New data security scheme offers charities one day of free IT expertise

The GiveADay scheme aims to match cybercrime experts with charities that want help and advice in that area

Data security
Data security

Cybercrime experts are offering to volunteer at charities for a day to give them a better understanding of data protection and information security and ways to combat cybercrime.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, Future First and Cancer Research UK have already signed up for the new scheme, called GiveADay, which will pair information security professionals from the finance, technology and government sectors with charities. Almost 100 IT experts have committed to take part in the programme, including chief information security officers and chief technology officers from UK organisations including Hewlett Packard and HM Revenue & Customs.

The non-profit scheme was started by Amar Singh, former interim CISO at the media group News International, and Hemang Patel, former advertising strategist at Google, after the recent data breach at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, in which the charity was fined £200,000 when a security flaw on its website allowed an anti-abortion hacker to gain access to the data of more than 10,000 service users.

Charities will be matched with IT professionals for a day according to their needs, which might include training staff on information security awareness or providing guidance on data security.

"Charities are in a particularly vulnerable position – they hold a lot of sensitive data on both their services users and their donors," said Singh. "In addition, they are still subject to the same fines from the Information Commissioner’s Office as any other company and are subject to far more rigorous requirements to report a breach. The requirement to report breaches to the ICO results in disproportionate fines to the third sector, plus the stigma of adverse publicity that can severely affect operations and fundraising ability."

GiveADay will be launched on 9 October at the cloud computing and IT infrastructure event IP Expo Europe in London.

Charities can also register their interest through the GiveADay website.

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