Until the 1960s, perhaps into the 1970s, churches were rather slow to pick up on new ideas, particularly in regard to technology. (If you have a hard time believing this, think back to the first time someone wanted to bring an electric guitar into your sanctuary!) But that is no longer the case, especially when it comes to information technology.
Churches have embraced the digital world and are becoming very proficient in the use of computers. A vast array of applications has been made available to the church including sophisticated financial accounting and reporting, childcare security, online purchasing, online tithing, phone trees and coffee bars with free wireless internet. Without a doubt, churches have become technologically savvy.
Unfortunately, there is a vast array of other things that most churches aren’t so savvy about: the numerous new portals computers provide through which fraudsters can gain entry into the church. Key: Computer and online crime is drastically changing the face of fraud prevention.
To stay abreast of the rapid change in technology and the risks this change brings churches should ask themselves the following questions on a regular basis:
- Does our church have a formal Information Technology security plan?
- Do any individuals at our church have access to all modules of the church’s software system?
- Does our church partition its computer applications so that employees and volunteers have access only to files necessary to perform their duties?
- Does computer access require passwords that are confidential and unique?
- Are our passwords changed periodically?
- Are passwords complex including alpha, numeric and case sensitive characters?
- Do we have backup procedures that are performed regularly that include off-campus storage?
- Do we have measures in place to protect the church from malware?
- Do we train our employees to avoid accepting email from unknown locations?
- Do we have a download policy?
- Do we maintain separate public and private wireless networks?