With limited budgets and often long approval processes, charities and not-for-profit organisations don't always place IT at the top of their priority lists.
While IT can easily be overlooked in favour of more urgent expenses such as building repairs and staff payments, Sarah Smith — operations and marketing director of Cheltenham-based ReformIT — says that it's one of the most important departments to improve and develop. SoGlos finds out more...
Your charity initiative, ReformIT for Charities, launched in December 2023 — can you tell us about that?
It is a part of ReformIT that is working in partnership with Microsoft and Pax8’s Tech for Social Impact (TSI) initiative. The aim is to use our cyber security expertise along with our knowledge of the challenges faced by the charity sector.
This will allow us to help charities access free and discounted products and services, choosing the right set of products for their needs. We are focused on the security aspect because charities are so much more at risk from cyber criminals due to budget constraints and, as a result, are often much less protected than other companies.
We are also working to close the skills gap by creating and delivering a series of training sessions and webinars with the TSI team that will be free to access for all not-for-profits (NFPs).
What sort of charities can benefit from the initiative?
Any registered charity will be eligible to take advantage of the team's expertise. What we recommend will depend on the charity and their needs, as the ReformIT for Charities team assesses each organisation individually and advises them accordingly. It's a completely bespoke service written exclusively for each NFP.
How will this new initiative help charities?
We are focused on our corporate responsibility and feel that access to the products and grants that will help charities, along with our expertise, should be used in the right way.
We don’t want to be another managed service provider (MSP) that treats charities the same as any other businesses — they have different needs and different access to services that we can give them for free or heavily discounted.
We have also secured charity pricing from many other suppliers to assist with companies like ESET and Brigantia — both of which are excited to be part of this initiative with us.
You're also now a Cyber Essentials certification body. What does this mean for a charity working with you?
Cyber Essentials is a government-endorsed cyber security certification programme designed to help businesses fortify their cyber security defences by assisting them in implementing fundamental security measures to mitigate common cyber threats.
For charities, achieving Cyber Essentials certification through ReformIT signifies a proactive approach to cyber security and a dedication to safeguarding sensitive information.
Our team conducts a thorough assessment of an organisation's IT infrastructure, identifying vulnerabilities and areas for improvement in alignment with Cyber Essentials requirements. We'll then provide personalised guidance and support throughout the certification process, assisting in implementing necessary security controls and best practices to meet Cyber Essentials standards.
By achieving Cyber Essentials certification, a charity can effectively mitigate common cyber threats, including malware infections, phishing attacks and unauthorised access attempts — all of which demonstrate a commitment to cyber security best practices, aiding in regulatory compliance efforts and instilling confidence in clients and stakeholders.
What are you hoping to achieve with ReformIT for Charities in the next year?
This is only the beginning! There is so much more to come from us over the next 12 months and beyond.
We are aiming to be the go-to provider for IT advice and support for all charities in Gloucestershire and the region. Watch this space!