's designed to keep your data safe from cyber-attacks and helps your IT admins manage your IT infrastructure. It's a suite where you can view all your security settings, with three additional key features:  

  1. AccountGuard 
  2. Free Network Assessment 
  3. Training Courses 

You can also get the Microsoft Security Program for Non-profits at a discounted rate. You only need to officially register as a non-profit organization. Then, you need to provide proof of registration to Microsoft.  

ITS is a Microsoft Gold partner that helps other non-profit organizations manage their network security. Contact us here if you want help setting up the Microsoft Security Program for Non-profits for your Non-profit.  

However, if you want to learn more about protecting your organization against cyberattacks, read "How to Protect your Company's Security Network". This is a great first step in ensuring your client and employee data is safe with you. New call-to-action