Charities Security Forum looks for new members

The aim of the forum is to raise end-user awareness and tackle various growing concerns such as phishing, social engineering and PCI-DSS compliance.

According to the co-founders of the forum - Brian Shorten and Martyn Croft - since its inception just over a year ago, the Charities Security Forum has established itself as the premier group for information security professionals working in the charity sector.

The group meets quarterly in London and has representatives from many major and household name charities.

Members enjoy discussions and presentations on subjects of particular relevance to the not-for-profit sector and are able to consider security matters openly and freely with their colleagues and peers.

The forum is now seeking to widen its membership and would like to extend an open invitation to all information security professionals working in charity and not-for-profit organisations to join the group.

Recent topics under discussion at meetings of the forum have addressed issues such as PCI-DSS compliance, the threats from social engineering, and the challenges inherent in increasing staff awareness of information security in this sector.

According to Brian Shorten, head of IT security at Cancer Research, one of the aims of the forum is to try to spread the word on best practice.

"In a lot of cases, charities do not have anyone dedicated to security, and many have not even heard of PCI compliance," he said.

Martyn Croft, head of corporate systems at The Salvation Army, meanwhile, also said that the threat of card fraud is rising and needs to be promoted by the forum.

"When people are being exploited it is doubly damaging. The donors lose and so do the intended recipients. It's something we should be on top of as charities, but I'm not so sure we are," he said.

According to the forum, there are more than 160 000 charities operating in the UK and they generate a combined total income of more than £48 billion.

For most of these organisations, the association adds, information is the lifeblood that enables them to fulfill their charitable purpose and, like any other business, these days they have an obligation and a responsibility to protect the integrity of their information - and assure the security of their data.

Please visit Charities Security Forum website for more information.

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