In our fast-growing digital society, tithing online is more mainstream than ever. We know that tithing is a cornerstone of church growth and stewardship. Offering tithing online modernizes churches and makes it even easier to give. Especially for the millennial generation, tithing online is the norm and a must for the churches they frequent. However, in areas like ours here in Northwest Florida, we do not associate the term “cybersecurity” with our small-town culture and feel. On the contrary, wherever tithing online is an option there is also risk.
Tithing Online on the Rise
Recent research shows that churches that offer online giving have higher growth overall. It makes sense that tithing online would be on the rise. While tithing online is a huge benefit to churches and parishioners, without comprehensive liability coverage, churches remain highly vulnerable to costly cyber security breaches in lost time and funds.
Following are three ways your church can address some of the most common security pitfalls in tithing online.
1. Awareness and Knowledge
By far, the most common security pitfall churches face today is simply lack of awareness. When we think of cybersecurity attacks, our minds go to large retailers: Home Depot, Target and Walmart. These are the attacks that make headlines. Why would a church be a target? As frightening as it is, cyber hackers make a living by targeting the most vulnerable. Churches fit this description regardless of size. Large or small, hackers are on the constant lookout for ways to infiltrate church systems to steal funds. Lack of awareness of this threat and lack of knowledge of existing liability coverage and coverage needs make up our first security pitfall. While there are many coverage options, generally cyber liability coverage is very reasonable to any church’s budget.
2. Routine Software Updates
Many churches offer tithing online through their website. Click a tab, enter your information and send a payment. Even better, set up automatic deductions with a few extra clicks. According to Richard Hammer of Church Law and Tax, two critical steps are to ensure your church’s staff are well-versed in cybersecurity and know the importance of maintaining frequent software updates. Most systems prompt for an update. In a busy day, these prompts often get overlooked. Frequent updates keep your system and website giving portal safe. Even better, according to Gulf Breeze security solutions leader, AppRiver, installing regular updates is a crucial step in security. In addition, invest in newer systems when feasible.
One cybersecurity breach through tithing online can cost a church hundreds of thousands of dollars and tarnish their hard-earned reputation.
3. Combining for Sufficient Coverage
Many churches partner with third-party tithing platforms to give another layer of convenience and security. However, it is a common misconception that the small liability coverage included in giving platforms is enough protection. Prices for platforms vary. Because of that, smaller churches often go with the lesser priced platforms with little to no liability coverage. Moreover, even higher-end online tithing platforms only cover certain liability areas. This leaves churches vulnerable for hacking and costly lawsuits. Combine your church’s existing coverage included in a third-party platform with additional cybersecurity coverage to ensure your organization survives should a breach occur.
At Beacon Insurance, our difference is in our expertise. Contact us today to review your church’s cybersecurity policy or explore costs of securing a new policy.