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Lax Association Security

Associations tend to be much less security conscious than most business. Lacking the bottom line orientation of most business, associations are prone to not recognize the value of the assets they have and by not recognizing these, don't take the steps necessary to protect them.

Association's pay scales for technology staff tend to be near the bottom of the industry and thus the quality of the staff is often inferior to that found in commercial enterprises. Frequently, the technology staff has come from other departments such as membership or finance where they have shown themselves adept at solving computer related problems. While these may be talented and dedicated individuals, they generally lack any formal computer training especially regarding computer security.

Staff with this type of background will tend to focus their energies solely on association specific problems, unaware that there are generic issues that should be addressed. Further, associations also lag other industries in providing continuing training to their staffs. When training is provided, it's likely to be narrowly focused on immediate needs. Thus both the technology staff and the management over them tend to be unaware of security issues until after a security incident costing the association money and or reputation occurs.

Further, most associations tend to work on relatively limited budgets and technology staff functions in a highly reactive mode fixing problems as they arise. As long as systems appear to be working little effort is placed on anything that does not provide visible functionality. This is especially true of security and may even go so far as to neglect proper routine backups which are an essential part of any security plan.

Real security begins at the top. While the implementation, at least of computer, network and web security may fall on the technology department staff, without the support and insistence on security from the organization's leaders, real security is not likely to be any better than the sites mentioned previously.

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